Chaldeans & Assyrians

“Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, an estimated 1.4 million Chaldeans and Assyrians inhabited Iraq. In the decade that followed, hundreds of thousands of these Iraqi Christians either sought permanent refuge abroad or were internally displaced. During this turmoil, more than 60 churches were bombed, a Chaldean Catholic Archbishop was kidnapped and murdered, and an Iraqi Christian population of 1.4 million dwindled to fewer than 500,000—a result of the insurgency, subsequent unrest, and radically anti-Christian sentiment that ensued.” John Paul Kuriakuz

Iraq’s Chaldeans Still Exist—for Now

Christians who still speak the language of Jesus are targets of a genocide in the making.

John Paul Kuriakuz, The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2014, p. A 13

Displaced Christians, who fled violence in Mosul, wait before receiving medicines during a distribution organized by the city’s Health Department at Mar Afram Church of Chaldean Catholics on August 24, 2014 in the southern port city of Basra. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

When I attended Stanford in the 1990s, explaining my ethnic background to fellow students was a challenge. I am Chaldean. Or as my more scripted response became: “We are ethnic Assyrians from northern Iraq who belong to the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church.”

I would explain how Chaldeans are members of the Eastern Catholic Church, while Assyrians are members of the Assyrian Church of the East, independent of the Roman Catholic Church. Both, however, share a common ethnic heritage distinct and apart from their Arab neighbors in Iraq. We speak a colloquial form of Aramaic, the same language spoken in the Mideast at the time of Christ.

Having heard of ancient Assyrian civilization at some point, many responded with: “They still exist?” Feeling a bit like a museum artifact, my answer at the time was a simple: “Yeah, we exist.” Today, as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham continues its rampage through northern Syria and Iraq, I would add: “for now.” Continue reading

Chaldeans & Assyrians

“Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, an estimated 1.4 million Chaldeans and Assyrians inhabited Iraq. In the decade that followed, hundreds of thousands of these Iraqi Christians either sought permanent refuge abroad or were internally displaced. During this turmoil, more than 60 churches were bombed, a Chaldean Catholic Archbishop was kidnapped and murdered, and an Iraqi Christian population of 1.4 million dwindled to fewer than 500,000—a result of the insurgency, subsequent unrest, and radically anti-Christian sentiment that ensued.” John Paul Kuriakuz

Iraq’s Chaldeans Still Exist—for Now

Christians who still speak the language of Jesus are targets of a genocide in the making.

John Paul Kuriakuz, The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2014, p. A 13

Displaced Christians, who fled violence in Mosul, wait before receiving medicines during a distribution organized by the city’s Health Department at Mar Afram Church of Chaldean Catholics on August 24, 2014 in the southern port city of Basra. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

When I attended Stanford in the 1990s, explaining my ethnic background to fellow students was a challenge. I am Chaldean. Or as my more scripted response became: “We are ethnic Assyrians from northern Iraq who belong to the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church.”

I would explain how Chaldeans are members of the Eastern Catholic Church, while Assyrians are members of the Assyrian Church of the East, independent of the Roman Catholic Church. Both, however, share a common ethnic heritage distinct and apart from their Arab neighbors in Iraq. We speak a colloquial form of Aramaic, the same language spoken in the Mideast at the time of Christ.

Having heard of ancient Assyrian civilization at some point, many responded with: “They still exist?” Feeling a bit like a museum artifact, my answer at the time was a simple: “Yeah, we exist.” Today, as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham continues its rampage through northern Syria and Iraq, I would add: “for now.” Continue reading

Homeschool & College

“A family from Alabama is inspiring the nation with its amazing homeschool success story.” The New American

Homeschool Family Sends Seven Kids to College

The New American, July 7, 2014, p. 7

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A family from Alabama is inspiring the nation with its amazing homeschool success story. In fact, Kip and Mona Lisa Harding, from Montgomery, have been so successful in educating their 10 children at home that seven have gone on to college — by the age of 12!

It all began when the Harding’s oldest child, Hannah, was in third grade, enrolled in public school. A friend suggested that the couple try homeschooling their daughter, something they conceded wasn’t even on their radar. But they ended up giving it a try and soon decided that they could do a better job educating their children than the local school district could. Recalling Hannah’s early public-school experience, Kip noted that “there was a lot of homework in the evenings, and we just decided to pull her out. It was a scary time at first, but we started and it was working out great and we just never looked back.”

Mona Lisa Harding told NBC’s Today show that at first she and Kip didn’t have a firm plan. “It just kind of happened. We started homeschooling, and it was very efficient. Kids have to be educated, and as they accelerated, we had to find another option because they outdid me very young.”

Out of the gate Mona Lisa had ordered a slew of workbooks by subject and grade level, “but that got a little tedious and a little boring,” she told KSL.com. “We started to get away from boxed curriculum and went into just reading for pleasure and reading what the kids wanted to read.”

Before long the Hardings found their children blossoming under the less regimented environment, accelerating in reading, writing, math, and science in a way they never could have in a government school structure. Mona Lisa explained that she and Kip would discover subjects in which each child excelled, and concentrate more time in those areas, allowing their children to hone their skills and knowledge. Continue reading

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