Tag Archives: Children

Child of God

In chapter 1 Paul reminds us of our blessings we have in Christ. All the things we have because of Christ: chosen, every spiritual blessing, sonship, redemption, forgiveness, understanding, an inheritance, true hope, sealed by the Holy Spirit, eyes opened, and the truth of God’s power to raised Christ from the dead.

Chapter 2 reminds us of our past: Dead in sin, following the world, following Satan, living by our flesh and passion, children of wrath. But then he is quick to transition back to what God did for us and what He gave us. Explicitly showing us that it is nothing we have done, but because of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been saved to fulfill the good works that He has prepared for us to do to bring glory and praise to Him.

Again, he transitions back to what we were before Christ: Living in the flesh and for the flesh, separated, alienated, stranger, hopeless, and without (against) God. But quickly transitioning again to what Christ has done for us: Brought us near by His blood, provided peace, broke down the hostility, made us one with Hum through the cross, and access by Holy Spirit, in us, to the Father.

Paul continues to encourage us as believe the benefits that have been granted to us through Christ. We were once strangers but now we are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the house hold of God, heirs to the inheritance that is imperishable and everlasting! We are now part of a large family, not only in Heaven, but here on earth which has been built on the apostles and prophets of old, with Christ being the cornerstone and groom. This family or bride on earth is called the Church which includes anyone who has been brought close and has peace with God through Jesus Christ. This family is not only local, but internationally. Many times in my life I have interacted with people I just met who are part of this family and there is a very quick connection through the Spirit of God that is living in each one of us.

The Holy Spirit is actively working throughout the Church here on earth. We are all being built together to be a dwelling place for God. We are all being worked on as individuals, as we have the Spirit living in us and transforming us to be more like Him. Each day we struggle against the things of this world, yet we have been brought close to God through the death of Jesus Christ. The Spirit is actively working through us to transform us.

How devastating when local churches cannot get along that preach the same gospel? Do we really understand the power of a united local church or united local churches? Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives by fulfilling the good works in which God has prepared for us?

Ephesians 2:19-22

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Peace Established. Hostility Destroyed.

We need to remember previous verses:

1 v.3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

1 v.13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

2 v.1-12 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ,alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

When reading through Ephesians there are some important words that come up. Specifically in this case, the word “but”. This is now the second time it has come up and if we look back in vs.4 we will see how important it is. Imagine, if that “but” was not there. And that was it. What if there was no “But God” in Ephesians?

We have remember who we once were before Christ. We should never forget but now that we are in Christ, we have been brought near to Him. We were once separated, strangers, and alienated from the one who cares for us and is in control of all things. But for those who have received Christ, we have been brought close to him. Important thing to see is that the reason we have been brought near is not because of anything we have done or will do. It is not because of a priest, a prayer, communion, nothing. It was only because of Christ and His blood that was poured out on the cross. That’s it! Only the blood of Jesus can bring us close.

More specifically it says that Christ was our peace and is our peace. Those who are far from God are not at peace with God and will truly never have peace unless they are brought close to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ became man so that He would proved and be the peace between God and man. This also made those of us who are close to God, through the blood of Christ, one with God and broke down any barriers that were dividing us from God and creating hostility. So, when Christ provided peace between man and God, He also provided a way to become one with Him. When God looks at those who have come close, He sees the blood of His Son, which kills any hostility and brings true peace.

This peace that Jesus brought was not just for a certain people group, or a certain class of people. This peace is meant for all who are close and all who are far. People that could be close could be those who are under the preaching of the Word every week and active in their church but yet have never been brought close to God, through the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who are far off could be someone who knows nothing about God and has no interested in knowing about Him. Some could be far off who were once appeared close to God but yet as life moved on and trials came, they are now far from Him. Many of us could easily think of people in both these categories. Those who are close, yet are far off. Those who are far off, yet have know thought or knowledge of Him. And those who were once close, but yet are now very far, proving they were never truly close to begin with.

We have been brought close to God, through His Son, who provided peace and destroyed the hostility between God and man, and He is inviting those who are close and those who are far away to truly come near and receive peace.

My mind wanders and aches for those who I know that are far. Bring them to yourself O God of Peace!

We need to remember 1 v. 13-14 when reading 2 v. 18. Because being drawn close, the peace, being one with Christ, we now have access by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Son and what He did for us, to worship and praise God for what He has done, for who He is, and for what He is going to do for rest of our human lives and also the rest of eternity!

