She thought he was dead. He never knew she existed.

For most of my wife’s life she believed her father was dead. This is what her adoptive parents told her, and this is what the adoption agency told her. He was dead. He died in 1968 in a motorcycle accident before she was born. And then, three years ago, the truth was uncovered – he was alive. Alive! And, to make the story more amazing, he never knew she existed!

There are too many bizarre and amazing twists and turns in this story for me to mention. For childless Mark Shaw, my wife’s biological father, the discovery of a daughter and two granddaughters was nothing short of a miracle for him, a miracle he felt compelled to write a book about: Road to a Miracle (People’s Press, 2011). Needless to say, he still tears up every time he tells the story of how he discovered his “miracle daughter” and grandchildren. The below photo was taken two years ago on Father’s Day. Mark has just opened his present as his “newly discovered” daughter, Marni, watches on.

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Any adoptee will tell you that a reunion with a birth parent is stressful and “crazy-making” in good ways, bad ways, and ways that language cannot describe. But a reunion with a “dead parent” after forty years adds a surreal level of craziness that is beyond words. If you can imagine two parallel universes colliding and collapsing into a single quantum field where multiple realities coexist, you’re getting close to catching a glimpse of my wife’s world. It has been an incredible journey for everyone involved. And the journey continues. It continues…

I’m writing this because next week my wife and I will be in San Francisco on a family vacation with Mark and his wife, and I’ll be taking a little vacation from my blog (we fly out on Saturday). In the mean time, feel free to check out Mark’s website. His resume is very impressive. His new book on the Kennedy assassination will be released on October 1, 2013 and is sure to be bestseller – well&… this is our hope! Mark will be a featured speaker at the JFK Lancer Conference in Dallas in November commemorating the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. Here is the link to his website: http://www.markshawbooks.com/

My students were deeply disturbed with Jesus Camp

I recently showed the documentary Jesus Camp to my students. Many were deeply disturbed by what they saw. For nearly all of them this was their first look inside the evangelical Christian movement. If you have never seen Jesus Camp, I do recommend it. It is a documentary about an evangelical camp for young kids. If you click on the following link you can see a little clip that captures the essence of the camp. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSwZJ55g80Q

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After finishing the video I instructed the students to write a reaction essay. I told them to explain why they would or would not send their children to this camp. Not one student said they would want their child to attend this camp.Not one! Here are some excerpts.

I would never send my child to such a camp. What this camp does is cruel!

- Abram

This movie was hard for me to watch. The way the adults brainwashed these young kids was frightening. These kids have no chance to think for themselves, or even develop any independent beliefs or ideas.

- Sophi

This movie is very disturbing. The adults are way too involved in trying to make these kids believe in something that may not even be real…This camp was just really disturbing to me…I don’t know how to express how I feel other than disturbed.

- Mary

This film evokes many emotions for me, ranging from anger to hate. And it shames me as a human to know this is actually happening in my society.

- Marc

It is my belief that religion is an important life decision, one that should not be made until you have “seen all sides.” The legal drinking age is twenty-one. Drinking before your brain is fully developed can harm it. The same goes for religion. Introduce a harmful thought too soon and there is damage. This camp is nothing more than a brainwashing facility and the leaders should be locked up.

- Harrison

As a person, I carry my own beliefs. I also expect my children to have their own beliefs. Hence, I would not let my children anywhere near this camp. There would be a fifty mile radius around the camp that my child could not cross.

- Mikayla

I would not want my child raised this way. These kids were brainwashed. This was too extreme and weird.

- Hannah

I would never send my child to a camp like this…The director wants to turn the kids into Christian soldiers willing to die for their religion…There is no excuse for trying to do something this terrible to a child.

- Josh

This camp brainwashes children into thinking that the Bible can run the United States. The director of the camp says the children are learning, but they are not because learning is about gaining knowledge to help you form your own ideas. …but children can’t do that if they are being brainwashed.

- Megan

I find this video horrendous. This camp is absolutely ridiculous! As a parent, I would never send my kids to this camp

- BreAnna

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