North Carolina Newspapers

    Page 4A
Opinions
THE KINGS MOUNTAIN HERALD
February 6, 1997
REFLECTIONS
on Religion and Life
Rev. Dick Newsome
Pastor
First Presbyterian Church
God is not a genie
The scene from a recent film is a familiar one. A
man who has not used his time wisely finds him-
self late for a departing flight. Pulling to a stop
light near the airport, he can see the airplane at
the terminal. The jets are running on high. The
doors are closed. It is ready to leave. He contem-
plates running the red light when a patrol car
pulls to the intersection to his right. With little
else to do and with desperation written on his
face, he looks skyward and pleads, "Dear God, if
you will hold the flight for me I will never misuse
my time again."
The scene is a familiar one because at some
point or another, each of us has spoken similar
words. With desperation on our faces, "Dear God,
if.
"If you will only help me with this test, I will
never fail to prepare again."
"If you will only move her to forgive me, I will
never forsake her again."
"If you will only give me this now, I will never
ask again."
The instinct is a natural one. But it remains a
dangerous instinct as well.
More and more, our society is coming to a view
of God which is no doubt "imbalanced." And I
use that term carefully because a "balanced" view
of God is available for us in Scripture. On the one
hand, we discover the image of a God who is
near to us, present, inviting and providing. Our
God certainly cares for us and wants us to be ful-
filled. With that image, we seem to have no prob-
lem. Alongside that image, however, is a different
view, a contrasting view. Alongside the image of
an everpresent God is that of an all-holy God, the
God whose greatness and majesty are beyond our
ability to comprehend. He is a God who is
sovereign and universal. He does not wait quietly
above us, hungry to fulfill our every instinctual
command. Rather, He is the God continually at
work in the world in order to fashion it by his de-
sires. And for that we may be thankful.
An apt analogy was offered by an Episcopal
minister from Georgia recently upon seeing the
Walt Disney film Alladin. What we want very of-
ten, she claims, is a God who mirrors Alladin's
blue genie, a God whose sole purpose it is to offer
us wishes, to grant our deepest or most superfi-
cial designs, an easy, comfortable, retiring God.
We seek a God who will be present upon'com-
mand but who will recede without objection into
his quarters when we are finished.
Ouch! But surely in her words are truth.
Even in the midst of a consumer culture which
insists that we can have it our way always, peo-
ple of faith know differently. And what a blessing
that is! Because only the God who is above us, be-
yond us, more wise that we and whose concerns
are greater than our own can truly save us. Only
a God who is both Provider and Judge, Ruler of
our lives and Ruler of all lives, can redeem. Only
such a God can truly set us free.
HERALD LETTER POLICY
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author.
The Herald reserves the right to edit letters for
spelling, good taste, libelous or slanderous state-
ments or any other reason; and the Herald re-
serves the right to reject letters for any reason.
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Salaries will be a top priority
It is the time of the year when work begins in
earnest on our local budget request to the
Cleveland County Board of Commissioners. We
are currently reviewing information submitted to
us by the Board of Education, our schools, and
our various departments to develop a proposal
for the Board to review at its March meeting. In
today's column I want to review with you what
will be a major budget issue for us this year.
For some time our board has been looking for a
manageable way to improve the salaries of our
classified employees. You hear a great deal about
efforts to improve teacher salaries, and teachers
are certainly deserving of those efforts. However,
you seldom hear much about the salaries of our
teacher assistants, custodians, office support per-
sonnel, and food service workers. These people
do a wonderful job for us, and their salaries are,
to be honest, quite low.
Our board of education is exploring ways to
recognize years of service to the system through
the classified salary schedule. One of the most of-
ten heard salary concerns from these people is
that their salaries do not progress reasonably as
years of experienge itfthe systerrt are batlti Fhe orue
Board and I think they have a legitimate concern.
The work these people do has always been im-
portant, however today's job demands are even
more extensive than in previous times. As an ex-
ample, we are asking our teacher assistants to be
more involved in the actual instruction of our
children. Our office personnel are required to be-
come proficient in computers and the software
which runs on them. Our custodians have a
greater challenge as the size of our student body
and campuses grow, and our food service person-
nel now operate breakfast programs in addition
to our lunch programs. Clearly, the classified em-
ployees are faced with greater challenges than in
the past.
We are currently awaiting the results of a classi-
fied employee salary study being conducted for
the system by Causby/Boyd Associates. This
study will review job descriptions to be certain
that salary grade assignments are appropriate
and will give us some direction for going about
salary improvement for these employees. The re-
sults are due back in the next several weeks.
