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I just read these words in an article by Audrey Barrick in today’s edition of The Christian Post (christianpost.com).  They sickened me, and they may quite well do the same to you.  But I urge you to read on anyway, because it’s high time that more of us got sick of what is going on in this country.

“Our taxpayer money shouldn’t support religious indoctrination of anyone – particularly children. And no one should be subject to proselytizing because they need foster care, adoption, child care or HIV services,” she added [NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman]. “This settlement ensures that religious organizations may not preach to people who receive government-funded social services or discriminate against them based on their religious beliefs.”

The Salvation Army on Thursday declined to comment.

What is there to say?!  The Salvation Army is not being allowed to tell people what it was created to tell them.  This quote is from an article about a recent settlement in a longstanding lawsuit between the Salvation Army and the New York Civil Liberties Union.  Because people who desperately need to hear about the love of Christ come to an organization that wants to share the love of Christ – because the government has it’s nose stuck in the middle of it all – these needy people cannot truly be helped.  Who else in the whole of the United States of America needs to know that God loves them and sent His own Son to bear their sins for them but these very ones who are caught up in the foster care system or who are infected with HIV?  The government cannot offer the help that they truly need.  All followers of Christ should agree that only God can give true soul-saving, sin-washing, all-forgiving help that we ourselves have been given.  We believers know, just like King David knew, where true help comes from.

And where is the church while all this is going on? Sitting politely with their hands folded in their laps whispering to one another, “Oh, isn’t that a shame?  Someone should really do something about that.”   Where is the OUTRAGE?!!!!  A couple of thoughts come to my mind. The first is this – Who gave the government the right to tell Christians what we can and cannot say?  Some would say that as long as someone accepts money from the government, the government does have authority over him.  So my next thought is this – why are Christian organizations accepting money from the government?  Are Christians broke?  The church should support itself and its work bountifully.  If it is unable to do that, something is very, very wrong!  When people need help, the church should be the obvious place for them to go.  The church should prudently give to all who have need.  At least, that’s what I believe God is saying to us in His Holy Word.  The Bible instructs us to take care of the widows and orphans.  It also says that we will be known by our love.  We have been given a very special gift that we are to share with others – not keep to ourselves, not to sit quietly as the government takes away the very rights our forefathers founded this county for us to have.

It’s time for the church to get back in the giving and sharing business and for the government to get out of the church’s business.

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At what point in American history did spending time with family become a bad thing?  In today’s society, it is the accepted norm for kids, especially teenagers, to not want to spend time with their parents or siblings.  In tv families, parents are portrayed as stupid and clueless.  They have their own interests, activities, and groups of friends that are totally separate from their children’s.  It seems that parents have no idea what their kids are doing, who their friends are, what they’re learning about in school.  As long as grades are okay and there seem to be no major problems parents pretty much stay out of their children’s lives.

Kids are viewed as somehow wiser than their parents and more knowledgeable in just about every area.  Kids turn to parents only in desperate situations when they can’t fix a problem by themselves or with the help of a few of their friends. At what point between the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Hannah Montana did kids become smarter than parents?

When did family time become a bad thing?  It seems to me that all time used to be family time because kids learned from parents, worked with parents, ate with parents.   And siblings were playmates.  Families celebrated together, mourned together, and supported one another.  Was there one event in history that caused family life to change?

How about the creation and rise of public schooling?  Public schools took children away from their parents for hours during the day.  They were put together with other children, forming peer groups.  Parents gave up much of their responsibility to teach and discipline their own children, leaving that to public school teachers.

What about mothers working outside the home?    Kids began coming home from school to an empty house.  Parents gave up even more control and responsibility to schools and to television.  Because parents didn’t have enough time at home with their children, morality and character had to be taught at school.  Kids coming home and turning on the television in the afternoon meant that television had to also take some responsibility in child training.  All kinds of afterschool programs began to pop up to help parents with child rearing.  In these programs, kids began spending even more time with peers.  In fact, kids were spending most of their time with other kids their same age.  Is this when kids got together and decided that they were smarter than parents?  And because parents weren’t around the kids that much, did the parents not even notice what was going on?

What do you think statistics would show if we examined families with stay-at-home moms or  families that homeschool?  My guess is that we would find less divorce, less adultery, stronger families.  I also suspect that there would be less alcohol and drug abuse, less tobacco use, and less delinquency in the children.

