Life is hard at times–so never forget to laugh! Which one describes you? Mine is 1, 2, 3, 4, and probably 10…
Here is the New Acceptable Form of child abuse: People are treating children as if they are adults.
(DISCLAIMER: Remember that Throw-It-Out-There Thursday may be considered offensive to some. This week’s post may be offensive to many. Reader caution is advised.)
Last week I said one day I might deal with this subject. Well that day has come. Today’s subject is about what has become to many an acceptable form of child abuse. I am NOT making light of child abuse that happens every day. I’m with Jesus on abusing and misusing children. He said in Matthew 18:6–“But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.“
But there’s a new form of child abuse that has become acceptable, even considered politically correct. No one is going to jail for it. There is little or no outcry against this misuse and abuse of children. And the greatest tragedy is that there are adults who will say I’m wrong and accuse me of ignoring real child abuse. This issue IS real abuse of children. So consider this the voice of a prophet who feels like he’s crying out in a wilderness.
Here is the New Acceptable Form of child abuse: People are treating children as if they are adults. The other day I was getting my daily dose of Andy Andrews In The Loop podcasts and he was addressing this very issue. Many have lost the reality–and I don’t mean the “reality TV” kind of reality, but real, as it actually happens reality—that children are NOT fully equipped adults capable of making the best decisions about their life. Heck (pardon my French), I know a lot of “adults” who are NOT fully capable of making the best decisions about their life. And it seems to me, in my humble opinion, that adults who are NOT fully capable of making the best decisions about their life are encouraging their children and parents of children to allow children to make adult-level decisions.
But a 3 year old, 6 year old, 8 year old, 12 year old, 17 year old–they are not fully capable of making decisions for and about themselves. Yes, as they get older and IF they are given the proper wisdom, they can begin to make some decisions–but still they are NOT fully capable of making the best decisions about their life. How they “feel”, what they want–this is why discipline is so essential and important.
By discipline I don’t mean punishment–I’m talking about teaching children to give up one thing in order to obtain something much better. Discipline equals training. Would you want an untrained military protecting your nation? Would you want untrained doctors operating on you? Would you want an untrained plumber working on your home? Then why in blue blazes are so many refusing or afraid to discipline their children? It’s like saying those children are NOT really important. And that, my friends, is CHILD ABUSE!
Children need to understand that they are not the Final Authority. They do not have the wherewithal to make adult level decisions. Yet this is what’s happening. A few years ago a friend of mine was telling me about something that happened to his daughter, a Kindergarten teacher. One year a “mother”, and I use this term very loosely; maybe I should say “the person who gave birth to this child”–came in and told her that her child was exploring to find themselves. One day her son may come to school as a girl, and the next come as a boy. And this alleged Mom wanted the teacher to treat and call that child according to the way they were dressed on that particular day. Child abuse, I say, Child Abuse!
They are allowing and even encouraging them to live by their “feelings”. I now refer you to a previous post, Is It Safe To Live According To Our Feelings? It is never safe to live solely by our feelings. And you can’t just do that. You could say, “But their heart’s in the right place.” NO IT’S NOT! NO! NO! NO! And yes, I hit the cap lock and bold on purpose! Stop the abuse of NOT ‘training’ / ‘disciplining’ children by treating them as fully functional adults capable of making wise decisions. The truth is, they are not capable. But they can be capable with discipline and giving them wisdom.
Today’s Wednesday Wondering came to me easily. A friend of ours, Savannah, gave birth to a handsome young man, McCoy. However, McCoy was born with a condition called Biliary Artesia (read here if you want to know more about this condition). The only cure is either a miracle or a liver transplant (which IS a miracle, itself). I and literally thousands have been praying for Savannah and McCoy. Speaking only for myself (though I’m sure lots of others have been doing this), I have been doing what Jesus told us to do: Ask, seek, knock.
I’ve kept on ASKING, and I’ve kept SEEKING, and more than knocking, I’ve kept on POUNDING ON THE DOOR for McCoy’s miracle. A liver transplant would require a donor–either someone who died and was a organ donor (and I certainly wasn’t praying for that) or a living donor; someone who would share a part of their liver. And it requires what doctors call tissue match that would fit into McCoy’s DNA.