Regardless of the findings of the study, we al-
ready know that some substantial resources will
be needed to implement a salary schedule such as
the Board prefers, one which allows a classified
employee to move from the bottom of his or her
BOB McRAE
Superintendent
Kings Mountain Schools
pay grade when initial employment begins to the
top of the grade if the employee stays with us for
25 to 30 years.
If we were to implement the scales fully, we
would have to identify resources from a variety
of places. Certainly, one request for additional
funds this year from the county commissioners
could be for helping us realize this goal. Other
potential sources of funding would involve a re-
positioning of the current classified employee
supplement funds, an increase in the supplemen-
tal school tax (one penny would provide approx-
imately 50%,0f the funding needed ta fully fund
the scales) or an increase in lunch prices to cover
the portion of the plan which involves school
food service employees. Other sources may de-
velop.
While no one likes to think about paying extra
in property taxes, there may be no way to place
these employees on an experience based scale
which covers the range of their salary grades
which does not involve that possibility.
As the Board discusses its interest in better pay
for these deserving employees, I would ask each
community member to keep an open mind about
the possibilities. Remember two facts. (1) These
employees have yearly salaries which do not cor-
respond to their responsibilities, especially after
several years of service; and (2) our board of edu-
cation will not ask the Board of Commissioners
for a raise in the supplemental tax unless, and
perhaps not then, it has explored all other sources
of revenue and come up short of the needed level
of funding. It has always been very cautious with
such a decision, and I'm certain it will continue to
be so.
We're fortunate to have the quality of classified
employees that we do. It's past time to go about
more fairly compensating them. We're not talking
extravagance here - only improvement to a rea-
sonable salary for important jobs.
Sidewalk Survey
Gary
Stewart
Editor
It's show time
Dancing comes naturally for sisters Brandy and
Roxanne Brown of Kings Mountain, and they
know they're good at it.
But neither thought their self-taught art would
carry them to the Apollo in New York City.
But Saturday afternoon, Brandy, 16, and
Roxanne, 15, will compete against dancers,
singers and other talented youngsters from all
over the country for an opportunity to appear on
the nationally-televised program, "Showtime at
the Apollo."
The Kings Mountain High students began
dancing about nine years ago in local school tal-
ent shows. They have won contests locally and on
the state level at such places as North Carolina
A&T University, Fayetteville State University, and
The Comedy Zone and Ovens Auditorium in
Charlotte.
But this will be their first time in the Big Apple.
"We're excited," says Brandy. "It's like a dream
come true. I always watch (Showtime at the
Apollo) on T.V., and wished I could go there, but I
never thought I'd be going."
The Browns have Johnny McClain of Charlotte,
a consultant with Top Hat Talent, to thank for the
opportunity. He heard about the girls' talent from
a mutual friend and got the approval of their
mother, Tanya Brown, to make a demo tape and
send it to The Apollo.
“That was the first step, and Saturday's compe-
tition will be the second stage, and if they're se-
lected Saturday they will appear on Showtime at
The Apollo," McClain said. "After that, who
knows."
Dancing comes easy for the sisters, who have
had no formal training. Roxanne does take tap
and jazz lessons from a local dance studio, but
their competition routines together are what they
term "hip-hop" dancing. Saturday, they'll do a
routine from Luke (Scarred).
"We dance all the time," says Brandy. "I can be
at school and music comes on, and I'll be out
there dancing."
"We picked it up on our own," says Roxanne,
whose father is former NFL football star Kevin
Mack. Brandy's father is deceased.
She hopes the sisters will someday be profes-
sional dancers. ; Ry
"The key is to keep practicing and stay fo-
cused," she said. "If we win Saturday at the
Apollo, that's a big step right there."
The sisters will have just one opportunity
Saturday, and McClain is confident they'll make
the best of it.
“I'm most confident that they are going to do
well and then go on to higher things," he said.
Even though their Kings Mountain friends
won't be able to see them perform Saturday, those
who are familiar with their talent from attending
local talent shows may someday sce them....in the
Big Time.
BRANDY BROWN ROXANNE BROWN
* By Lib Stewart
Does KM need a new police station?
DOUGLAS HOUSER
Printer i
MIKE BLALOCK
“Yes. Because the old
police station is worn out.”
build a new one.”
Shipping specialist
“Look at the cost. If it
costs more to refurbish,
BILL SWINDELL
Sales Representative
“A new police department
is needed and a good spot
would be near the present
city hall with all city
services.”
MARGARET RANSOM
Customer Service
“ For customer and
employee convenience, the
police department should
be located at City Hall along
with other city services.”
TIM STEWART
Welder
“Yes. A more modern
facility is needed for the
Kings Mountain Police
Department.”
    

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