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Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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‘Theological tennis’: The fall and rise of Christian morality

Editor’s note: The following column is a response to the article that ran in last week’s Spiritual Life section, “Back and forth: A stirring game of theological tennis,” by Los Altos resident Mike Bushell.

“If we discovered tomorrow that there were no God, would the world grind to a halt?” asked Mike Bushell, who calls himself an agnostic. “Would you start acting differently? Would society break down into some amoral anarchy?”

According to Bushell, the answer is no. He wrote, “We have the capacity and the responsibility to act morally ... without abrogating that responsibility to a Supreme Being.”

Is he right? After all, the world is changing fast. The widespread rejection of a Bible-based conscience has accelerated that change, and our news media bombard us with evidence of today’s heartless cruelties and amoral lifestyles. In fact, the word “moral” is fast fading from our vocabulary.

Reporter Melanie Phillips describes the social decay in British cities: “What has been fueling all this is not poverty ... but moral collapse. What we have been experiencing is a complete breakdown of civilized behavior. .... It’s a world without any boundaries or rules.”

Especially moral boundaries.

Yet, as centuries come and go, history occasionally reveals sudden, momentous changes that transform cultures in ways that defy logic. One of these leaps began more than 400 years ago. Its transforming power brought light into the dark Middle Ages. It spread hope among people bound by fear, superstition and tyranny.

Historian Randall Roth summarizes what happened. His research showed little variation in the rate of human violence between the 14th and 16th centuries. “Then, in the 17th century, there is a very big, dramatic drop,” he wrote.

Why? How did people suddenly become less violent?

According to James A. Sharpe, historian at the University of York in England, “The great decline in homicide in the 17th century was not accompanied by a rise in property offense prosecutions but rather by their diminution.”

In other words, theft as well as murder plummeted in the 17th century.

People had actually changed their values. They had become more honest as well as peaceable. But again, why?

History teacher Tom Cohen helps solve the puzzle: “The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation put a lot of emphasis on individual conscience. ... The conscience becomes the internal gyroscope. (It builds) personal self-control.”

By God’s grace, people in Northern Europe were suddenly free to print and read the Bible, live by faith and follow their conscience. A century later, the evangelistic zeal that spread God’s truth and love throughout Europe would cross lands and oceans to reach the earth’s most oppressed people.

We still reap the benefits of a world pacified by the spread of Christianity. But it may not last long, for we now face a reversal of the tide that brought truth and hope to a broken world.

We face a new era. Christianity is mocked and the Bible-trained conscience is being replaced by contrary guidelines that twist, scorn or deny God’s truth. Consequently, many now redefine the conscience to match new cultural values.

But the Lord is our strength and refuge!

“Thanks be to God who leads us in His triumph!”

Berit Kjos of Los Altos Hills is a member of Union Presbyterian Church.

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