When I was 9 years old I attended a private school in Pennsylvania, stiff upper-lip teachers, uniforms and all. We read a great deal of books while at school; in addition, we had to list off a number of books that we would read during the year at home. The part I hated most would grow to be the part I appreciate most now: comprehension tests. After each book we had a set of rigorous questions to answer, each pertaining to intricate details found within the book. With the glaring eyes of a teacher staring through you as you stumbled for the answers to the multitude of questions, you quickly learned to actually pay attention when you took to reading your books.
Could my teacher have simply taken us through the areas that answered the questions? Of course. We would have passed the tests with flying colors, received a good grade, and the clouds would have opened up and beamed a heavenly glow around a highly approved teacher. But what good would it do for our actual education, not just the grades on a paper? Nothing. You can teach a child to pass a test, but the result will not be the comprehension of the materials.
Welcome to Common Core.
I could go on a 6 page tangent over the idea that classic literature and personal writing is somehow deemed irrelevant to those that add their approval to such poor standards, but alas, I won’t only focus on this one issue since it is simply one large missing portion of a widely flawed initiative. Ok…For the sake of being honest, I’ll probably focus a lot of this post on said portion. Our society would rather have kids droning on about vampires and Anastasia Steele than topics and stories that challenge the reader to create within their mind a space welcoming of creativity, and that’s the sad fact.
Common Core attempts to prepare kids for the workforce (emphasis on “attempts”), not for college. By high school, common core will place kids years behind the education level in other countries. Can schools do anything about that? They can modify the standards by an additional 15%, but the standards themselves are under a copyright by NGA Center, and the Council of Chief State School Officers; regretfully, they are the only group that has the legal right to change the standards. So if your school says “we modified and only partially adapted” in an attempt to bring levity to the change, realize that they are grossly misleading you, or they have no idea what they’re talking about – both of which should concern you.
Why did states welcome Common Core with open arms, many knowing the issues it would cause? The almighty dollar. Money trumps the future of your child’s education in today’s world, it’s as simple as that. Money and waivers are given to those that welcomed Common Core standards and testing. Period.
Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, had the following to say about Common Core standards when she refused to sign off on the standards:
“As empty skill sets, Common Core’s ELA “college readiness” standards weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework, decrease the capacity for analytical thinking, and completely muddle the development of writing skills.”
She goes on to note that English teachers are being asked to teach on materials that are beyond their skill set. At minimum, 50% of the curriculum must be filled with informational nonfiction material (questionable material at best); reducing literary material to dismal levels, occasionally minor quotes and sections are substituted instead of allowing students to absorb the full material.
Maybe now is when you might question the importance of literature. “What’s the big deal?”… As infuriating as it is to even hear it be questioned, I believe that we should seize the opportunity to explain.
If not for the works of Mary Wollstonecraft, the original feminist movement may not have been born. No, not today’s feminist movement, the feminist movement that would be revolted by today’s feminists and their ultimate goal of objectifying women across the globe.
“…and women, intoxicated by the adoration that men (under the influence of their senses) pay them, don’t try to achieve a permanently important place in men’s feelings, or to become the friends of the fellow creatures who find amusement in their society…
…as blind obedience is ever sought for by power, tyrants and sensualists are in the right when they endeavor to keep women in the dark, because the former only want slaves, and the latter a play-thing.” – Mary Wollstonecraft
Literature is an important key to understanding moral customs and cultural differences. We learn about the beauty of a free society and the struggles highlighted for our minds to analyze. We are forced to contemplate good and evil, acknowledge the differences between our fellow man, and imagine for just a time that we are struggling with the lost. Our emotions are challenged, and our compassion developed. It teaches us the benefits of metaphors, comprehension, and depth of character; every person, every stage, every smell, every scene is custom to the reader. Building it inside of our minds while the story unfolds. They are not just a people spoken about in our history books, the characters become a being that we know and care for; we develop a logical response to both good and bad actions through our connection to the character. You may choose to toss it out with the pile of what you deem to be useless art, but I fear that the societal decline that has accompanied the lack of reading and writing is of no coincidence.
