http://www.newsleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051222/NEWS01/512220337/1002 Area volunteer starts mission trip to help out victims
Katrina ravaged some in Miss.
By Lindsay Wargo
Erin Hladky, an interpreter at Thomas C. McSwain Elementary School, started her winter break differently than most other staff members.
Hladky left for Moss Point, Miss., at 2 p.m. Wednesday with 10 other members of the Stuarts Draft congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The group will be meeting up with other volunteers from around the state.
Hladky and the others will be repairing and rebuilding homes that were destroyed and damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Their focus will be on fellow Jehovah's Witnesses, but Hladky said the group will be helping others in the neighborhood.
Hladky said she and the other volunteers, including her father, must pay their own way down to Mississippi. In addition to paying for gas, the group must bring its own tools and supplies.
Hladky said she was grateful that two teachers at the school gave her a gas card for the trip.
While in Mississippi, Hladky said thinks she will be staying with a family she has never met. Other volunteers may be staying in campers or in Kingdom Halls.
"I don't know all of the details yet," she said.
The trip won't be an entirely new experience to Hladky, who says missions are a regular part of her life.
"I do this all the time," she said, adding that she does educational volunteer work in the area on a weekly basis and has been to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip. She also has worked on various construction projects throughout the state.
Originally published December 22, 2005
|2005: A good year for tourism |
By BILL MEDLEY Courier & Press staff writer 464-7519 or [email protected]
Convention-goers booked more hotel rooms in Evansville this year as sports and military groups flocked to the city, the Evansville Visitors and Convention Bureau said this week.
In all, the city's hotels recorded 62,015 "room nights" booked this year as a result of conventions, the bureau reported. That was up about 2.7 percent from 2004's record number of 60,371 room nights. Because the increase was within a 1 percent to 3 percent range, the increase is considered "flat" by those in the tourism industry, the bureau said.
"The results were very stable," said Marilee Fowler, executive director of the bureau. "We were very happy. We knew this would be a hard year to top 2004."
In 2004, the city recorded a 15 percent increase in room nights from 2003. Those results were driven by a large increase in the number of rooms booked by business and government associations.
This year, room nights in the associations category were down to 23,674 from 26,346 in 2004. The bureau attributed part of the decline to the loss of the Heartland Dental Association, which "outgrew" Evansville and had to find another host city with a 500-room hotel, the bureau said.
Several city and state government associations that came to Evansville in 2004 met in other cities this year, cutting into results from that category even further.
But, rooms booked by sports groups were up in 2005 to 20,820 room nights, compared to 16,976 a year ago. Events that use facilities such as the Goebel Soccer Complex and Swonder Ice Area continued to increase, Fowler said.
The sports category could continue to grow with the addition of the 2006 Frontier League All-Star Game, to be held at Bosse Field, and the United State's Golf Association Senior Men's Amateur Championship at Victoria National.
Visits by religious groups were down slightly in 2005, dropping to 16,801 from 17,049 in 2004. The Jehovah's Witnesses, which drew 15,000 people, has agreed to meet in Evansville through 2009.
Military groups n a new category created with the arrival of the LST 325 - appear to have the most potential for growth, Fowler said. That category increased to 750 room nights in 2005 from zero in 2004.
"It shows people are taking advantage of a lot of different venues," Fowler said. "It diversifies what we attract to Evansville."
Fowler said the figures only represented the conventions reported to the bureau. She said there may be other groups meeting in Evansville that do not request the bureau's help in finding a hotel. "There may be some people who are comfortable with a certain hotel," she said. "They will not need the services of the bureau."
In another measure used by the hotel industry, Smith Travel Research reported that occupancy rates in Evansville through October were even compared to 2004. The Hendersonville, Tenn., firm also reported that revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Evansville increased 3.9 percent this year.
The bureau expects to have an estimate of tourism spending in the spring, when an economic impact study is completed by Certec, a travel research company.
Book explores child abduction
By Teresa Atkerson
Bryan McGlothin believes he’s getting a second chance for a happy childhood.
Posted on Wed, Dec. 21, 2005
From faith to faith, visions of Jesus vary
BY BILL TAMMEUS
Knight Ridder Newspapers
The "who question" about Jesus is key, Thomas A. Noble tells his students.
