Thursday, August 23, 2007

What are your kids reading?

Right now, Jillian, our 13 year old, is reading Dragonspell. She has already read the whole series once and is reading it for the second time. I think she's on the third book right now.

Here's a description of this book:

After 14 years as a slave girl in the village of River Away, Kale is free, because of a dragon's egg. Since she found it, the village elders have decided that she must present herself and the egg to the great wizards of the walled city of Vendela, where she expects to become a servant of Paladin, the earthly representative of Wulder, supreme being of Amara. Her journey is interrupted first by attacking ogres, then by a detour into a cave that hides seven more dragon eggs, and finally by a daring escape aided by dragon-riding rescuers who become Kale's guides, tutors, and closest cohorts on her travels. Two of her precious eggs hatch on the way and become her constant companions–first green Gymn, who heals, and then purple Metta, who sings. To them, Kale is much more than just a slave girl–she is the last of the great Allerion dragon-keepers. This is classic quest fantasy with echoes of J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (Houghton) and of Christopher Paolini's Eragon (Knopf, 2003). As in C. S. Lewis's "Narnia" books (HarperCollins), Christian allegories and messages are clearly presented and easily found, but it is equally possible to read this as Kale's story as it happened in Amara, a world completely separate from our own. It would be a shame to limit readership by relegating this clever and inventive story to the genre of Christian fiction. There is plenty of room for sequels, and readers will want to know much more about Kale and the remainder of her quest.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

County Ordered to Accommodate Church-Going Park Ranger

How many of us have to work a job on a Sunday? I'm one of the lucky ones where I basically work 8-4, Monday - Friday. I do occasionally get called in to do something quick on the weekend, but it's very, very rare, and I don't mind that. But I would not want to work a full day on a Sunday and miss church. That is "my" day to attend church and to spend it however I want... I have several family members who do have jobs that require them to work on Sundays. I know that my sister quit one job because she asked to be off Sunday mornings for church and they continually would put her on the schedule to work Sunday mornings. It didn't matter that other workers were sitting at home, not attending church, for some reason, they constantly scheduled her for those Sunday mornings.

Well here's the story of one man who won his battle of working on Sundays. *applause!!!*

By Susan Jones Senior Editor
August 14, 2007

( - A former park ranger in Palm Beach County, Fla., will get his old j
ob back, if he wants it, and he won't have to work on Sundays.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, Palm Beach County has resolved allegations that it engaged in employment discrimination based on religion.

Specifically, the county was accused of violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by refusing to reasonably accommodate a park ranger's request for a work schedule that would allow him to attend church and refrain from work on Sundays.

The park ranger, who resigned when the county refused his Sundays-off request, also will get back pay and retroactive pension contributions, the Justice Department announced.

In addition, the county has agreed to enforce its existing religious accommodation policy and train supervisors to ensure that they properly handle future requests for religious accommodations.

"Public employees should not have to choose between their religious practices and their livelihood," said Wan J. Kim, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.

"While public employers have the authority to set reasonable standards for work schedules, they cannot reflexively refuse to consider a request for a religious accommodation, particularly where the employer has a policy that has granted other employees similar religious accommodations."

A federal judge must now approve the consent decree.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel quoted Palm Beach County Administrator Bob Weisman as saying that the county is not admitting any wrongdoing. He said the park ranger was asked to work on weekends and he objected: "We're a seven-day-a-week operation," Weisman was quoted as saying.

County officials reportedly agreed to the deal to avoid prolonged litigation.