Let’s also not forget that our failing vocabulary could use a substantial lift.
See “bling,” “twerk,” “cuz,” “totes,” “peeps,” “adorbs,” “realz,” “dat,” “haz,” “luv,” “YOLO,” “swag,” “outa,” “dat,” “whatevs,” etc…. I rest my case. Do you realize that many of those words won’t even be corrected by autocorrect? Dat should totes make you weep 4 humanity, Peeps, 4 realz.
Our education system is encouraging/forcing kids to waste much of their time on not using their mind to contemplate morals, use critical thinking or build worlds inside their imagination. If time is the true currency, what our schools are doing is as frivolous as flushing your money down the toilet. In reality, it is more so. Once again Stotsky reiterates:
“Teachers and parents are regularly being told that more technical and persuasive writing will boost students’ critical thinking. But little analytical thinking is apt to appear in letters to the principal about cafeteria food that kids are often encouraged to write in order to practice writing a “persuasive” letter. Reading researchers know there is absolutely no research to support the idea that increased study of “literary non-fiction” or “informational” texts in the English class, or increases in persuasive writing, will increase students’ level of analytical thinking. There is every reason to believe they will, instead, lower the level.”
To read her full statement, click here.
I would be remiss if I also didn’t note that we had already experienced the failures of universal testing with NCLB (No Child Left Behind). Schools in low income neighborhoods became what Common Core wishes for all schools to become: test preparation programs. NCLB disciplined high performing schools and children on its war path to lift poor performers up. This never works. It’s never worked. Why do we keep trying such doomed experimental programs with education AND economics???
So then we take billionaires and politically motivated organizations and give them the reins to dismantle a democratic institution that has done more to bring equality than any other democratic institution in the USA? We provided opportunity to those who made the choice to seek it out, now we are punishing those who strive for success. Since NCLB & Common Core, there has been an increase in charter schools; meanwhile, thousands of public schools have been forced to close. Public schools that while in poor neighborhoods were the bridge that offered hope and freedom to children that, despite their circumstances, created within themselves the ability to survive & accomplish. Years later we now have increased child poverty, and the continual widening of achievement gaps due to standards that were backed by both sides of the aisle.
Well done, Ol’ Chaps!
Back to Common Core – Not only will children suffer in their reading and writing, but in a world where comprehension is not a priority, math and various other studies will take a detrimental blow. We are already seeing arithmetic problems in grade school students turned into 100+ steps of wasted time. It is making children feel like failures, when in reality, their minds should be built to solve the problem in the most logical way. Horrifyingly, these practices have never even been tested! They’ve turned the United States education system into a giant experiment. The weakness of the Common Core math standards were even noted by the creators of the standards themselves.
But then it gets even better!
We have a nation of kids who have constant entertainment. Video games, television, movies, etc. fill their days. Constantly being fed the narrative. Constantly being mind numbingly entertained. Then we send them to school and expect them to pay attention to the mundane, the redundant, and the unimaginative, then drug them because they are “hyper.”
Historically we didn’t have the issues that we have, and many other countries don’t either, so what gives? Clearly changes in the last 50 years have led us to this point, what were they? Do they have to do with chemicals? Food Dyes? Education? Shouldn’t those be the first questions we respond with before we start pumping children with more pharmaceuticals than an 80’s rock band?
If you or your child exhibit 6 of the 18 ADHD behaviors, you/they can be labeled as an individual who suffers from a “biologic abnormality of the brain” and handed a prescription. Read the behavior list sometime, you’ll likely come to the same conclusion as me: every human being at some point has suffered from ADHD. Imagine the entire population of Nicaragua, that’s roughly how many children in the US alone are on Psychotropic drugs. Kids are diagnosed at an alarming rate. Once signs of a hyper personality are found, parents, teachers, and doctors flock to the easy out like starving castaways who have just come upon a Pizza Hut.
Maybe I’m just primitive in nature, turning from my cave art to watch the spectacle and shake my club in mumbled revolt, but those “symptoms” seem to me to be an epidemic of both the mind and the heart. I’m not a doctor, but I am an observer of society and the downhill slope it’s taking that leads directly to a lava pit.