Ephesians 2:13-18 ESV

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Remember my past…

We need to remember the verses before:

2 v.1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. ButGod, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I don’t like dwelling on the past when it comes to my life. Even though there was a lot of great things that happened and majority of my life was good and pleasurable. But for some reason I am easily reminded of the hurt and pain that happened to me and the hurt and pain I caused in others. The moments of deceit and and evil things I did when no was around. Out of all that was “bad”, the worst is the broken relationships with people I knew throughout life. Not all of what went wrong in the different friendships I had was 100% my fault, but for some reason it’s hard not to think like that. The question, what if?, always resonates through my head.

As a follower of Christ, we are called to remember and not forget our past and where we came from. Ultimately, for the purpose of pushing and making us rely more on Christ. This remembering should bring us to the time before Christ or times where we were wandering from Him. Before Christ we were alienated from the promises of God. We were strangers in God’s land. We had no direction, no hope, and even if we thought we did, we did not have God, thus life was artificial and the sustenance of life, left us empty.

I have felt like a stranger before. Mostly in the hockey arena, walking into a dressing room full of guys that I did not know and they did not know me. Even better, was when it was a smaller dressing room and not a lot of space left for me to put my stuff down and change. Everyone forgets how to speak and they all just look at me and I am looking at them. Ultimately, this is reminding me to remember life without Christ. Alienated, a stranger, having no hope, and totally without God while living and satisfying the flesh by the desires of this world.

If we look back over what we have already read, we can see another glimpse of what we were like before Christ. We were alienated, a stranger, had no hope, without God, against God, orphaned, un-forgiven, un-redeemed, Satan’s, headed for destruction, blind, poor, dead and a child of wrath.

O how lost we were before we gained Christ! O how lost we would be if we gained the world and all that is in it! A slave of sin we once were, now a slave of God!

Ephesians 2:11-13

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Why Do You Hide Yourself?

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;

    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
    and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
    all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
    your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
    as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
    throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
    under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
    he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

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Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God
    and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
    that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
    you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none.

The Lord is king forever and ever;
    the nations perish from his land.
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

PSALM 10. ESV.

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Life

Life.

When it comes, it comes.

It does not stop for anything.

Sleep, work, play.

It’s always moving in a direction.

Many believe life just happens and then it’s over.

For others, it’s hell.

For some, it’s heaven.

Life.

Its direction is in the hand of the Maker, but how you travel the direction of life is up to you.

It does not wait for anybody and it does not avoid anyone.

Many find life empty and let the direction it is headed take them to destruction.

Some find Life but are distracted by the things that bring a life to destruction.

They live the Life but are sick and tired.

Some find Life and live this Life to abundance.

Abundantly enjoying the Life the Maker has designed for maximum enjoyment and fulfillment.

This life leads to life which does not know destruction.

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10 Questions for the Kinsey Institute:

1)      The founder of the Kinsey Institute, Alfred Kinsey, co-authored, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female and Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Both publications are currently in print and widely available.

Regarding pedophilia, in the Female volume, Kinsey writes:

“It is difficult to understand why a child, except for its cultural conditioning, should be disturbed at having its genitalia touched, or disturbed at seeing the genitalia of other persons, or disturbed at even more specific sexual contacts… Adult contacts…are not likely to do the child any appreciable harm if the child’s parents do not become disturbed.”

Please explain:

  • If the current position of the Kinsey Institute is that adult-child sexual contact is an acceptable and harmless behavior under any circumstance.
  • The Institute’s position on pedophilia or “adult/child sexual contact” of any kind.
  • If the institute has repudiated the position represented in the above quote, please also provide the earliest repudiation statement in context and the date it was made. Also, please provide a list of any other statements or conclusions presented in this volume that have been repudiated, withdrawn or otherwise modified by the Institute.

2)   In the book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Kinsey, states that bestiality, (human sex with animals) is a “normal” part of life, and that therapists should “reassure” people who practice bestiality that it is a normal sexual behavior (p. 677). Currently, bestiality is illegal in the majority of UN Member States. Please explain to the Committee in detail what the Kinsey Institute’s position is on bestiality today.