"I unpack all the rest of Christianity from Christology (the study of Christ)," says Nobel, professor of theology at Nazarene Theological Seminary of Kansas City.
Similarly when professor Warren Carter of St. Paul School of Theology teaches New Testament classes, he asks students to think about two questions Jesus asked his disciples: "Who do people say I am?" and "Who do you say I am?"
"I talk a lot about this in relation to particular texts we work on," Carter says. His goal is to help them understand that "there wasn't a monolithic understanding in the New Testament" about Jesus and that church doctrine about him continued to develop after New Testament times.
Christians, however, aren't the only ones thinking about Jesus. He's also on the minds of adherents of many religious traditions. And their answers to Jesus' questions vary widely. Here is some of what they say:
Muslims call Jesus Isa (variously spelled Issa or I'sa) and call him a highly honored prophet, though not divine. The Qur'an mentions Jesus many times and includes a story of his virginal birth. Islam believes Jesus was calling people to surrender to God, which is what the word "Islam" means. So they view him as a Muslim, even though he lived hundreds of years before Muhammad. Although they believe Jesus performed miracles, they deny he was crucified. Rather, they say, God merely made it appear so to Jesus' enemies. Muslims believe Jesus ascended bodily to heaven.
Syed E. Hasan, chairman of the Department of Geosciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a member of the Islamic Research Foundation, calls it "an absolute requirement of the Islamic faith to believe in him and the message he brought." But Hasan notes that "Islam rejects the concept of Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and emphasizes the oneness or unity of God."
Jews acknowledge that Jesus is the personal historical connection between them and Christians. Jesus was a Jew, and his followers believed he was the promised Messiah of Israel, a claim most Jews who knew - or knew about - Jesus when he lived rejected.
Rabbi Alan Cohen of Congregation Beth Shalom in the Kansas City area says that not many years ago, "with the taste of persecution still very fresh in the mouths of many, Jesus' very name was anathema to most Jews. Identifying him and acknowledging his existence would be to painfully give life to the accusations of `Christ killer' and deicide that began in the early years of the church and continued to modern times.
"While today there is still no unanimity of views about Jesus within Judaism, there is certainly a much more accepting view. To many Jews, he was born, lived and died a Jew. Some would clearly identify him with an element of the rabbinic community of the first century and categorize him among the reformers of that community. Probably many would say not just a reformer but a radical reformer (but one who) ... never proclaimed a messianic status."
The range of views about Jesus in Hinduism is quite wide. Some Hindus admire him so much they think of him as a yogi (a practitioner of yoga) and follow his teachings. But, as a rule, Hindus reject the Christian contention that somehow the incarnation of God in Jesus was unique. Hindus believe God also was incarnate in such Hindu deities as Krishna.
Anand Bhattacharyya, an active member of the Kansas City Hindu community, calls Jesus "a great seer of truth like ancient Hindu sages. He had extraordinary yogic power to communicate with God and revealed his messages to the followers. I am particularly overwhelmed by his message of love, kindness and compassion. He was a true Bhakti yogi." ("Bhakti" is derived from a root word that means "to be attached to God.")
Sikhism emerged 500 years ago with no direct connections to Judaism or Christianity. But an indication of the respect with which some Sikhs view Jesus can be found in an essay by a Sikh on a British Broadcasting Corp. Web site, www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions , that describes various religions of the world. Nikky Singh writes that she sees Jesus "as a wonderful parallel with the person of Nanak, the first Sikh guru. There is no direct connection between Christ and the Sikh gurus ... but when we look closely at them, they illuminate each other."
There is no generally accepted Buddhist view of Jesus, but some Buddhists think of Jesus as a bodhisattva, one who, motivated by compassion, seeks enlightenment for everyone, including himself. Lama Chuck Stanford of the Rime Buddhist Center in Kansas City is among those who think that: "Many Buddhist teachers I know, and myself included, view Jesus as an enlightened being, a bodhisattva, whose message was not that much different than that of the Buddha's. Jesus encouraged his followers not to harm others and to be kind, compassionate and to love others."
