Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause . . ." (Psalm 43)

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh deliver me form the deceitful and unjust man!
For you are the God of my strength; why do you cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Oh send out your light and your truth!
Let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise you, O God, my God.

Wht are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disqieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him, the help of my countenance, and my God.

- Psalm 43

For many years, I never saw the connection between verses 1-2 and the prayer in verse 3, but lately I've had to learn about it - in life itself and and not in the Bible, which has served to confirm that others have learned it before me.

Vindication against the enemy, deliverance from the oppression of the unjust, comes in one way. I need God to send out his light and his truth, to lead me out of my own injustice and darkness into his truth. His light and his truth will lead me to safety only by showing me what's wrong with me.

I'm reminded of how Harry Truman said you can get a lot done if you don't need the credit. In like fashion, we can be delivered from the unjust if we don't need to feel sinless ourselves.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Back from Ithaca

We went to Ithaca, NY to visit my sister and her family for a week, and we're now back. It's the first vacation I remember in many years that was more fun and less painful than usual life.

My nieces are great little girls, and my sister and her husband were very gracious and kind to us.

We're back now, and the maneuvering with the Chin Valley school district continues. It's been a chance to learn how to pray instead of doing things instead that wind up being evil. Lots besides praying to God needs to be done, but nothing done as a way not to call on the Lord can work out well. I'm glad I'm getting some education in this and other essential truths.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The beat goes on

It seemed after the IEP meeting that they might be interested in working things out peaceably at last - but not so. They wrote up the IEP as they liked, blowing off the input of our evaluator and everyone else in the meeting except their evaluator. It's like no one else was there, and all this is contrary to the law, which among other things states that the IEP team must arrive at its conclusions through consensus.

They offered after the meeting to pay our expenses in return for my dropping my compliance complaints, which is absurd because they owe those expenses anyway, but I agreed to talk about them when they call, as the SELPA director said they would be doing last week. SELPA never called, but CVUSD sent a certified letter giving completely fallacious arguments for not paying, so it seems that they want to fight to the death, or maybe they're just low-balling and plan to get serious later, but I've always been wrong before when I expected them to be reasonable.

The same day, we got CDE's report on the first complaint, S-0487-07/08, which found CVUSD out of compliance but also stated that they had produced all the records, which would imply that they had produced all the records for the IEP meeting. However, I drew attention to some errors both in law and fact, and they have agreed to reconsider. Perhaps CVUSD was unaware of this latest development before they sent such an insulting letter.

Of course we can't let the IEP be written up as they want, because their intention is clearly to have Stephen in a position where they can do him further harm in the event that the new placement doesn't work out, which is quite possible in view of how Stephen has been traumatized by educational professionals. We'll have to give notice by the end of the month of our intention to file the civil suit, too.

As I said in my conversation with the SELPA director, one real problem is that in some way I am really stupid. I just don't understand CVUSD's determination to provoke confrontation and take every opportunity to hurt Stephen. At any time they could walk away from this fight for a few thousand bucks, and they know that's still possible. They've probably spent more already fighting me, and yet they're going for more. They have to know that this is all going to play unpleasantly in the newspapers, and the risk of getting the State Superintendent personally involved is really there. The County is moving forward with its own investigation of the phony 5150. And yet with nothing to gain for themselves they insist that we must bring it on!

Well, it makes no sense to me. But if only I could see inside their heads I would understand, and I would perhaps be able to find a way. I feel like I'm incorrigibly stupid, but since I have to protect my son, I just have to show up for their challenge until their threat is ended.

But here we see the importance of loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us and despitefully use us. If we don't, then we will be stupid and miss chances to make peace and avoid needless strife. Since I simply can't understand why these people are acting this way, I am sure I am having that problem. For now, I don't know what to do but thwart their assaults as tenaciously and skillfully as I can, while keeping my hand stretched out to offer a peaceful resolution if that should ever interest them.

I was just reading Psalm 16 today, and that speaks very directly to these questions. I'll have a word on Psalm 16 presently.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"O Lord my God, if I have done this . . " (Psalm 7)

A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite

O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge;
Save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me,
Lest he tear me like a lion, dragging me away, while there is none to deliver.

O Lord my God, if I have done this,
If there is injustice in my hands,
If I have rewarded evil to him that was at peace with me,
Or have plundered my adversary without cause,
Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me;
And let him trample my life down to the ground, and lay my glory in the dust.

Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
Lift up yourself against the rage of my adversaries,
And arouse yourself for me; You have appointed judgment.

And let the assembly of the peoples encompass Thee;
And over them return on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is within me.
O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous
For the righteous God tries the hearts and kidneys.
My shield is upon God, who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous Judge, and a God who has indignation every day.

If he does not repent, he will sharpen his sword;
He has bent his bow and made it ready.
He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes his arrows fiery shafts.
Behold, he travails with wickedness, and he conceives mischief, and brings forth falsehood.
He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, and has fallen into the pit which he made.

His mischief will return on his own head, and his violence will descend upon his own pate.

I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

- Psalm 7

The first thing that has always struck me in this psalm is Cush the Benjamite. Who is this guy, and what did he say? Nothing is said about him anywhere else, but right here and now, David found him to be a deadly danger, and he needed everthing God could do for him.

Fearing to be dragged away as by a lion, with none to deliver, David examined himself to see "if I have done this." He acknowledged right away that if he had, he deserved to reap the measure he had measured out to others, instead of complaining about the injustice he was afraid of.

My son and I have been gravely hurt and are still being menaced by Chino Valley Unified School District. I need God to rescue us for sure, because I'm wet behind the ears in education law and in all the tricks in and out of the law that they can devise, and they've been at it for years. They're always surprising me: the whole past year, if I think of some trick they might play, I've always been proven wrong when I've figured that they wouldn't.

In the face of this history, I could easily be cynical - and cynicism is a grave menace, because cynicism is the prudence of fools, a cheap knockoff of wisdom. Nobody needs the grace of God to be cynical, so coming from elsewhere cynicism will never do.

But as David said, "Rebels cannot be taken in hand; he who touches them must be filled with iron and the shaft of a spear," and Jesus put no trust in thos who believed in him because "he knew what was in man." I could use more wisdom concerning all of this!

My main business remains: Have I done this? Have I rewarded evil to anyone who is at peace with me? Have I plundered my adversaries without cause, or intended to? I have to study continually to thwart their devices and I have to play them very tough to keep them from doing us more harm, as they are still trying to do, but my gravest danger remains that I might do them injustice from either fear, vindictiveness, or pride - and thereby lose God's shadow.

As it is, David was inspired by God in this incident to pray for important things far off, even relating to the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ (verses 6-8). The greatest issues are contained in the smallest matters, in this case David's troubles with the Benjamite Cush, who except for this reference has "vanished from the pages of time." Everything counts. For every little struggle we need the grace of God.

Finally, how do we get dragged away as our conduct deserves if we like to play the predator ourelves?

If we do not repent, what we will do instead is to sharpen our swords, bend our bows, and prepare for ourselves deadly weapons. People live by the sword because that's how not to repent - staying the same by forcing everyone else to help us stay that way. And that's how we die by the sword. "He has dug a pit and hollowed it out and has fallen into the hole which he made. His mischief will return upon his own head, and his violence will descend on his own pate."