I am rejoicing this morning to tell you that McCoy’s miracle has happened. Savannah wanted to give a part of her liver to McCoy but couldn’t be a living donor because she had a Cesarean Section. As I understand it, people who have had a surgical procedure within the last year do not qualify as a Living Donor. And that’s not the end of McCoy’s miracle journey. Savannah’s Mom, Stacey, fit the bill perfectly. Yesterday she shared a part of her (in Stacey’s husband’s words) “slightly used but in like new condition” liver.
The picture I shared at the top of this post shows the results. In just hours after the transplant McCoy changed. Savannah changed. Stacey and the whole family changed. Their friends changed. The community of Sulligent changed. All because one person shared a part of themselves to another person, another life!
We’re quick to give some people a piece of our mind; and I know some who really can’t afford to do that because don’t have much of a mind to begin with–and it keeps getting smaller and smaller. And today I invite you to wonder–WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU GAVE A PIECE OF YOURSELF FOR THE SAKE OF ANOTHER? Not a piece of your mind–you can’t spare it and it’s not a match for what that other person needs.
I’m talking about investing and sacrificing your life for the sake of someone who needs more than a piece of your mind. It’s not easy; just ask Stacey. Pain is involved. But is it worth it? I refer you back to the above picture of before and after Stacey shared a part of herself with McCoy. You tell me if it’s worth it. You darn tootin’ it’s worth it!
Footnote: If you would like to be a Living Donor here’s a link with more information. And if you haven’t yet thought about it, think about sharing your organs as a Living Legacy. Click here for more information.
How you think about what you think you know will either ground you for life–or set you on the greatest of all adventures.
I know I’m a little late today. . .OK, a whole lot late. But it’s still Tuesday and I do have some thoughts. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about: What If All You Know Is All You Know? No, I’m not venturing into the dark side of intellectual pursuit, otherwise known as Philosophy. I’m serious about this. This may appear to some as an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum. Hang tight! How you think about what you think you know will either ground you for life–or set you on the greatest of all adventures.
There are two ways of thinking; others may disagree with me but it’s OK for them to be wrong. There is Circular Thinking and there is what I would call Seeking Wisdom Thinking. Educators, psychologists, and most of all philosophers, would tell us there’s more than 2 ways of thinking. They probably could come up with some other ways of thinking but ultimately they are but expressions of one of these patterns.
People who think in Circular Patterns are driven by a set of facts and values that have already been established for them. They take what they see as factual and reliable to think, form opinions and plan their life by what they know. I call it a Circular Pattern because everything they know is inside that circle. If an idea, belief or opinion comes at them outside that circle, it’s immediately rejected. For Circular Pattern Thinkers are going in circles with their lives and wonder why they are’t getting anywhere.
They limit themselves to a limited source of knowledge. All they know is all they know; and they never look beyond themselves. Thus, their life and dreams are limited. The problem with Circular Patterns is that there is not enough information–nor will there ever be enough information to make anyone more than just ORDINARY.
The other pattern is the Seeking Wisdom Pattern. People here are not confined to set sources of knowledge. These are the No-Limit kind of thinkers. No, they are not those who “think outside the box”. We have tons of people outside the box who are outside the box, but still ordinary. Wisdom Seekers will never be content with average. No, they want to soar and excel in life. They know that Wisdom comes from beyond what someone knows. Wisdom that lasts and causes us to soar in life has one source–and that is God.
Here’s the thing about Wisdom. It is not limited to what we think. Truth is, it often contradicts what we think. Sometimes it does not make logical sense and contradicts the world view. And it’s this world view that has caused much of the mess we are in. Knowledge is found in books and people’s stories and comes from a very limited perspective. Wisdom only comes out of Eternity, out of the heart and mind of God.
Remember what James wrote in James 1:5–“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” Average comes out of knowledge. But greatness–that, my friends, only comes out of Wisdom.
And here’s my conclusion–If All You Know Is What You Know, You Don’t Know Enough–And You’re Operating Without Wisdom.
One more word about Wisdom–this one from this guy named Solomon:
6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.Proverbs 4:6-7
Love her, and she will guard you.
7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
Last Tuesday I was on my way to the hospital in Tupelo, Mississippi to see a parishioner and a very good friend who has Stage 4 cancer. I’ve been praying for his healing and it seemed like God wasn’t listening, or at least doing what I thought He should do. It’s about an hour and a half drive from home, so I had some time to do something other than thinking, about my friend and my soon to be 94 year old Dad. He had been having a difficult week. I needed a distraction–not from my driving–but from my thoughts.