In a world filled with sensory overload, we’ve lost a huge part of who we are. With every advancement made in video games, the entertainment industry, and now faulty school standards, we slam another nail into the casket of creativity and imagination. Now I’m not saying that all movies, games, and shows are bad, I’m just saying that as time goes on, our hearts become more invested in things that require little thought process. God created our minds to be used, and when kids are scratching on the walls of conformity we’ve now decided they need a pill instead of a change. They don’t require self-discipline because it’s not expected any longer, and then we have to deal with ADULTS that have no self-discipline.
And Isn’t that a peach….
Welcome to the new America. Start standing up against the change, or conform to the new thought standards, perpetuating a system that creates robots that simply obey the government agenda. Educators & politicians can call what they are doing education, but indoctrination by any other name will destroy as swiftly.
“What appalls me most about the standards is the cavalier contempt for great works of human art and thought, in literary form. It is a sheer ignorance of the life of the imagination. We are not programming machines. We are teaching children. We are not producing functionaries, factory-like. We are to be forming the minds and hearts of men and women to be human beings, honoring what is good and right and cherishing what is beautiful.” Dr. Anthony Esolen – Providence College
I was going to write a blog post today simply talking about Christmas, the true meaning of the Holiday, and all of the hope that accompanies this time of year. It would have been laced with joy, hope, and extravagant appreciation for family, friends, and my Savior. I would have ended it with a dramatic cliché signoff similar to a Disney Christmas movie.
But then again, we’re talking about me here.
Well, it is December 23rd and I woke up this morning with a list of things that I desperately need to get done before Wednesday. Finish wrapping presents, clean my house, stop at the store, make a dessert, etc. the list goes on. I’m sure you all feel about the same. Often times when I’m feeling stressed I go to various websites and read stories, for example: persecution.com and abundanthopeinternational.org. Simply to bring me back to earth and make me remember how blessed I truly am. But today I did not have to look up a story, because one came to mind that I had read before, and I feel the need to share it with whoever will listen.
Stick with me, because I’m going to bring this back to hope, joy, and above all, extravagant appreciate for my Savior. The road to get there won’t be as fun, but like I always say, we appreciate the sunrise more when we see the darkest of nights.
I’m currently 26 years old, working a full-time job, and coping in an America that is crumbling around me. I have bills, I have stress, like everyone else…I have bad days where coffee becomes my breath of life in the morning and receiving it intravenously for a couple of hours straight is slightly tempting. But today my thoughts traveled back to 1941, to a girl who was almost my age.
Bronislava was a Jew that lived in the village of Dnepropetrovk, Ukraine. She was married to a Ukrainian, and she was blessed with two baby boys that were five & two. Bronislava rang in her 25th birthday with her feet frozen to the ground, holding her children close to her. German soldiers laughed as they held up the cases of ammunition meant for whoever still remained alive from her village to see, ammunition that they had to retrieve after running short the night before. As the few hundred left of her village stood, waiting for their turn to die, the Germans had been collecting bodies all night long from the massacre that started the night before; it would be completed now that the reloading was taking place. The soldiers had gone for ammunition as casually as one would go to the store for eggs.
Anyone with a loved one could not even begin, nor wish, to imagine the fear. I’m sure that she held her children close, breathing them in for what would be the last time. Still concerned for her child, and after standing all night in the cold, her weary arms were forced to set her five-year old son on top of a man who had already been shot the night before. The man was dying, but his body created a warm place for her child to sit while they awaited their fate, as opposed to the muddy water that was now ice blocks holding her feet to the ground. The two-year old in her arms was lying still, breathing against her neck; I imagine that the thought of this being the last time she would ever feel that flooded her mind like a tsunami swallowing a city. She had carried her child from her home while they were being wrangled up and mocked by Ukrainians who stood proclaiming that the Jews were finally getting what they deserved. While the corpses of mothers and their children laid there, human beings believed that THIS is what they deserved, simply because of their race. This is something I can’t even fathom, I can’t imagine being her. But there she stood, holding her children and begging God to spare their life while the rain turned to snow overnight.