3)   Please explain how the data on child orgasms (including from infants and toddlers) in Table 34 (below) ofSexual Behavior in the Human Male were obtained? Specifically, please make available the following: 

table34

  • Information on how the Institute came in contact with the pedophiles who conducted the sexual experimentation on children.
  • All files relating to the communications the Kinsey Institute or their past or present staff members had with the pedophiles who allegedly brought these children to orgasm.
  • Information on any follow up efforts to see the impact on the sexual development and well-being of children who were subject of the sexual experiments by pedophiles that were document in Table 34..
  • Information on any attempts by the Kinsey Institute to report illegal sexual activities with children to authorities.
  • Information on any current or past Kinsey Institute researchers, employees, staff, or affiliates that have been arrested for child molestation or other serious crimes.

4)   Please explain why the Kinsey Institute has cosponsored at least one event with and raised funds for the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, which advocates for many things that are illegal in numerous UN Member States, including sex with multiple partners, bondage sex, anal sex, homosexuality, and the public display of pornography.

5)   Regarding the Kinsey Institute’s new cellular phone app, “The Kinsey Reporter,” (www.kinseyreporter.org), and which the Institute is encouraging people around the world to download to their phones, please explain:

  • Why, on the website, the Institute tells people, “by using the Kinsey Reporter, you are contributing to the research on human sexual behavior,” but then also states on the page that describes the app that the data have no scientific value. Please explain this discrepancy.
  • Your representative stated in her testimony to the Committee that the Kinsey Institute is a research organization. Since the Institute admits that the data collected through the app have no research or scientific value, what is the Institute’s purpose for asking people to report on the type of pornography they are watching and the sex acts they are engaged in or witnessing? Please explain in detail why such information is being collected by the Institute on an international basis and the purpose for the interactive world map where the sex data are posted.
  • Is it the intention of the Institute to allow the sex data collected through this app or by any other means to be used by advocacy organizations to modify or repeal laws relating to sexual behavior in any UN Member States?

6)   Conclusive scientific evidence accumulating over the past decade shows that pornography can alter normal brain structure and function and can become addictive for many people.  Research also shows that the harmful effects are particularly severe in young people.  Since the Kinsey Institute collects and preserves an extensive collection of erotic and pornographic movies, books, and magazines, including depictions of homosexual and heterosexual sex acts, and periodically makes this kind of material available to the public, please explain in detail:

  • How the Institute, an organization that states it is dedicated to the promotion of “sexual health,” reconciles its position on pornography, which is not only unhealthy, but is illegal in many UN Member States.
  •  Whether any of the erotic or pornographic materials in the Kinsey collection depict the nudity of children or could be considered in any way to be child pornography. (Please provide a list of all of the titles in the Kinsey collection.)
  • The Institute’s purpose for collecting this material and making it available to the public.
  • Whether the Institute would ever exhibit its collection at the United Nations or in any UN Member State, and if so, under what circumstances.

7)   It is widely reported that the founder of the Kinsey Institute, Alfred Kinsey, engaged adultery, masochistic masturbation and in heterosexual and homosexual sex (with his students, staff and their spouses), and made pornographic films, including filming the sex acts of his co-workers and students as part of his scientific research, even though many of these activities were illegal at the time, and are illegal in many UN Member States today. Please explain in detail:

  • Which, if any, of these research techniques are still used by the Institute currently or are condoned by the Institute as acceptable research techniques.
  • If the Institute intends to gather data on any of these behaviors in any UN Member State in which these behaviors are illegal.
  • The Institute’s policy on respecting the national, state and local laws in any country in which it may become active.

8)   In 1949, in Kinsey’s testimony before the California Subcommittee on Sex Crimes, he stated that the research conducted by the Institute confirms that sex offenders do not re-offend. He then called for full parole for all sex criminals without exception. These positions are directly contrary to extensive research showing the high incidence of repeat sex crimes by sex offenders. This problem is so severe that a number of countries have instituted mandatory sex offender registries to warn communities and law enforcement regarding the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders. Please explain what the position is of the Kinsey Institute on these issues today? If it has repudiated this position statement by Dr. Kinsey, please provide evidence of such.  

9)   There are reports that Kinsey Institute research has been subsidized by sex industry businesses that may benefit financially from its findings and, therefore, the findings might be biased or compromised. Please provide the following:

  • A list of any sex industry businesses or leaders (i.e., any individuals, companies, organizations, or businesses that profit from the sale of pornography or explicit images via the Internet, magazines, videos or any other medium) that have made financial contributions of $1,000 or more to the Kinsey Institute since its founding.
  •  Any current or past connections, if any, that the current or past Kinsey Institute staff, researchers or associates may have had to sex industry businesses, as per above..