I decided to listen to some podcasts from one of my mentors (who doesn’t know me)–Andy Andrews. I find him insightful and humorous. God knows I needed a laugh, and I hoped Andy wouldn’t disappoint me. He didn’t. But about 15 minutes into my hour and a half drive, the podcast was interrupted by a text. So I did the safe thing and found a place to pull over and check out the text. And here is what I saw:
I started to reply with one word: Thanks. But that would have been deceptive by me. So I told my friend, Matthew Winters, exactly what I was struggling with. By the way, Matthew has started blogging again with a new direction. You can check him out HERE! Commercial over, back to Monday’s Musing.
At the moment I needed help, God sent me help. But it took someone else to bring me that help. In this case, it was Matthew. And this morning I’m thinking about a particular passage, Philippians 2:4 (NLT)
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
That afternoon God spoke and Matthew was listening–and God’s grace once again renewed my heart and mind. Matthew took an interest in me; his heart was directed to me; and Matthew was obedient to God. And here’s the point I want to make, and it’s in the form of a question:
God is wanting to help someone who is in a struggle–and He’s chosen you to send His help. ARE YOU LISTENING?
Only by having a deep walk with Jesus and The Holy Spirit can you be in a place where you can hear God speaking. Like a 911 Operator, God is saying, “Help is on the way!” Make sure you’re “on call” to receive His Dispatch.
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!
Matthew is a great friend and inspiration to me. We’ve never met face to face, but we have talked on the phone, and from time to time…a timely text. I encourage all my followers to follow Matthew.
This is not my first rodeo with blogging. For over four years, I wrote a blog that was, in the end, called “Honest Thoughts from a Pastor”. God made it clear in the final months that the blog had to go.
After some time to pray and reboot, you are reading a blog that I pray will encourage those who have been wounded in the fight. We all have scars. We all, like Jacob in his encounter with what is believed to be the pre-incarnate Christ, walk with a limp. Your scars or limp may be from addiction, divorce, or some form of abuse. Whatever it is, there is hope for you.
As I write, I will write about difficulties and scars. But I won’t stop there. God doesn’t want you to stay in your difficulties. He wants you to triumph. He wants you to use those difficulties to help…
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(Today’s story happened in 2004, but it will always be a part of the unfolding story of who I am and who I am becoming)
Would It Be OK?
When Debbie and I started dating, it wasn’t long before I met her granddaughter, Rileigh Breeze. I quickly became known by her as “that ‘nother Randy.” I was known as “that ‘nother Randy” because they had a long time family friend also named Randy. So, when Rileigh Breeze talked about “Randy”, she needed a way to clarify which “Randy” she was talking about. Now to her, it just made sense to call me “that ‘nother Randy” since the first “Randy” had been a part of her life for longer than I had been. One day she was telling her “Auntie” something Randy had said. But she quickly added, “Not Randy Randy, but Grammaw’s Randy. You know, that ‘nother Randy.”
It wasn’t long before I was known in Debbie’s family as “that ‘nother Randy.” And I was OK with that designation. It certainly eased the confusion as to which Randy was being discussed. It made for clarity in communication, and besides, it was a cute and humorous way that Rileigh Breeze had made this distinction between the two Randy’s. Without something to make us distinctive, it would be confusing to know which one was which. (If you think it would be confusing to have two family friends named Randy, how about 3 different people not only sharing the same first name, but also the same last name. Yes, there are at least 3 different people named, you guessed it: Randy Burbank; and yes, we are all cousins. And please, no comments about the “Bob Newhart” show: This is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl.)
Debbie and I had been dating almost a year when I asked her to become my wife and partner in God’s ministry. Not long after we announced to her family that we would be married, Rileigh Breeze was talking with her Grammaw about what this meant and the changes that would occur; the biggest of which would be that Grammaw would move across the state, 2 hours away. As best we can remember, during the conversation, she asked, “Grammaw, would it be OK if I called him Grampaw instead of that `nother Randy?” And the first time she called out, “Hey, Grampaw” I knew something special had happened.
Of course, she melted my heart, but something else happened. Our relationship changed from one of friends, to that of family. Even though there is not a genealogical connection, even though there is no shared DNA between Breeze and myself, she is and will always be one of my granddaughters, and I will always be her Grampaw. The cultural designation would be she is a step-granddaughter, but not in my heart. Debbie and I do not have step-grandchildren, only grandchildren. It was amazing to me the first time I heard Rileigh Breeze call me “Grampaw”. Our relationship changed and took on a lot more depth; and it all happened when she called me by the name: Grampaw.
