Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not the time

While I totally favor the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, I just don't think now's the time to march in the streets for it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reactions to the Swine Flu

I don't know what it is about this swine flu that is making people so nasty. In my almost 11 months blogging at knoxnews, the comments on my posts about the swine flu have been the nastiest, most uncalled for I've ever had. These make the "go choke on a tortilla" comment seem nice.

One would think that we could put aside stereotypes and division and have compassion for the plight of our fellow humanbeings. But obviously there is a crowd of people that cannot do that. I rarely delete comments on my KNS blog, but some of these are so bad that I refuse to perpetuate their sick message.

The most offensive thing I've done is suggest that American tourists, like myself, brought the swine flu into the U.S. rather than undocumented immigrants.

I also think that this is being taken out of porportion. According to that link from CNN, thousands of Americans die every year from the regular ole flu, and hundreds of thousands world wide die from it.

Rather than pointing fingers, we need to help the people affected and protect ourselves with the same common sense meaures that protect us from other illnesses.

My KNS swine flu posts:
Swine flu- latest conspiracy of undocumented immigrants
Swine flu in perspective
A child was the original swine flu carrier?
39 yr old woman first carrier of swine flu?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm ashamed of a fellow Tennessean

What a waste of time and energy on the part of our state legislators. Rep. Stacey Campfield of East Tennessee wants to deny birth certificates to babies born to undocumented mothers. It's things like this that make our state look bad.

Mexico City and the Swine Flu

Swine flu- latest conspiracy of undocumented immigrants?

What a Monday for Mexico City residents.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Me and the Virgin (of Guadalupe)

Since my days as a Spanish student at the University of Tennessee, I have been intrigued by the story of la Virgen de Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico and Mexico's version of the Virgin Mary.

As a Spanish student I read about the conquest of Mexico and the appearance of la Virgen to the Indian Juan Diego.

As a Spanish teacher, I teach about la Virgen each December and show the movie Guadalupe.

I've always been fascinated with stories of people who pledge to crawl so far in the Basilica on their knees if she answers their prayers or the gang members who get large, intricate tatoos of her on their backs so that la Virgen "has their backs". There is also a current television series, La Rosa de Guadalupe, that tells stories of how la Virgen is watching over her people today.

During my spring break trip to Mexico City, la Basilica de Guadalupe was one of the places I was most interested in visiting.

I went on a Thursday around noon. It was one of the busiest tourist attractions I've ever seen. I call it a tourist attraction because it was apparent that the majority of visitors were tourists like myself. However, I'm afraid "tourist attraction" doesn't quite fit because most of the people, unlike myself, were there on a spiritual pilgrimage of sorts. Those Catholic tourists who found themselves in el D.F. that day went to the Basilica to honor and pay tribute to la Virgen.

As a Christian and Protestant, I view the Basilica as a place full of Mexican culture and history. I believe that the work of Jesus Christ on the cross was enough to redeem me and guarantee me eternity with Him in Heaven. I do not believe that I need to call upon the Virgen Mary, the Virgen of Guadalupe, or any other saint in order for God to hear my prayers. I believe that the work of Jesus on the cross tore away the need to approach God by a third party as was required under Old Testament law.

While all the crosses in the Basilica show Jesus still nailed to them, I believe in a cross that is empty. According to the New Testament, Jesus was taken from that cross dead shortly after he was placed there. His body was taken to a tomb that had been given to him. It was to that same tomb that Mary Magdalene went on Sunday morning. An angel appeared at that tomb to announce that Christ had risen from the dead. I believe in an empty cross because I believe in an empty tomb.

At the Basilica, I agreed to stay for Mass out of respect for my Mexican, Catholic travel companions. Although I certainly wasn't looking for it, I did receive a spiritual revelation there. It was as if Jesus himself were asking me why I can't worship and honor him like all those around me were worshipping la Virgen.

There were thousands there that day to pay tribute to la Virgen de Guadalupe. There is no spiritual tourist attraction like that for Protestants. Most Protestants, myself included unfortunately, are hard pressed to go to church once a week, let alone travel to a site central to their faith like Mexican Catholics.

I returned from Mexico as if from another world. My experiences during one week in el D.F. have made me re-evaluate certain things about my life on this side of the border. One of the most important of those is the state of my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am now challenged to live for Him in a new, fresh way.

My Mexico Adventure

I returned from Mexico City four days ago and I'm still battling culture lag. It's taking me a few days to pick up the pace in my normal life here. I miss D.F. I'm still processing my thoughts and experience, but I plan to write more on it soon.

In the meantime, here's a video of dance lessons I got in Xochimilco, Mexico's version of Venice.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ICE v. Border Patrol

Talk about government agencies that can't get along. Now it's getting personal.
ICE Raid on Border Patrol Agents Home

Monday, April 6, 2009

So it's Immigration Awareness Month

I learned last week that it is Immigration Awareness month. (Who decides these things, I don't know.) I was blogging about it Friday afternoon on my KNS blog. Then I saw the news about the shooting in New York, and I wrote this.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tinga- My Favorite Mexican Food Ever

Tinga takes a little longer to cook than some dishes, but it is well worth the time.

3-4 split chicken breasts (grocery stores have sales on these a lot)
1 onion
3-4 fresh tomatoes OR 1 can tomato sauce
1-2 chipotle peppers (start with a few and add more for desired level of spiciness)
Canola oil

1. Boil chicken breasts for about an hour.
2. In a blender, mix tomatoes (or sauce) with chipotle peppers.
3. Slice onions into thin rings.
4. When chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from pot and let cool. Discard fat. Using two forks, remove chicken from the bone and discard bone. Shred chicken into thin pieces.
5. In medium size pan, add approximately 3-4 tablespoons of Canola oil. Fry onion slices in oil until tender. When onion slices are tender, add shredded chicken. Stir chicken and onions for several minutes, then add the salsa from the blender.
6. Add salt and let sautee for 5-10 minutes.

Mexicans eat tinga with tostadas.

Tip: If the salsa is too spicy, cheese or milk products relieve a burnt mouth. Queso fresco is especially good with tinga.