10)   In “The Kinsey Reports” volumes, the Kinsey Institute continues to publish controversial sex research that it has admitted was based on flawed methodology and not based on random or representative samples. Numerous critics over the years have pointed out that, in a similar position, any responsible research institute would have withdrawn and/or repudiated its questionable findings and ceased to perpetuate them. The fact that the Kinsey Institute has not done so, critics say, is proof that it is not a research organization as it claimed in its testimony before the Committee, but rather a group that is fabricating science to be used to advocate for legal and social change on controversial laws and policies related to sex and sexuality. Please explain in detail:

  • How the Kinsey Institute responds to such criticism.
  • All efforts the Kinsey Institute has made to correct, withdraw or repudiate Kinsey published sex research findings known to not be based on sound scientific methodology, or which failed to use random and representative samples.

http://www.stopthekinseyinstitute.org/

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Breaking the Silence: Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me – and Our Children

The push to present a positive image of same-sex families has hidden the devastation on which many are built. We must stand for marriage—and for the precious lives that marriage creates.

Every time a new state redefines marriage, the news is full of happy stories of gay and lesbian couples and their new families. But behind those big smiles and sunny photographs are other, more painful stories. These are left to secret, dark places. They are suppressed, and those who would tell them are silenced in the name of “marriage equality.”

But I refuse to be silent.

I represent one of those real life stories that are kept in the shadows. I have personally felt the pain and devastation wrought by the propaganda that destroys natural families.

The Divorce

In the fall of 2007, my husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce. In an instant, the world that I had known and loved—the life we had built together—was shattered.

I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs—and those of our two young children—no longer mattered to him. We had become disposable, because he had embraced one tiny word that had become his entire identity. Being gay trumped commitment, vows, responsibility, faith, fatherhood, marriage, friendships, and community. All of this was thrown away for the sake of his new identity.

Try as I might to save our marriage, there was no stopping my husband. Our divorce was not settled in mediation or with lawyers. No, it went all the way to trial. My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”

I truly believe that judge was legislating from the bench, disregarding the facts of our particular case and simply using us—using our children— to help influence future cases. In our society, LGBT citizens are seen as marginalized victims who must be protected at all costs, even if it means stripping rights from others. By ignoring the injustice committed against me and my children, the judge seemed to think that he was correcting a larger injustice.

My husband had left us for his gay lover. They make more money than I do. There are two of them and only one of me. Even so, the judge believed that they were the victims. No matter what I said or did, I didn’t have a chance of saving our children from being bounced around like so many pieces of luggage.

A New Same-Sex Family—Built On the Ruins of Mine

My ex-husband and his partner went on to marry. Their first ceremony took place before our state redefined marriage. After it created same-sex marriage, they chose to have a repeat performance. In both cases, my children were forced—against my will and theirs—to participate. At the second ceremony, which included more than twenty couples, local news stations and papers were there to document the first gay weddings officiated in our state. USA Today did a photo journal shoot on my ex and his partner, my children, and even the grandparents. I was not notified that this was taking place, nor was I given a voice to object to our children being used as props to promote same-sex marriage in the media.

At the time of the first ceremony, the marriage was not recognized by our state, our nation, or our church. And my ex-husband’s new marriage, like the majority of male-male relationships, is an “open,” non-exclusive relationship. This sends a clear message to our children: what you feel trumps all laws, promises, and higher authorities. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want—and it doesn’t matter who you hurt along the way.

After our children’s pictures were publicized, a flood of comments and posts appeared. Commenters exclaimed at how beautiful this gay family was and congratulated my ex-husband and his new partner on the family that they “created.” But there is a significant person missing from those pictures: the mother and abandoned wife. That “gay family” could not exist without me.

There is not one gay family that exists in this world that was created naturally.

Every same-sex family can only exist by manipulating nature. Behind the happy façade of many families headed by same-sex couples, we see relationships that are built from brokenness. They represent covenants broken, love abandoned, and responsibilities crushed. They are built on betrayal, lies, and deep wounds.

This is also true of same-sex couples who use assisted reproductive technologies such as surrogacy or sperm donation to have children. Such processes exploit men and women for their reproductive potential, treat children as products to be bought and sold, and purposely deny children a relationship with one or both of their biological parents. Wholeness and balance cannot be found in such families, because something is always missing.I am missing. But I am real, and I represent hundreds upon thousands of spouses who have been betrayed and rejected.