Stanford notes, "Buddhism predates Christianity (by about 500 years), so there would be nothing in the teachings about Jesus."
Adherents of the Baha'i faith believe Jesus was a manifestation of God but not the only one. Rather he was one of several messengers from God. The founder of Baha'ism, who took the name Baha'u'llah, called himself "a later manifestation" of God. In addition to Jesus, this line of messengers honored by Baha'is includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster and Muhammad.
As Warren Carter notes, it took traditional Christianity time to reduce its beliefs to written creeds to which church structures gave approval, but eventually those creeds declared the church's historic view that Jesus is God's fully human, fully divine son and one of the persons of the Trinity. Various other views (under such names as Arianism, Nestorianism and Monophysiticism) were expressed in early Christianity - and have continued to emerge in other times and places - but eventually were declared heretical if they disagreed with the Nicene Creed, which first was articulated in 325 C.E.
But faith communities with connections to Christianity have developed views in tension with traditional Christian beliefs. Among them:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters in Utah, calls Jesus the "Heavenly Father's Only Begotten Son in the flesh." But the writings the church holds as scripture go beyond the Christian Bible to include the Book of Mormon, which tells a story of how, after Jesus was resurrected, he appeared to people in what is now known as America, taught them his gospel and formed his church.
The Book of Mormon says the people to whom Jesus appeared here were descendents of a prophet named Lehi, who the book says lived in Jerusalem about 600 B.C.E. and whom God commanded to lead a small group of people to the American continent.
THE COMMUNITY OF CHRIST
Formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with headquarters in Independence, this group also holds the Book of Mormon to be holy scripture but has positioned itself closer to traditional Christianity than the LDS church.
Bruce Lindgren of the Community's First Presidency's office says the church believes Jesus is "`God with us,' the Son of God, and the living expression of God in the flesh. ... Although we do not use creeds in our worship, we believe that our understanding of Jesus Christ is consistent with the ecumenical Christian creeds."
In this tradition, Jesus is often honored as a wisdom teacher but is not considered divine and certainly not part of any Trinity, which Unitarians reject.
The Rev. Thom Belote, pastor of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church, says that "if you ask a Unitarian Universalist if they believe Jesus was God, most would probably answer no. And it would be a tremendous mistake to interpret this reply as a negation, a rejection or a denial.
"We say that Jesus was fully human, no different than you or I, except that he made use of that humanity more fully than you or I ever will. ... Jesus' ministry did not so much point to a kingdom in a time to come. It said that the kingdom is already here."
The founder, Mary Baker Eddy, expressed great reverence for Jesus as she created her unique views on healing. One tenet of Christian Science says in part: " we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death."
Riley Seay of the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Missouri puts it this way: "We look at him as the savior of the world, as the son of God, as pretty much as he identifies himself as scripture. We look to him for guidance. He was the master Christian, if you will. Through healing we know we are on track with his theology. If we understand what Jesus was teaching, the byproduct is going to be healing."
This movement, based at Unity Village near Lee's Summit, says it affirms the divinity of Jesus in that "Unity teaches that the spirit of God lived in Jesus, just as it lives in every person. Every person has the potential to express the perfection of Christ, as Jesus did, by being more Christ like in everyday life."
This faith community believes Jesus must always be distinguished from_and is subordinate to - God. The group's Web site explains: "In every period of his existence, whether in heaven or on earth, his (Jesus') speech and conduct reflect subordination to God. God is always the superior, Jesus the lesser one who was created by God. ... After his resurrection, he continues to be in a subordinate, secondary position."
That view differs markedly from this one expressed by the Nicene Creed: Jesus is "the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father."
But, as Carter says, that wording took time to develop. As his students wrestle with New Testament passages, he says, he first tries to get them to see what the text itself is saying about who Jesus is rather than imposing a Nicene or other view of him on the verses in question.
Noble at Nazarene Seminary describes the process for his Christian students this way: "We're exploring what we've already confessed."
Here are several books that will provide useful information about many religions of the world:
"Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions," Wendy Doniger, consulting editor
"Introduction to World Religions," Christopher Partridge, general editor
"The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions," by Huston Smith