Bronislava was saved by her pretty face. A German soldier came and broke the ice from around her feet, collected her children and told her that she was too beautiful to die. She walked away with her two children while the rest of her family was executed and thrown into a mass grave, including her sister and her young niece. She was eventually given a fake passport after escaping her captors. The passport said she was Ukrainian, and she hid living in a barn with her sons and husband (her husband, being Ukrainian, was never taken to the field of death) for the remainder of the war. Forever she would vividly remembered the screams; the children that were trampled during the madness, then thrown into a grave while still screaming for their parents. The horror was insurmountable.
What saved her? God? Can we say that God granted her freedom and still call him good while her young niece was soon after riddled with bullets and thrown into a mass grave? Can we? We see homeless, we see murder, we see death. Where is God? We say He is good, we say He is peace, we say He is kind, but for the child that is found strangled by a madman, where is He?
After the war was won, Bronislava came out of hiding and said the following to a police officer, “I live only for my children and for the day the Hitlerite beasts would be punished. But no, they are not beasts. For beasts do not gnaw on those who are down, and anyone who throws living children into a grave is not worthy of being called a beast.” I can’t imagine what she saw, not just the death, the pain, the suffering, but the look of evil in the eyes of men while such horrid acts of hatred and pain took place. To think that men performed these deeds like we perform house work. To laugh in pride and show a child the ammunition they would soon use to annihilate their family is not only evil, but blinding evil, unprecedented evil. To think that human beings are capable of joy in those moments is unapologetically appalling to us.
Right now you are thinking, “Gee, thanks for this Christmas post!”…But friends, is this not something to remember? That while we find kids who are upset over their IPod data size, the color of their new laptop, or the number of gifts under the tree, we forget that all over the world pain is screaming “where is your God?”; and we are tasked with giving an answer. This Christmas many will flock to homeless shelters, they’ll not worry about the side dish that was a little over done; they’ll worry about getting something – anything – in their stomachs. This Christmas thousands of families will sit under a Christmas tree and wonder why their child was stolen by cancer in the last year. Missionaries will pray for peace over people who do not know of such a thing as peace. A woman will cry out to God in the captivity of a sex slave trade that is alive and flourishing. The atheists will find justification in his beliefs by questioning the moral character of God, by perpetuating the ideals of a loving creator gone mad with power. A Christian will do the same with gentler wordplay, but will end by insinuating that God is somehow still magically good despite all evidence. We’ll fumble for the words to defend our Creator and Companion like He is on trial for the deeds of the Devil.
“Where are you, God?”, will be shouted by the thousands, silently felt by those mourning, and prayed by those awaiting a death sentence in a foreign country for simply obeying Him.
The truth, in all its unshakable reality, is that this world is random in its suffering, and it is cruel; because of who we are, not because of who He is. Whether it is pain brought on from ourselves, pain from disease, or pain from the horrid acts that are unjustly brought upon us by the free will of others, it is not His to own. But alas, we label these acts as a betrayal of God. Blaming Him for the sin that we allowed to overrun our earth like a spreading wildfire. I sometimes wonder if the atheism C.S.Lewis held onto until his conversion later in life had something to do with the death of his mother as a child. He stated the following:
“Children suffer not, I think, less than their elders, but differently. For us boys the real bereavement had happened before our mother died. We lost her gradually as she was gradually withdrawn from our life into the hands of nurses and delirium and morphia. And our whole existence changed into something alien and menacing, as the house became full of strange smells and midnight noises and sinister, whispered conversations. With my mother’s death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of joy; but no more of the old security.”
I follow a lot of kids on Facebook that suffer from cancer, it reminds me to pray for them and their family whenever I see their updates. A post update from one of the parents a few days ago shook me to the core:
“They gave her a couple days to a couple weeks to live. My heart is breaking. I sit here looking at her face trying to remember every contour of it, I breathe deeply against her skin trying to always remember her smell. Every time she speaks I try to listen for the different way she says certain words so that I never forget. I keep putting my lips against her warm skin because I never want to forget how that feels. I’m devastated and I’m hoping that I will wake up from this nightmare.”