If my husband had chosen to stay, I know that things wouldn’t have been easy. But that is what marriage is about: making a vow and choosing to live it out, day after day. In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, spouses must choose to put the other person first, loving them even when it’s hard.

A good marriage doesn’t only depend on sexual desire, which can come and go and is often out of our control. It depends on choosing to love, honor, and be faithful to one person, forsaking all others. It is common for spouses to be attracted to other people—usually of the opposite sex, but sometimes of the same sex. Spouses who value their marriage do not act on those impulses. For those who find themselves attracted to people of the same sex, staying faithful to their opposite-sex spouse isn’t a betrayal of their true identity. Rather, it’s a decision not to let themselves be ruled by their passions. It shows depth and strength of character when such people remain true to their vows, consciously striving to remember, honor, and revive the love they had for their spouses when they first married.

My Children Deserve Better

Our two young children were willfully and intentionally thrust into a world of strife and combative beliefs, lifestyles, and values, all in the name of “gay rights.” Their father moved into his new partner’s condo, which is in a complex inhabited by sixteen gay men. One of the men has a 19-year-old male prostitute who comes to service him. Another man, who functions as the father figure of this community, is in his late sixties and has a boyfriend in his twenties. My children are brought to gay parties where they are the only children and where only alcoholic beverages are served. They are taken to transgender baseball games, gay rights fundraisers, and LGBT film festivals.

Both of my children face identity issues, just like other children. Yet there are certain deep and unique problems that they will face as a direct result of my former husband’s actions. My son is now a maturing teen, and he is very interested in girls. But how will he learn how to deal with that interest when he is surrounded by men who seek sexual gratification from other men? How will he learn to treat girls with care and respect when his father has rejected them and devalues them? How will he embrace his developing masculinity without seeing his father live out authentic manhood by treating his wife and family with love, honoring his marriage vows even when it’s hard?

My daughter suffers too. She needs a dad who will encourage her to embrace her femininity and beauty, but these qualities are parodied and distorted in her father’s world. Her dad wears make-up and sex bondage straps for Halloween. She is often exposed to men dressing as women. The walls in his condo are adorned with large framed pictures of women in provocative positions. What is my little girl to believe about her own femininity and beauty? Her father should be protecting her sexuality. Instead, he is warping it.

Without the guidance of both their mother and their father, how can my children navigate their developing identities and sexuality? I ache to see my children struggle, desperately trying to make sense of their world.

My children and I have suffered great losses because of my former husband’s decision to identify as a gay man and throw away his life with us. Time is revealing the depth of those wounds, but I will not allow them to destroy me and my children. I refuse to lose my faith and hope. I believe so much more passionately in the power of the marriage covenant between one man and one woman today than when I was married. There is another way for those with same-sex attractions. Destruction is not the only option—it cannot be. Our children deserve far better from us.

This type of devastation should never happen to another spouse or child. Please, I plead with you: defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. We must stand for marriage—and for the precious lives that marriage creates.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/09/13692/

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Kate Shellnutt: Jesus Loves the Little Children… But I Don’t

A childless millennial’s quest to become a “kid person.”

To say I don’t have kids is an understatement. I barely interact with children, save for brief conversations with friends and fellow churchgoers with offspring in tow.

I can’t remember the last time I changed a diaper, pushed a stroller, or let a kid win at board games. When a friend passed her newborn to me this spring, I admitted it had been years since I held a baby.

And in 2014, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s no longer a given in our society that every woman, or even every married woman, will have kids or want to have kids.

Absolutely, marriage and family remain a priority in Christian and evangelical circles. It may seem like a week doesn’t go by without another pregnancy announcement popping up on Facebook or another desperate plea to help with the full church nursery, but in general, Americans are having fewer kids. Actually, fewer kids than ever.

Among us childbirth-delaying millennials, it’s not uncommon for whole circles of friends—20-somethings and 30-somethings—to be childfree. We live in a society where we have fewer opportunities to interact with children because, in general, everybody—our brothers and sisters (if we have siblings—more of us are only children than ever), our classmates, our coworkers, our neighbors—are less likely to have them.

Here’s how TIME outlined the numbers in its “The Childfree Life” cover story:

The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history, which includes the fertility crash of the Great Depression. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%.

A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.

Even before the recession hit, in 2008, the proportion of women ages 40 to 44 who had never given birth had grown by 80%, from 10% to 18%, since 1976, when a new vanguard began to question the reproductive imperative.