Getting families to transform from the Ingalls family to today’s tv families was a slow process.  Getting families back to where they should be will be a slow process as well.  It will take a lot of work, a lot of prayer, and a really big God.  Christian families will need to lead the pilgrimage.  That means Christian families might need to rethink their priorities, their lifestyles, their ideals.  Since we do have a very big God, a very big responsibility sits on the shoulders of those who proclaim Him Lord of all.

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As a mother of 4 and having been a teacher of children for many years, I have learned a valuable lesson.  Unfortunately, it’s a lesson that I have been forced to learn over and over again throughout the years.  I suppose I had hoped that something would change; alas, to no avail.  I can only hope that by sharing what I’ve learned that I can save someone else from the frustration and sorrow (not to mention the bruises that come from banging one’s head on a wall too long) that I have endured.  The lesson is this:  You cannot make someone care about something he or she doesn’t care about. 

I had assumed that all people had a basic desire to wear clean clothes in public.  Wrong.  I have always examined myself in the mirror before leaving the house to make sure that everything is presentable and as it should be.  But everyone evidently does not follow that practice.  If I find a spill or stain on my clothing, it has to be dealt with.  Not so for all people.  Usually I am getting myself ready to leave the house right up until it is time to get in the car.  Not so for my children (not all of them, just a select couple – I don’t want to name names).  I can call out a 15-minute warning to my flock and no one seems to hear me.  I call out a 10-minute warning and still nothing happens.  At the 2-minute warning, folks head upstairs to get dressed in whatever they happen to find in the floor on top of their pile of clothes.  It can quite possibly be the same outfit that they’ve worn for the past 3 days.  Never mind hair brushing – that’s reserved for special occasions.  I may ask something like this, “Do you know that that outfit is dirty?”  Or I may say something like, “That looks like it’s been lying crumpled in the floor for a while.”  My offspring’s look says it all, “DUH!” 

You see, the point isn’t that they don’t realize their clothes are dirty and crumpled.  It’s just that they don’t care.  It may bother me to be seen in public with them dressed that way, but it doesn’t bother them in the least to be seen dressed that way.  Discussions about how they present themselves affects the way other people judge our family do very little.  When I hear the words “I don’t care,” I just need to simply step back and remember that I can’t make someone-who-doesn’t-care care.  However, inevitably, I foolishly believe that I might be able to get through to them this time.  They might actually listen to what I’m saying.

Sometimes my kids will tease me and make me think that they’ve turned over a new leaf.  Upon hearing me say that their clothes are dirty, they may actually acknowledge that fact and immediately go upstairs to change.  Ah, but no.  They will return with a fresh shirt on paired with the dirty pants from the first outfit.  Or the original dirty shirt paired with clean pants.  I may point out the fact that they needed to change both items of clothing, but then I get hit with, “It doesn’t matter” (which is basically the same as I don’t care).

I also am shocked at the state of their bedrooms when they ask to invite a friend over.  I would never invite company over to a filthy house with stuff hanging from the ceiling fan and stuff covering every square inch of floor (not to mention the state of their bathrooms – I’m too afraid to even look in those).  When I answer a request to have a guest with something like, “Your bedroom is nasty,” I am inevitably met with a blank stare.  It’s as if I’m speaking to my child in some ancient lost language.  To me, it’s like saying 2+2=4.   When my children tell me that their friends don’t care what their rooms look like, I am certain that that cannot possibly be true.  There is not even a clear path to walk on.  Then comes the dreaded comment, “So what” (which is just a fancy way of saying I don’t care).

The bottom line is this:  You can’t make someone-who-doesn’t-care care.  Just because something is important to me doesn’t mean that it’s the same for everybody else.  Just because I like to be clean when I leave the house doesn’t mean everyone feels the same way.  And just because I like to have a tidy home doesn’t mean everyone else does.  And just because I like to treat others in a respectful manner doesn’t mean everyone does.  And just because I believe that telling the truth is important doesn’t mean everyone does.  And just because I think everyone should have integrity doesn’t mean everyone would agree with me.  And just because I think people shouldn’t throw stuff out of their car windows doesn’t mean that everyone else thinks that.  So you see, you just can’t make someone-who-doesn’t-care care about something they don’t care about.

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