Pain in its most volatile form can be witnessed daily in this world.
I find hope in the knowledge that we label such things as cruel, unusual, and horrid. That we feel the wide array of sorrow. Why? Have I lost my mind? No, there is an intellectual side to the argument that I believe to be overlooked and waxed over by overwhelming pain. If there was no good to aspire to, if there was no peace, and if there was no joy, we would not yearn for it. The hope that we crave in those moments of desperation is real, and we feel its absence like it’s been cut out of us and we are attempting to hold the wound shut. Why? Because it’s real. We ask, “Where is the good?”, because we know there is good. Imagine the emptiness in a world truly abandoned by God. Imagine a world where we look upon evil and find no fault, no wrong.
The fall of man welcomed pain and suffering. But STILL in our sin He found a way to offer us willing love. Love that, while we could be left to wallow in our pain and suffering gave us a way out. Love that danced through the gates of heaven hand in hand with the child once riddled with bullets by the hatred of Hitler’s men… Because Love deemed her worthy, Love refused to let that be her end. Bronislava’s young niece was not defeated by the man waving the ammunition in her face; God may not have stopped the bullets, but He stopped that from being her end. In the same way that He used Bronislava and her witness to shine a light on the evils that happened that day, to be a voice for those who suffered.
There is a rampant disease in today’s church that in its arrogance would blame the horrid acts done under the free will of man on the character of God – and while I won’t go into detail on this blog post – I will say that I find it to be the most harmful attack on His character I’ve yet to witness. If we successfully merge the beauty of God’s love with the evil of Satan’s work, we’re failing. There is also a feeling of cold apathy in today’s church, we wish to remain in the dark to such evils, in our “Potluck Party” bubble, per se. Uninvolved in the worlds suffering because our own little world has been overcome by our personal wants and desires.
This week when you celebrate your family, hold them close and be thankful for what you have. Pray for those suffering, and remember those who faced evil and lost in this world, and remember the God that saw the pain and suffering we brought on to ourselves and STILL wanted more for us despite our lost state. Live thankfully, as though His hope is what keeps your lungs breathing, His promise is what keeps your heart receptive to seeing the absence of Him in this world. I pray that if you don’t know Christ today, you feel this hope that is calling you. Darkness is the absence of light, Christ’s hope is written on the hearts of all men…It’s the thing that says “this is wrong, there’s more in store.”
Christmas has been glamorized, but we forget that all of the above is why He did what He did. Why He had to be born, why He had to walk among us, and why He had to pay our fine. When Jesus entered the world as an infant so long ago, he did so for Bronislava’s niece, and for the man that took her life, that maybe someday He would find hope. He did so for those suffering from disease. He did so for the woman facing persecution in Egypt, for the child left abandoned, for the Mother clinging to her children in a concentration camp, for the Father trying to make ends meet, for the family who is hungry, and for the family that has plenty. That is what Christmas is about.
“We must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come.” A.W.Tozer
So the question is never “where is He”, but “where is He not?”…Even when it feels like hope is lost, our longing for hope is His presence shining through and calling evil exactly what it is. Evil. He could have left us to our own demise, but He didn’t. He could force us to love Him or hate Him, but He doesn’t. He could have left us in a world where evil is all we know, where there is no absence of hope because there is no hope to be found…
But He didn’t.
I believe that every Christian in the US has an increasingly blurring line where Faith meets our morals, and whether the world likes it or not, it trickles down to our political obligations. For most of us it isn’t enough to move our proverbial mountain of daily tasks from it’s top position into the secondary category, but it shows its ugly head every once in a while making us think a bit. But what if our daily lives were lived with the passion of the disciples, our lives revolving around Christ which then directly correlates to a heightening of our attention to the moral boundaries?
