Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A New Survey on Teen Pregnancy circa 2012

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has released a new survey of adult and teen attitudes about sex, abstinence contraception, parental influence, sex education, birth control, and teen pregnancy. 

Key findings include:
  • Teens make clear that parents matter more than many probably think (teens say parents most influence their decisions about sex);
  • there is great agreement among adults about the importance of teaching teens about the value of delaying sex and the importance of using contraception (more than seven in 10 support this approach);

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not a Minute Too Soon | The Volunteer's Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis

We're all back to school now, or will be in about a minute, and it's none too soon to introduce your volunteer team to The Volunteer's Guide 

Back in the day, Rich Van Pelt got the ball rolling with his seminal youth worker training book, Intensive 
Care: Helping Teenagers in Crisis — a few copies of which are available today at Amazon.com at prices ranging from a couple of bucks to a very impressive $588.98 (way to go, Rich!).

In the middle of the last decade, Rich and I threw in together to produce The Youth Worker's Guide to 
Helping Teenagers in Crisis — which covers the same ground as the Youth Worker's Guide through the filter of what a parent needs to know (e.g. a mom doesn't need her own referral list, she needs to know that her friendly youth worker has one and she need to know how to ask for help when she needs it).
Now, we've completed The Volunteer's Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis because, much like parents, volunteers need to know how to spot trouble and get help quickly, effectively and with as little drama as possible.
The Volunteer's Guide works with four DVD sessions that blend crisis stories told by real people with short teaching segments by Rich and me (mostly five minutes or less). The other learning ingredients mix personal reflection and recollection with group conversation about the kids and families your team serves, wherever you're located — be that small town, suburb, or urban center.

Session 01: Understanding Crisis     Session 02: Spotting Crisis

Session 03: Responding to Crisis     Session 04: Preventing Crisis

If you lead a team of volunteer youth workers, nobody has to tell you they're often the first to see signs of trouble in adolescents. And nobody has to remind you most of them have no idea what to do about crisis when they see it. The Volunteer's Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis is your tool kit to build volunteers who know when what they're seeing is a crisis and know how to get kids the help they need in a timely and compassionate manner.

Faith + the 2012 Presidential Election

Barack Obama + Mitt Romney answer questions about their faith. 

Read the complete Cathedral Age Magazine interviews.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri, Meet St. Augustine of Hippo

Following his August 7 victory in the primary for Senate, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin told supporters:
First, I want to give thanks to God our Creator who has blessed this campaign, heard your prayers, and answered them with victory.  Through the months, we have seen frequent instances of His blessing and are reminded that with Him all things are possible!
Questioning the "legitimacy" of many reported rapes in an interview with KTVI in St. Louis on August 19, Congressman Akin said:
...it was his understanding from doctors that it’s rare for someone to become pregnant from rape. He said, “[If it's a legitimate rape,] the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.” [Note:The KTVI website report edited out the beginning of Mr. Akin's quote--the "legitimate rape" part] 
Meanwhile, over in science a study published in the Journal of American Obstetrics and Gynecology estimates in excess 30,000 pregnancies per year resulting from sexual assaults in the U.S.

Somehow, Congressman Akin sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Sigh...

Early in the 5th century, Augustine wrote:
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. 
— St. Augustine, the Literal Meaning of Genesis. vol. 1, Ancient Christian Writers, vol. 41. Translated and annotated by John Hammond Taylor, S.J. New York: Paulist Press, 1982, chapter 19.39
Would that Mr. Akin were a lone weird voice. But he's one in a chorus singing from the same hymnal. It drives me a little crazy that people's opinions about Jesus may be more influenced by folks like Mr. Akin than by the biblical narratives themselves. I hope voters have the collective wisdom to withhold seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate from the likes of Mr. Akin. And I certainly don't want such people in the White House.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

You're fired | Could you be one of a million Americans who lose jobs in 2013 if Romney-Ryan are elected in 2012?

1. "Ryan's budget cuts would cost jobs," The Economic Policy Institute Blog, March 21, 2012.
2. "Five Times Mitt Romney Has Embraced The Ryan Budget," ThinkProgress, August 11, 2012.
3. "Study: Romney tax plan would result in cuts for rich, higher burden for others," Washington Post, August 1, 2012.
4. "Romney's Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas," Washington Post, June 21, 2012.
5. "Romney's Tax Plan May Cost U.S. As Many As 800,000 Jobs: Report," Huffington Post, July 17, 2012.

[h/t to moveon.org]

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Won't you be my neighbor?

An expert on the Bible decided to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

“What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”

The expert quoted from the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy: “'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,'" he said; and then quoting from the 19th chapter of Leviticus he added: "and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 

“Good answer,” Jesus said.

For some reason, this did not satisfy the Bible expert, and he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 

To which Jesus replied: 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Women's Health Care From Now On: August 1st, 2012

Good news: If you're a woman with health insurance, from now on you are covered without copay or cost-sharing for eight additional preventive care services. 
Bad news: Many of the most vulnerable women remain uncovered at this time. 
You-had-to-go-to-school-to-learn-that? insight: The sooner every American can acquire health insurance, the better for all of us.
Here, as described by healthcare.gov, are the eight additional women’s preventive services now covered:
  • Well-woman visits: This would include an annual well-woman preventive care visit for adult women to obtain the recommended preventive services, and additional visits if women and their health care providers determine they are necessary. These visits will help women and their health care providers determine what preventive services are appropriate, and set up a plan to help women get the care they need to be healthy.
  • Gestational diabetes screening: This screening is for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes. It will help improve the health of mothers and babies because women who have gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. In addition, the children of women with gestational diabetes are at significantly increased risk of being overweight and insulin-resistant throughout childhood.