LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Time for a new pope named Barnabas

Saint Barnabas Mission, an international community of men and women working towards peace and justice through ecumenism, extend prayers for good health and contentment to Pope Benedict XVI on his retirement. We also pray for the 117 Cardinals entering the Conclave to choose a new pope. SBM proposes to the newly elected Pope to choose Barnabas for his name and patron.

Barnabas converted to Christianity in Jerusalem where he shared his wealth with the community. The apostles, so impressed with the sincerity and openness of this follower of Jesus, they changed his name from Joses to Barnabas, “Son of Encouragement.”

It was Barnabas who encouraged and believed in Paul despite the fact that the community in Jerusalem didn’t trust Paul. Barnabas chose Paul to partner with him in Antioch. As the Church in Antioch grew in faith and numbers, they commissioned Barnabas and Paul to set out on their first missionary journey.

Barnabas, the bridge builder, was a strong advocate for the Gentile converts and bridged the divide between them and Jewish Christians. The stumbling block — whether the Gentiles needed to observe dietary laws and circumcision rites. The Council of Jerusalem, through the persuasion and compassion of Barnabas and Paul, was encouraged to compromise.

Barnabas encouraged John Mark to take on a second missionary trip after he deserted Barnabas and Paul on the first trip. That heartfelt outreach probably prompted the achievements of John Mark as gospel writer, leader in the Christian Church in Alexandria, Egypt, and important aid to Peter and to Paul.

Wouldn’t it be the time for a new Barnabas figure, one who lives simply, extends his heart to encourage people to believe in their own goodness, speaks to power

Students need discipline

I have for years heard and seen all kinds of suggestions for school improvement. First, I would like to say that years ago I completed 12 years of schooling in Berkeley County. Since then I have received a continuing education from the U.S. military, various employers and finally now working for Berkeley County Schools.

Discipline is the real answer. Years ago when I was in school there was a piece of wood, 24 to 30 inches long, 4 inches wide, with holes at the end – the board of education. It made a lasting impression and created positive change almost immediately.

[But] we continue to purchase massive amounts of computers and try new ideas and projects. How has all that worked out? Our test scores keep dropping. We have lowered the passing grade from 70 to 65.

Teachers and administrators spend far too much time trying to correct bad behavior rather than teach. Ask any teacher what is involved in correcting a student today; it’s crazy.

From kindergarten on, we start the dumbing-down process. The kids run the show. From what I have seen, 90 percent of the problems are created by 10 percent of the students. It’s the same ones over and over again.

My suggestion is to expel the 10 percent and things will improve. Now our president, judges and other experts say keep kids in school until they are 18 years old, regardless. The prophets of doom say that without school, these kids will end up in jail. They’re going to end up there anyway. Just save the taxpayers a little cash with the short trip.

Richard Timothy Miller

Gerrardstown

Solutions are needed

I would first like to thank the Spirit of Jefferson and Farmer’s Advocate for encouraging me to share my thoughts with the public. Over the last six years, I have devoted time to ensuring elected officials are following the requirements of the law. I am only one person, but, I have made great strides in removing the tarnish from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. One may ask, how can you measure your accomplishments? It’s simple, the court has threatened me and the newspaper has called me names, it doesn’t get better than that.

Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse. I have challenged the county, courts, state and federal government to do their job; not only according to the law, but that they know the law. So, help me to help the government do their job, without having an attorney stuck to their backs. The county, state and federal government are receiving record tax revenue in comparison to what we keep. The time is now to stand up and make your concerns known. Your rights are not protected on their own; you and only you can insure the rights that others have given their lives for.

My parents always said to give back more than you receive and the community will be a better place. I challenge everyone to take three minutes a day to help your family, friends, neighbors, county or state, to help make it better. Don’t just complain; have a solution ready as well.

David Tabb

Harpers Ferry

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