Growing up we are told that starving children in Ethiopia would be happy to have our meals. I don’t know about you, but I could never picture the starving children in Ethiopia, my mind was always reverted back to (what I believed to be) the starving child staring at the broccoli. But I believe even as a child that if I were placed before that child in Ethiopia, if I were able to hug their frail body and see the pain in their eyes my broccoli would have been forgotten. This is due to the fact that when we are faced with a moral choice we make that choice based off of the results that we can clearly see. We always hear that you won’t find an Atheist in a foxhole, but we never think about how that mirrors every aspect of our day to day choices. When we watch a show we know wouldn’t glorify God, we can’t see Him, so we proceed. He isn’t visibly sitting in our passenger seat when we listen to that song…He isn’t visibly in the theater when we watch that movie. He isn’t visibly at the voting booth when we vote for the candidate that doesn’t respect innocent life, but promises to fatten our checkbooks.
So many Christians stray from Politics because it is considered taboo. I tried to discuss it with a Pastor once and he searched the room for listening ears like I had offered to tell him where Jimmy Hoffa’s body had been hidden. Or we are hit with the bitter hand of separation of church and state when we do arrive at a point where our beliefs had met with conviction only to be dashed before voiced. When our country was being founded every law was rooted in a moral code, a moral code that our Founding Fathers knew was based within the word of God. We have a place in politics, and we have a responsibility to hold ourselves accountable to a moral code. And just like the Ethiopian children, it is our responsibility to make ourselves closer to the issues so that we can understand and feel the moral implications our nation has on its people.
Most importantly, it should be noted that separation of church and state was designed to protect the church… The doctrine of Christianity is what our nation was built on, it was the catalyst for our freedom…The denomination was to be protected. If you look at the religious affiliation of the Founding members of our country you will find Presbyterians, Catholics, Evangelicals, and Lutherans…etc. Keeping the state out of the church meant that all of these denominations had the right to their own core belief system, unlike other countries that were forced under a certain religious code. But at the end of the day it all came down to one thing, all of the above religions were based off of the core doctrine of Christianity. We as Christians have a right to speak up in defense of our Constitution because it is our core Faith that built it. The Founding Fathers were not bashful about the role that God played in the founding of our nation, because their Faith went beyond the walls of their religion. Their beliefs were turned into convictions and then acted upon.
I think my own Mom would be the first to tell you that I am a realist; sometimes she questions my worst case scenarios of being a bit “cup half empty”. When people ask me why they should believe in God, they will never get a short answer. I loved the proof, the facts, the history, the prophecy, and of course this is rooted in a love for my Savior. I believe that we fail someone when we give them an answer that a high school atheist science teacher can laugh off as an invisible friend. We all know this not to be true, and we have facts to back our beliefs, but so many times we lack the conviction to stand up for our Faith, and as Paul said, to have a defense of our Faith.
I first started thinking about those facts when I was younger; I was raised around multiple different religions. I grew up with multiple different backgrounds, my Mom and her side of the family were unwavering core believers in the Catholic faith. My other sides of the family, well…they were everything under the sun. I grew up going to pot lucks, church bible studies, dinner clubs, VBS…etc. I have attended Lutheran churches to Pentecostal churches. Every church had another round of activities that encouraged you to become closer with your fellow members. I’ve noticed that all of these programs happen to be extremely beneficial to the status of a church member. This is where I started to question them. My mishmash of religious influences had made me grasp one concept that truly stuck out in my mind…When Jesus said that the sick are the individuals who are in need of the physicians most, well…He meant it. Due to so many different denominational views I started digging into the bible when I was very young, everyone had their own contextual view of every verse. But, muddling through it all I realized that no one EVER has it all right, and never will. But when immersed into the bible yourself you will not come out without some truths. I personally chose to call myself a non-denominational. I don’t believe that religion holds any answers to our biblical questions, only relationship.
Our unbridled tendency to cling to our own circles, our own balance of comfort and flower scented religious complacency has become our excuse to remove ourselves from political and moral obligations. During our dinner parties we fellowship with other Christians, yes…but are our dinner parties truly dedicated to growing in the knowledge of Christ? Are they teaching Christians to grow in their Faith and extend the word of Christ to the lost…the sick? Are our children learning worship songs but missing the meaning and the education behind the song? In a world of no music and parties could we still be moved by the unwavering word of God? We are reaching an impasse both politically and spiritually, I fear that religion has claimed its ground in the hearts of many, and relationship has been placed on a shelf next to the church directory.
