In Ramona E. Rees’ memoir, Miracle Baby, she frames her personal story with the background of a revival preacher for a father and a devout Seventh Day Adventist for a mother.
Her own character allows the reader to see a number of contradictions within the family that move the book along rapidly. The real miracle is not that of her birth, but rather how she remained sane and able to live a productive life of her own.
The preacher father, expected to speak the Adventist message to his audience, privately reveals his own disbelief with many parts of that message. Ramona observes her father’s kindness toward others and learns to evaluate the conduct of others in developing her own beliefs.
As Ramona goes to school and meets children of other backgrounds, she wants more and more to be a part of the “world” that her mother tells her to avoid, such as novel reading, watching movies and dancing. Every challenge by Ramona to her mother’s steadfast reliance upon the message of the religion’s Prophetess allows the reader to glimpse into the mind of a child wanting to affirm her own ideals.
Interestingly, Rees calls the memoir a novel. And it reads like one, as her stories build upon one another and develop conflicts between Ramona and each of her parents. How can her father continue to preach messages of which he doubts? How long will her mother attempt to control her life using religion as a cover? What will Ramona decide to do with her life and what if it does not square with what her mother wants?
Rees answers each of these questions with a conclusion that contains unexpected events. She finds the soul of her character in the process. Her difficult childhood has brought about character, which moves her towards her personal destiny.
I recommend this book to all, especially to those who are interested in studying character development and the ways in which religion can be misused to the detriment of children.
I have recently written two diaries on OpEd News, "Did God Ask to Be Trusted?" and "The Choice of a Reluctant Messiah."In the first, I questioned those who assume about Christianity what cannot be proven, such as the Virgin birth, the miracles and the resurrection of Jesus. Many of those who profess to uphold these beliefs often fail to care about the beliefs of others, as was recently the case when members of the House of Representatives re-affirmed "In God We Trust" as our motto.In the second, I made up a conversation with Jesus in which I "reported" him as one who simply preached the coming Kingdom of God and never referred to himself as the Son of God. This representation of Jesus shows him as compassionate and thoughtful and certainly not vengeful or dogmatic.I have received some replies about this diaries and was referred to a lengthy article. If you liked my diaries, this is well worth your read. It is called "About Christianity."
When we are in a group, do we practice our own values or do we practice the values of the group?
The recent news events of Pennsylvania State should give us reason to question just how much one person can impose their will upon a group of others, especially when the group is an organized system.
Systems exist only to perpetuate their own existence. There is nothing moral or immoral about them. Through those who move them, systems respond to threats by covering them up.
When reports of child molestation by a football coach got to the attention in 2002 of the most powerful person at the university, Head Coach Joe Paterno, he chose not to notify the police. He instead told the school’s athletic director and apparently gave it little thought after that.
Like most people, Paterno could not think outside the box that his system had placed him in. Had he told legal authorities nine years ago, the scandal would likely have gone public and hurt the reputation of Penn State.
Bad publicity leads to less alumni support for the school’s programs, such as football. It reduces enrollment and money coming into the school. It makes professors and coaches look elsewhere for work so they don’t have to explain why they work where child molesters do.
Regarded as a man of integrity by many, Paterno chose not to value the importance of apprehending criminals and protecting youth from predators. Of all people, he could have challenged the system to investigate the matter thoroughly.
The system instills fear in all of us. It is easy to criticize Paterno and others who failed to rise above the group’s need to cover itself. But how many of us would risk our jobs to promote our values?
My heart was in my throat. The television screen revealed the all-time leading scorer George Blanda knocking the dirt out of his cleats.
The Raiders lined up in field goal formation. Ken Stabler held out his hand to call for the ball from the center. The center hiked it backwards to Stabler, who put the ball down for Blanda, who booted it through the uprights.
The three points were welcome but my team, the Oakland Raiders, not only trailed by a score of 16-10, but they only had twelve seconds left IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AGAINST THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS!
I sat there, mesmerized. In my mind, I began to play out scenarios in which the Raiders could prevail. Then the teams returned to the field for the kickoff. Raider Ray Guy kicked the ball end over end across the frozen field at Steeler Reggie Garrett ten yards away. Garrett held out his hand but the ball struck him on the shin and rebounded toward Raider Dave Casper. As soon as I saw the Steeler defenders like Jack Lambert come on to the field, I knew the referees had declared that the Raiders had possession of the ball.