Moral Of The Story
When God calls us by name, there is, without a doubt, a sound of love in the way He does it. I knew there was a deepening of love between Breeze and myself, but it didn’t hit me until she called me by the name, “Grammpaw”! God is constantly calling to us by name, and I want to encourage you not to be too busy so as to miss that moment. Every time God calls you by name is a sacred and powerful moment that offers to change our relationship with Him with ourselves, and with others.
And why does God call us by name? Because He has said: “For I have ransomed you.” Ransom is an interesting word in the Hebrew language. It means: “to act as a kinsman (family member).” God wants us to know we can experience a family relationship with Him. When I married Breeze’s Grammaw, I was no longer a friend, I was a family member and she acknowledged that with my new name. God wants us to know that we are kin, we are family.
(If this is your first visit to my blog, or just in case you have been here before and forgotten, Throw It Out There Thursday is a look at cultural and social issues and thoughts. Nothing is sacrosanct and it may be offensive to some. And today is no exception)
Once I saw a picture that said: “One day Twitter, Facebook and YouTube will merge into one and it will be called YOU TWIT FACE!” And a recent post on Twitter made me wonder it that isn’t about to happen. Here, let me show you the screenshot (the name has been redacted to protect the guilty party:
This is wrong on so many levels; where do I begin? Let’s start with what’s missing. Do the parents of this 5 year old know what Auntie is teaching their child? Worse yet, are they OK with it? Now let’s look at the obvious. Who appointed Auntie to instill and ingrain values into this 5 year old? What’s the “age-appropriate way” to talk with a 5 year old about abortion? And look at this line again:
Excuse me, that sounds like a threat to me. “You better behave yourself or Auntie, Mommy and Daddy will abort you.” It also sounds like Auntie is teaching this 5 year old that this life is all about what you want, or in the case of an abortion, what you don’t want. OK, one more screenshot:
OK Auntie Snowflake, that’s it! Enough is enough. Let me set the record straight for you Auntie Snowflake. She doesn’t get it! For heaven’s sake, she’s 5 years old and lacks the cognizant abilities required to process anything in a mature and adult-like manner. (Maybe next week I’ll have something to say about how treating young children as if they are adults is a form of child abuse).
And Auntie Snowflake, It’s NOT quite simple! In cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger–an abortion may be the appropriate action. Yet even in these cases, it’s not simple. It’s complicated to reach the decision to end another human life. Auntie Snowflake, it IS a human life and your conclusion that it isn’t or that it has the potential to be quite a handful or that someone doesn’t want to be a parent is…well since you like simple, I’ll put it in simple terms: WRONG! You do not have the “right” to make a complicated decision a simple decision.
At the risk of sounding like a late-night Infomercial Star–But wait! There’s more! I followed the link Auntie Snowflake shared, and here is just a portion of that link: (click here for the entire story)
Really? It’s easier than you think? Wow! Snowflakes everywhere! I’m not saying there should be NO conversations about abortion with our kids; but those conversations need to be open and honest–not just one view. And we don’t need to treat kids as adults–sometimes less is more when it comes to kids. You can tell them that it’s a complicated issue that is hard for them to understand at this time in their life, but when they get a little older, you can talk more. Or, you can wait until they ask the question. Even better, pray for wisdom on WHEN the moment is appropriate. But I question if the conversation below was really beneficial and productive:
OK, Amiya, 2 questions for you to answer. First, why did you immediately know abortion was what you needed to do? Second, why were you so emotional in the days leading up to your abortion if abortion was what you needed to do? Obviously you aren’t related to Auntie Snowflake who says it’s quite simple. Amiya, my concern is the value system you are teaching your 12 year old daughter to embrace. If it’s inconvenient or doesn’t fit your Life Plan, then end another human life. Just remember, Amiya, that one day you will be old and will be a handful yourself and an inconvenience to your daughter. What have you taught her about what to do? Well, post-partum abortion is the solution. Let’s just end your life. And according to Auntie Snowflake, It’s just that simple!
Because we believe our feelings are true about ourselves, we allow those feelings to give us our Identity–to define who we believe we really are.
“Feelings, nothing more than feelings, trying to forget my feelings of love.” If you listened to music in 1974, you know this song. Is it stuck in your head now? Then tell yourself, “Self, I am not going to be singing that song to myself for rest of the day!” Good luck with that! This Wednesday I am wondering about feelings–no not the song; rather the feelings that come from within us.
