Archive | May 2015

Going Clear – Examining Scientology

So I was a little torn about even reviewing this book on my blog. Not because of the story itself, it is marvelous, but the subject matter is a little off of what I generally share here. I am a born and raised Lutheran who has in turn (thus far) raised our 5 kids in the same faith. Ken is less committed to a particular strain of Christianity or religion really, than I am but agrees Sunday School (or Jesus School as Echo calls it) is a marvelous way for our kids to not only socialize in a school like environment but learn some wonderful classic moral structure. In saying all of that I AM a Religion and Philosphy major (joint concentrations with a Bachelor degree graduating with distinction) who spent a large portion of her education looking into world religions. There is something amazing in seeing more opinions and faiths. Add in the philosophy portion and I have never lost my wish to simply know more.

Now with Scientology I have to admit my only knowledge came from the media. John Travolta, Tom Cruise… though my exposure through Tom Cruise was such to make me LESS enthused about the ideology honestly… and more recently Lea Remini’s leaving and Haggis’ impassioned letter of resignation after the treatment of his openly gay daughters and homosexuality as a whole within the organization. In fact, I was originally looking for the new HBO documentary about Scientology when I came across the link for the book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.

I figure the best way to review is to be honest… I absolutely LOVED the voice of the author. His writing was clear, and had an unbiased feel (as unbiased as any one person can be). This was a man determined to find as much factual statements as he could, and with religion (or a closed community such as Scientology seems to be) that is never a simple black and white. The back of the book is full of notes and acknowledgement of source. Surprisingly a large portion of his resources came from the University of Alberta. (the university that has bought Augustana where Ken and myself got our degrees) This is not a book thrown together without an attempt to corroborate material. Though there are multiple places where the official Scientology account differs from other sources…

I PERSONALLY found the history of the creator of Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard) and the early history of the organization to be the most interesting. Though the more current step by step growth and evolution of a society working to be declared a formal religion was also gripping.

The entire book walks you through first the life (birth onward) of L. Ron Hubbard on through to the creation of Scientology the written work and organization, past his death and into the more current status of the “church.” Wright has multiple sources including defectors and what information he could glean from the internet, other reporters and texts, the published writings of Hubbard and what Scientology would officially confirm or deny. There is a bit of a taboo on writing about Scientology, especially in the 80’s and 90’s where it is documented that authors have been sued, harassed and potentially blackmailed.

Now there is some dogma in the book, a lot of personal experiences (often collaborated with at least another person) and what has been released in the media. All in all it combined to be a read I simply could not put down. I was very grateful for the long weekend.

Now I would consider this book a wonderful peek into the inner workings and beginnings of Scientology based on the accounts of insiders AND the author who is in no way affiliated with the community. I am sure this is biased on some levels but I feel the author really tried to back the claims, histories and philosophy with text and numerous accounts. I think that this book has given me some insight into what some consider a cult, others a church and still others simply an organization based on a money making scheme. What you draw from it is your own. It definitely held my interest. So check it out if you want to know more about Scientology and for sure, let me know what YOU thought about it! o-GOING-CLEAR-facebook

2015 Goes On!

And without any sort of notice it was over! But not without some exuberant amount of photos… so please enjoy the light hearted overflow! 

Goldie Bloks with Daddy

Goldie Bloks with Daddy

Hello Kitty for life

Hello Kitty for life

Aunty Renee Awesome with Miss E

Aunty Renee Awesome with Miss E

Impromptu arts center.

Impromptu arts center.

Science in the kitchen

Science in the kitchen

A visit at the Novak's

A visit at the Novak’s

Lunch out with Ken!

Lunch out with Ken!

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Minnesotan's REALLY love their Ranch??

Minnesotan’s REALLY love their Ranch??

Embrace the colour!

Embrace the colour!

Batgirl with homemade weapons.

Batgirl with homemade weapons.

United Noodle RUN!

United Noodle RUN!

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AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY!!! Congrats Shandai and Ravyn we love you!

AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY!!! Congrats Shandai and Ravyn we love you!

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Our play anywhere any time girl

Our play anywhere any time girl

Reading and more!

Reading and more!

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Sewing!

Sewing!

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January, a Month on Reflection

Well I have to say it didn’t take reflection to realize that THIS January was a much easier month for the adults and disappointing for the kids. Of course, I am talking about the weather, no Arctic chill, but also not much in the way of truly useful (for play) substantial snow! At least getting to “Jesus School” on Sundays was much easier on the family. Frigid rides in the van in the early morning is never a blast.IMAG1127

But I get ahead of myself – We ran in the new year (well partied until the evening) with Renee’s family and friends at her folks’ hobby farm. There was kids to play with, amazing snacks to munch on and entertaining adult company. Absolutely no complaints here! Though we did not make midnight. It may be another year or two before Miss Echo can handle being out and about and HAPPY at midnight.IMAG0999

Jeffrey!

Jeffrey!

IMAG0994Our first weekend AFTER New Years was of course Home Depot… Echo starts up after August if you believe it! If you have NOT checked into this free activity (on both sides of the border no less) please do! Ages for this one are suggested 5-12. Such cute little sleds!

Sleds!

Sleds!

We had visitors in our new year… notably Cousin Robbie who is always willing for a quick game with the kids before settling down to playing adults only.102_0235

Enjoyed our gingerbread houses as decoration well past season…102_0236

Crafted and drew for fun and all…102_0238

102_0251And found the time to learn something about the world through Little Passports!

SPAIN

SPAIN

And a Wild Kratts!

Under the Frozen Pond!

Under the Frozen Pond!

I think 2015 was well begun with creativity on all sides!

by Emanuel

by Emanuel

Cross stitch by Gavin for his God Mommy back home!

Cross stitch by Gavin for his God Mommy back home!

With January also came our revisit of all things China and Chinese New Year. You can see our China resource page for this year’s studies HERE. I am going to have to think this through to really find a way to make a whole new unit for next year!!!102_0258

We had origami…102_0264

And costume time…102_0266

And a book completion for our littlest learner!102_0271And FIVE perfect sets of teeth!IMAG1194

IMAG1079Swimming continues to entertain all!IMAG1139

IMAG1246Definitely a different winter from last year when we had mountains of snow followed by biting cold!!IMAG1182

Yup fast forward through January… onto February… but first… check out the picture over flow HERE for this month with more silly goodness.IMAG0988