Wednesday, November 18, 2015


No, not this guy:

Morocco the country! Today is Independence Day for Morocco!

I wanted to find something cheery to post, and I feel like this is something that is cause for celebration (even if only in their country), and something that not a lot of people know about.
Here's some cool facts:

Morocco was the first sovereign state to recognize the United States as an independent nation in 1777.
In its very long history, Morocco has been controlled by many a number of empires: Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Vandals, etc. Between 1000 and 1100 CE, the Berbers came to rule and made Morocco a dominate figure in North Africa. France and Spain took interest and "colonized" Morocco in the 1880s. After Moroccans attacked their European rulers in the streets, their protectorates were lifted in 1956.
Morocco was one of the many sites where Arab Spring protests occurred in 2011 and 2012. Up until that point, Morocco was a pretty traditional monarchy with some economic and social eccentricities. Now because of governmental reforms, they are a constitutional monarchy with a judiciary branch and parliament. The prime minister has almost authoritarian powers, but the king is basically a figurehead. Morocco has also been victim to numerous terrorist attacks since 2001. Some were orchestrated by Al-Qaeda; some were not. It is also important to note that Morocco is a nation that has historic and deep ties to Islam, and over 90% of the population practices Islam to this day.
Moroccans are a people that have gone through many changes, socially, economically, and politically. They celebrate how far they've come today, and I wanted to share some of the information that I had learned in an African Civilization class. It's amazing what tidbits one can hold onto even years after the fact.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Where are the Christians, and why don’t they want to help?

I haven't posted here in a very long time. Things get in the way. However, I have felt this uneasiness rise up inside of me, and I needed to say something.

I look at my Facebook over the last couple of days, and I wonder why can't people be kind? Where are all of these Christ-like Christians?

In my history classes, I was taught the important idea of othering, the process of seeing other groups of people as different, and can reinforce preconceived notions of dominance or subordination. "They" are different from us; "they" are dangerous; "their" lifestyle is a threat to ours; etc. However, I also learned the good side of othering. I learned that, in order to be as unbiased as possible, one must see events from the other perspective.

So, I ask: if your country was in turmoil and it was dangerous to go to the store, stand in the street, or even be in your own home, would you desire to get out of your country if you had the means? Further, if you had the means to leave your country, would you hope and pray that another country would take you in, at least temporarily, until your home country became safe again? How would you feel if you and all of your fellow countrypersons were discriminated against because of a few vile conspirators/terrorists/criminals, and you were kept from safety because of other people's feelings that honestly had nothing to do with you?

I can't imagine what it's like to be in Syria, Paris, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Egypt, etc. I also can't imagine how people are being so hateful and don't want our country, the "land of opportunity", to take in and give, at least temporary, aide to those who have finally managed to get out of their war-torn countries.

For you Christians (thank you, Katy, for the references):

Psalm 82:3 - "Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed."

Jeremiah 22:3 - "This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place."

Here's some New Testament for you, in case you think that the Old Testament is less applicable.

John 3:17-18 - "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."

Matthew 25:37-46 - "Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was ill and in prison and you did not look after me.” They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or ill or in prison, and did not help you?” He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Albert Einstein said that "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them," and I am using a partially religious argument to try to encourage solving the problem of a religious problem. Daesh is a group of extremist Muslims who are following a very distinct interpretation of the Quran, not unlike other religious groups (Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc.). The thing is that Daesh is not representative of most Muslims, just like Westboro Baptist is not representative of most Christians, though some recent posts really have me reconsidering that argument.

Why should we close our borders to refugees? Since 1980, not one terrorist attack has been committed by refugees. For more information on that, read the study done in 2013: Plus, if the United States has not closed our borders to refugees, why would states not provide aid? I guess this isn’t as Christian a nation as we all once thought, right? Oh, they should just go to another Middle-Eastern country where they are with their own Muslims, right? Daesh isn’t only in Syria. They’re not only in Iraq. They are fighting in multiple locations all over the Middle East. Meanwhile, Israel and Palestine have their own war that’s been going on for 50+ years. War is all around; they just want to be in a place, even temporarily, where they can have a meal and not worry about the next one. They want to have a conversation without the ambient sounds of shells exploding. They want a peaceful rest at night.

If you want to read more about Daesh (ISIS), read this incredibly insightful article about their origins and their intents: You can also see how war-torn the area was in February. Think about how much worse it has become.

Finally, I feel it’s necessary to remind everyone of the poem, New Colossus, that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

More information on accepting refugees into the US:

An article from Christian Today explaining the importance of not turning our backs on refugees:

I use the bible verses and linked to Christian Today because I started this train of thought based on Christians being un-Christian. Seriously, though, why can’t we just be kind and welcome those that need our help?

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” - Dalai Lama

Monday, March 3, 2014

Servant Leader

I was called a "servant leader" last week.

From wikipedia (what a terrible thing to do, Mr. Librarian): "Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible."

You know who else has been called a servant leader?  Jesus.

I'm not Jesus, and I'm definitely not Christ-like, as another person soon commented.  I do want the best for my staff, and I want them to succeed.  I also step in wherever needed so that the job gets done.  Lately, it just seems like our staff has gotten smaller and smaller, and the only way for us to tread water is for me to step in, which I don't mind doing at all.  I've been doing this a lot.  I even missed some deadlines (oops).  I want my staff performing well and doing good work.  The behind-the-scenes work is important, but it's secondary to the service we provide, and it should always be that way.  Maybe that's surprising to some people?

Call me Jesus; call me Your Lordship; call me Al.  Whatever.  Actually, don't.  Just call me Dan, or something along those lines.  Give me a normal name to counteract the weirdness in which I bask constantly.