Can we live a full, productive, even successful life based on our feelings? We hear a lot in our culture about “feelings”. In our culture, feelings seem to be the landmark of defining one’s identity. We also hear a lot about emotions. In my own way I want to address this and specifically how that feelings and emotions are not one in the same. I want you to be able to distinguish the difference between a feeling and an emotion.
The are NOT the same. I realize that some of you may disagree with me, and say I’m wrong. It’s OK for you to disagree with me and tell me I need to change this thought of mine. I could agree with you that I’m wrong on this–but then we’d both be wrong. Anyway. . .here’s the difference between a feeling and an emotion.
A feeling is something we believe to be true. . .about ourselves. . .or another person/group. . .or a situation we have faced, are facing, or may face. Feelings are just that–something that we believe to be true about ourselves, another person, or a particular situation. I’m not talking about what IS ACTUALLY TRUE, but what WE BELIEVE is true.
Now, let’s get to that other word: Emotions! Emotions are our response to those feelings; whether they are our feelings about ourselves, another person, or that particular situation. Emotions are the way we express the response to our feelings. If you have no feelings, you have no emotions. If you have no emotions, you have no feelings.
Now, feelings and emotions were created by God for us as human beings. Feelings and emotions are both gifts from God that reflect a part of HIS Image that HE placed in each person. We cannot deny them. We cannot ignore them. And we cannot downplay the role they have in us successfully becoming a whole person. We need both feelings and emotions if we are going to become the best possible self that God created for us to be.
However. . .well, let me use a “preacher” term here: BUT! Yeah, yeah, the preacher’s but. Just when you think you’ve got something good going on, that blessed preacher inserts his or her BUT! Don’t you just love a preacher’s but! I want to center in on “feelings” But feelings do not give us our true identity as a person created in the image of God. Feelings are simply what we believe to be true about ourselves. Because we believe our feelings are true about ourselves, we allow those feelings to give us our Identity–to define who we believe we really are.
Now God gave us the capacity to have feelings. He gave us the ability to have emotions. These are just a part of God’s identity–but they do not give God HIS Identity. They are a wonderful part of that unique blend of so many parts. Just like you can’t have a cake with just eggs, or just flour, or just sugar or just milk. You got to have all those other ingredients–and don’t forget all those extra “flavorings” you can add that changes everything about a cake.
Feelings are not the whole of a simple organism; feelings are a part of a very complex organism–just a part, but an essential part. We are living in a time when people are being told they MUST live and IDENTIFY who they are as a person based only upon one part of this complex organism. Feelings are allowed to become the dictator, and our emotions follow the lead of that dictator.
God never designed us to live by our feelings. And He never intended that we allow our feelings to define us and give us our true identity. Living only by feelings creates a false self–never your true self. Yes, He gave us feelings, but they are only a part of the process if you would, to help us become who HE created us to become–Our WHOLE, TRUE SELF. The Best Self Possible.
Remember that “feelings” are something we believe to be true; not necessarily true–but we believe they are true. Just because we believe it is true, doesn’t make it true. I am so sorry Calvinists. I am so sorry progressive thinkers and theologians. I am so sorry fellow evangelical sisters and brothers! We are NOT who we are based solely on our feelings. We human beings can’t define what is really TRUE! That ability is way beyond our pay grade.
When we try to live out of our feelings it creates instability. Feelings can and will vary in a day–just like weather varies every day in Alabama. In the early mornings I get my jacket. By mid morning I hang it back up. By mid-day I’m putting on a short sleeve shirt. And my afternoon, I’m looking for my shorts and sandals. Feelings change.
God never designed feelings to be our sole or primary identification in life. And we need to be careful with our feelings. I’m sure you’ve had feelings in retrospect you knew were wrong. You didn’t know it as the time–but hindsight is always 20-20. And if you are honest, you know that those feelings (feelings you believed were true at the moment) caused damage and inflicted hurt–either on another person, on yourself, or both. And I bet right now you are remembering the damage your feelings that you believed were right at that moment caused. And that damage may still be present–the wounds haven’t yet healed. And you are aware of the damage that resulted when your feelings were wrong.
When feelings becomes the determining factor–the damage caused by feelings and the subsequent emotions runs deep; and it keeps us from our True Self, the one created in the Image of God.