After talking with Raider coach John Madden, Stabler threw the ball forty yards down the left sideline to wide receiver Cliff Branch, who caught the ball simultaneous to being tackled by defensive back Mel Blount. From the television angle, I could not see past the wall of players and fans who perched themselves right next to the field. Had Branch gotten out of bounds? If so, had he done so before the time clock went to zero?
After the announcers, whose view was no better than mine, gave conflicting accounts of the end to the play, the referees signaled that Branch had not gotten out of bounds. That was the game. But what a game!
Even to this day, I think of ways the Raiders could have advanced the last fifty-six yards in just seven seconds and with no time-outs. It has become clear to me that, like Stabler and Madden, I engage in a “chess match” with two opponents, the Steelers and the time clock. The ending to this game was football at its very best!
Dear Marina, June and Rachel:
In 2003 Rachel contacted me and mentioned how every November "my poor mother" becomes 'distraught' -- and for very good reasons. The horror that it was Lee Harvey Oswald who murdered President Kennedy was screamed into your lives every November by the media for decades. Yes, for decades, the media trumpeted lies and falsehoods about Lee H. Oswald, financed by princely sums of money.
However, as time has passed,more and more evidence has been released. It has become ever more difficult for the government,the media and the professional gatekeepers of the false story to be believed. To be taken seriously. I am not alone in bringing forth much new information that refutes their lies.
With me this year stand more witnesses. More researchers. More reporters. More patriots. Millions are learning the truth through books such as JFK and the Unspeakable--Why He Died and Why It Matters, Me & Lee: How I Came to know,love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald, Inside the ARRB, and Dr. Mary's Monkey.
I and thousands with me want you to know that Lee Oswald,with courage and steadfastness, loyally did what he could to save the President. He saved Kennedy at least once before the guns in Dallas took the President's life. And in Dallas, Lee stood his ground, saying, "If I stay,that will be one less bullet aimed at Kennedy."
As the truth becomes known, history books will one day describe Lee Harvey Oswald as a brave patriot who was unjustly accused of killing the President he actually tried to save. Millions of people now understand what really happened. Millions now know that Lee Oswald was a hero.
May your hearts be at peace. May your lives,with this knowledge,be blessed.
Sincerely, Judyth Vary Baker and friends of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In his new book No Holding Back: the 1980 John B. Anderson Presidential Campaign, Jim Mason has reminded us of the importance of this campaign. We are about to enter another presidential campaign in a political climate where voters’ interest in alternatives to the two major parties is perhaps more than it was thirty years ago.
Mason’s account of the campaign illustrates why non-major party candidates cannot win. Anderson’s staff spent much of its time doing the kinds of things that major party candidates take for granted: getting voters to sign petitions to get on state ballots, qualifying for matching funds and even bank loans, receiving media attention, etc. This was time and money that could have gone into efforts that would have increased the number of voters informed about the candidacy.
The Anderson “National Unity” campaign, as noted by Mason, paved the way for future independent and third party candidates. He achieved ballot status on all fifty state ballots plus the District of Columbia, which undoubtedly helped Ross Perot with his campaign of 1992. He received enough support in the polls to be included in a national debate with one of the major party candidates in September 1980 (which also assisted Perot ’92). He received several endorsements from some in a skeptical media.
But the Anderson legacy goes far beyond these matters. Anderson made the voters question what candidates tell them. He correctly predicted, for example, that Candidate Reagan’s budget would not be balanced by President Reagan because it asked for no sacrifices by the public. Reagan had attacked Anderson’s own budget for supporting some higher taxes. This willingness to say what voters do not want to hear earned him the reputation as a candidate who distinguished himself from others.
Voters still naturally resist talk of sacrifice and may not follow details they are offered. They may decry the Democratic and Republican ideas as “politics as usual” but vote for the candidates who espouse them, anyway. And they usually ignore candidates on ballots without an “R” or a “D” behind their name.
Anderson raised the voice of independents and made it count. Not in the way of electoral votes but in the way of presenting a candidacy as a credible alternative to the major party candidates. If we ever break the deadlock of voting for what we want to hear, we must remember his legacy of telling it like it really is.
Voters of all political backgrounds will enjoy Mason’s most definitive account of a landmark campaign.
Dean T. Hartwell
Author, Truth Matters: How the Voters Can Take Back Their Nation
Dean Hartwell's concise theory as to what happened to the planes and passengers of 9/11 is now on Kindle! The book has done exceptionally well in paper back form and the author wanted to make it available in this format. Click here!