I have been a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since I was eight years old, which is the youngest age that church will accept members. A few years ago the church changed its name to "Community of Christ" to prevent confusion between this church and the "Mormon" church ("Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints").
I continue membership in this organization because of its work toward peace, both on the personal and the World level. The World always needs more peace as long as there are is war, hunger, or inequalities. One example of the Church's commitment to peace is its Peace Pavilion, which is housed in the Church's Auditorium, Independence, Missouri. Another example is the Daily Prayer for Peace, which is held at 12:00 every day across the street in the Temple.
For more information, the church's WEB site is http://www.CofChrist.org/.
I have been a member of Mensa since 1996. The reason I joined was primarily personal, and I will not talk about them now.
I have continued in membership because fo the opportunity to talk with people who are somewhat my peers. This is somewhat more interesting that, for example, ACM because the people have a varied background which is more consistant with my broad interest.
Mensa is a social organization which is made of people who score in the top 2% on IQ tests. The advantage of membership is the opportunity to socialize with people who have some hope of understanding what I'm saying.
Mensa also sponsers some scholarships, and encourages intellectual development.For more information, the URL for the international Mensa organization is http://www.mensa.org. The national organization has the URL http://www.us.mensa.org. The local Mensa group have the URL http://www.mamensa.org.
The Sierra Club is the easiest organization to justify. I have been a member since about 1997. The Sierra Club is dedicated to improving the environment. While I must acknowledge that there has been improvement of the environment in the United States since I was young, it is important that this issue be kept in front of politicians, both so that additional improvement can be made, and so that there won't be any backsliding on what has been accomplished.
Like it or not, we all live in the environment. If the environment is lost, then we will not have any place to live. (I see movies, such as "Lost in Space", which suggest that there might be hope by moving the population to another planet, but this is not a realistic hope. For one thing, if we cannot manage the environment of this world, what makes you think we can manage the environment on some other world even if it could be found, and some means of transporting people there could be discovered.)
For more information on the Sierra Club, the URL is http://www.sierraclub.org. The local Kansas organization has the URL http://www.kssierra.org.
I just joined The Nature Conservancy as of 2000.
I decided to join the Nature Conservancy because, like the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy is dedicated to preserving the environment. The Sierra Club works primarily by political means. That is, by lobbying the government to get good laws passed. The Nature Conservancy, on the other hand, just does it. That is, it buys land for Nature Preserves, etc. This, in most places, doesn't require political action.
In 2000, I was taking a group of Middle School students to Manhattan, Kansas, for a Odessey of the Mind competition. On the way home I saw a roadside scenic view, and turned off to see it. As it turns out, this scenic view was sponsored by the Nature Conservancy, being one of the plots of land the Conservancy has purchased.
For more information, the URL is http://nature.org/.
I have been a member of the Libertarian Pary for the last few years, as you will see if you read below. However, I have been dissatisfied with the Libertarian Party primarily because it emphasises personal liberty to the excusion of public responsibility. Also, it is obvious that the Libertarian party has fallen into the the traps of the gun lobby. That is, reading the second half of the second amendment without reading the first half. Therefore, the I have hear Libertarian leaders talk about trying to get every person in the United States to own a gun for "personal protection" which in reality would result in a blood bath. <\P>
I read the platform of the Green Party, and realized that this party believes in the personal liberty advocated by the Libertarian Party, but also advocates responsibility that the Libertarian Party denies. There is concern about the excessive political power being wielded by large corporations, which is true.
And, of course, the Green party is well known for its stand in favor of preserving the environment, and if we loose the envirmonment, we have lost everything. After all, what difference does it make if you own the world, but loose your own soul.
In the last year of so I have become somewhat disalusioned with the Green party because I see so many people trying to use it to further extreeme left wing adjendas. That is, it appears people keep wanting to classify parties as left wing or right wing, and assume that since the Green party is, in fact, a "progressive" party it is also a left wing party. However, it is not realistic to always classify parties as left wing or or right wing. Ideally, the Green party is a centerest party, as is the libertarian party.
The URL of the World Green Party is http://www.Greens.org. The Green party, in all honesty, recognizes the party in each State as an independent party (it goes with believing in less top down control). Therefore the URL for the Green Party of North America is http://www.greens.org/na.html, and the URL for the Green Party of Kansas is http://kansas.greens.org/. Since at this moment the Green Party of Kansas is not officially recognized by the State of Kansas, it is trying to petition the State for official recognition.
I have been a member of the Libertarian Party since about 1992 in that I have aspired to their causes. I have actually paid the dues so that I have been offically a member.
The Libertarian Party, as the name implies, champions the causes of Liberty. I do not fully agree with everything that the Libertarians preach, but as a political party I find its goals closer to mine than any of the major parties. I suppose that if the Libertarian party were to get too powerful I would be force to leave the party. That is to say, my support for the Libertarian Party is very soft.
The Libertarian party emphasises Liberty, and and personal freedom as well as personal responsibility. (I would champion the cause of personal responsibility.) How can someone be personally responsible for their actions if everything they do is done by government fiat? That is, without Liberty there can be no personal responsibility.
For more information, the Libertarian party URL is http://www.lp.org.
I enjoy going to plays, particularly in the informal atmosphere of the Theater in the Park here in Johnson County, Kansas. While I have gone to most performances since 1993, I have actually paid to be a Friend of the Theater in the Park Friends since 1999.
The Theater in the park is performed at the Theater in the Park facilities in the Shawnee-Mission Park in Lenexa, Kansas. For more information the URL is http://www.theatreinthepark.org/ .
Every year there is a Shakespeare Festival in Kansas City, Missouri. I have attended every year except the first year.
When I was a student in High School I had to study Shakespeare as most students are forced to do. I hated it then, and I still hate the approach that was used to teach these really enjoyable plays. The long and the short of it is that Shakespeare's plays were never meant to be read; they were meant to be viewed. A lot of the hard to understand English, for example, is easy to understand when placed in the context of an actor or actress playing the part. As a student I was forced to read, for example, McBeth, and I hated it. However, last year (1999) McBeth was one of the plays presented, and I enjoyed watching it. In fact, I now have a much better understanding of what Shakespeare was trying to get across.
One of the inducements to seeing these plays is that they are free. Anyone who wants to see Shakespeare can do so at no cost. (In all honesty, however, I always end up paying about $20.00 at the play for souvenirs.
For more information about the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the URL is http://www.kcshakes.org.
I also enjoy going to the zoo. This was especially true when my children were younger, and they would look forward to going. A few years ago I joined the Friends of the Zoo organization, which allows me to go as often as I want. However, I have not attended as much as I would like to in recent years. I will continue to support the Zoo as I believe that Zoo's, properly managed (and the Kansas City Zoo is, I think) do a lot to preserve the environment by perserving wildlife that might otherwise become extinct.
Note that there have been questions about the management of the Kansas City Zoo over the last few years. However, this year the zoo is being put under private management (Friend's of the Zoo).
Actually, when I say that I support the Kansas City Zoo, what I really mean is the Friends of the Kansas City Zoo, which is the organization that has recently taken over the management of the Zoo.
For more information on Friends of the Zoo, the URL is http://www.kansascityzoo.org . For more information about friends of the zoo, the URL is http://www.kansascityzoo.org/zoofriends.htm .
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