Let’s be honest, the American flag will not be flying in heaven…Our political dedication should be focused on 2 things, the correlation it has with our moral grounds, and the implications it has on the lost. We are not silent, but long ago we ventured to the middle ground in the name of reaching the lost and I fear that we as a church never returned. And so many of those that did return, came back with a religious ideology that shut the world out and focused on pot lucks, dinner clubs, and status. Not to say that there isn’t exceptions, because I have personally witnessed them…but unfortunately they are not the norm. Whenever I visit a new church I always know what they are like during my first exchange with the Pastor. I am in my 20’s, and I ask a good deal of questions concerning the fundamental values and objectives of their church. Sometimes this is welcomed, but most of the time they go on guard as though to show a presence of someone who prefers not to have the supposed boat rocked…As though the questions throw a wrench in the systematical gears of a church family. My questions are not meant to spark debate, but I am interested in the relationship, not the religion…and the outreach. I have been to churches that have outreach youth centers that watch R rated movies in the name of middle ground…If that isn’t putting roots in the middle ground I don’t know what is. But I have also been to outreach youth centers that create an air of acceptance, but also accountability. I found Christian teens in both, but the daily life results were polar opposites. The center that had camped on the middle ground produced Christian teens that strived to be accepted by peers. But the outreach center that was based on accountability produced teens that were approaching fellow students and welcoming them to be friends, but living a moral code that set them apart. It isn’t about being better than the other person, it is about the lives of those around you being at stake. The teens that were held accountable were closer to God, they felt the choices of their morals because they had been encouraged and nurtured to grow in Christ as well as be Christ to the world.
I was forced to look at myself months ago when my Stepdad made a choice that he would no longer support companies that used a company that supported the abortion industry by using aborted tissue cells for testing. My response you ask? All I could think about was how Digiorno pizza was my favorite, how could I possibly give that up? See, we have accustomed ourselves to think that our personal gain is of higher importance than our moral obligations. So, I have now given them up…unfortunately when they are such large companies you have no idea what they sell, so sometimes I will get stuff home and realize that I can’t buy that item anymore either.
I think about other countries where they long to merely touch the bible, the same bible that collects dust on our nightstands. They are imprisoned for beliefs that we shelve while dining with our clicks and discussing our favorite recipes. They die in the name of the same Savior that we fail to mention on a daily basis to those we know best. Their life is dedicated to a Faith that sustains them; our lives tend to mirror a dedication that sustains our good name in the church. The people in other countries who are persecuted wake up to a foxhole daily. The disciples had the faith to stand up for what is right…I am just as guilty of these offenses as anyone else, but my heart is heavy with the thought that we will be entering a time of suffering not only on unstable economic foundations, but on unstable spiritual foundations. And those were the foundations our Founding Fathers relied on the most.
We have members in our current administration that would prefer our Faith be accompanied by a foxhole. We not only have a responsibility to act on our Faith, no matter what that means giving up…but we have a responsibility to spread the word of Christ, the middle ground should be a compassion for the pain, suffering and confusion…but our presence in the middle ground needs to be something that is different than the rooted morals that are living in the middle ground. We need to be vocal in our support of individuals who stand for life, and the morals that were rooted into our nation from men of Faith. We need to be focused on helping each other grow stronger, because sometime down the road if the current administration has their way, we may be the ones searching for the voice of Christ amidst the silenced masses, left scratching our heads in disbelief. I know that day is coming…But the thought of being accountable for the thousands of lives I failed to touch makes my stomach turn…I don’t want that number to continue raising drastically. I want to stand for what is right, and when people question my stance, I want to give them a valid defense as to why. No matter what status your account balance is, or what you THINK a man in power can do for it…You are responsible first to be a voice for the millions of innocent lives taken by abortion. No matter what insurance you have or what you think someone can offer, your responsibility is the freedom to worship your God and encourage others to do the same. It is our responsibility to face the issues, to stare them in the eyes and do what we know we need to do.
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