For married women who don’t have kids, or simply don’t have kids yet, an increasingly childless culture can take the pressure off. There are still people who badger, “When are you going to have kids?,” but that question doesn’t come up as much when surrounded by kid-free friends.

And not only do some childless folks not want kids of their own, they also don’t want to be around other people’s kids. Our worst kid-hatred comes out during travel (leading to a new airline class “for the child-intolerant” in Asia), but also atrestaurants, in movies, and on Facebook.

Some of the most unabashedly childfree won’t keep their preferences secret when faced with rambunctious offspring. They’ll tell you in a “no-offense,” joking tone: “That’s why I’m never having kids.” Or, “Aren’t you sick of them?” Deep down, they mean it.

Parents, of all people, are in on it too. Social media updates gripe about their kids of all ages, as if they’re a part of the anti-kid PR team: Pregnancy’s gross! Babies are a mess! Kids interfere with your plans! The whole thing is too expensive!

The most talked about parenting book of the year, Jennifer Senior’s New York Times bestseller, All Joy and No Fun, argued that happiness may be a misguided expectation for childrearing. “Senior scrupulously chronicles the lack of fun. The joy, she admits, is difficult to quantify,” writes onereview.

Parents also gush about their kids—but the conversation about children can so quickly skew negative, with rarely any pushback for the child-averse. No one dares to question a person who “just doesn’t like kids.”

There are plenty of single people and childless people who love kids, but for a while, I was not one of them. Never struck with baby fever, I distanced myself from children and occasionally repeated smug lines about the perks and freedoms of childlessness.

That changed once my best friend revealed to me earlier this year that she was going to have a baby. I didn’t have to fake my excitement; I started crying right in the baby section of Target, where I happened to be shopping for a gift when she called. I knew this was not going to be some tiny human that I could nod approvingly toward and then ignore. This was my best friend’s baby, and both of them were going to be a part of my life for a long time.

I started paying more attention to the mothers I knew and to their kids—no matter how sad their fussy faces, how sticky their fingers, how nonsensical their questions. I willed myself to like them. I reminded myself that there were many topics that Jesus was silent on in Scripture, but how we should treat children was not one of them.

In Mark, Jesus takes a child into his arms and tells the disciples, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mark 9:36-37, ESV). In Matthew, he says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). The Savior of the world is not too busy or too holy for playtime. His call to care for children is as direct and straightforward as, “Love thy neighbor.” Even if your neighbor can’t quiet talk or walk or read yet.

Little by little, my fear and dismissal of parenting has grown into downright awe. I still find kids to be annoying and needy and cringe at wailing babies and dripping toddler noses, but I’m trying. There are lessons to be learned from the mouths of babes.

People may have a range of reasons for not wanting or not liking children, but I realized that my kid-aversion had its roots in a familiar, dark place: my desire for control. As every parent will tell you, and has told me, kids don’t come with a foolproof guide. From the littlest moments (Why are you crying?) to the biggest questions (How will you turn out?), we won’t always be able to figure them out, to program them, to raise them perfectly. Even as a non-parent, that frustrates me and scares me.

The childless-inept, perhaps, can remember that Christ is with us in the nursery and at babysitting time too. It is God who qualifies us, who takes our obedient, open-hearted not enoughs and multiplies them to more than we expect.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2014/september/jesus-loves-little-children-but-i-dont-.html?paging=off

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NEW PARENTS READ THIS: To the lady ashamed of being pregnant with her fourth

I met you in the elevator on my way back from the pediatrician’s office. It was just me and Wren, and you looked at her fondly in her stroller. When the elevator doors opened, you very kindly held the doors open for me. As I clumsily maneuvered the stroller past you, I accidentally ran over your foot. “Don’t worry about it,” you assured me over my profuse apologies. “I have three children myself,” you revealed to me. My eyes traveled to your big belly. There was an awkward pause as I wondered if I could assume she was pregnant. “And I’m expecting my fourth,” you admitted. “Congratulations!,” I tell her. “That is wonderful!” I see the relief spread across her face. “Thank you!” she says, and I could tell she meant it. “You have no idea how many people offer their condolences when they find out this is my fourth. Or they ask me if this was planned.” “How rude of them,” I reply. “All children are a blessing.”

As we parted ways, I felt an immense sorrow for what our society has become. When did having a large family become equivalent to a tragic event? Why do people think that seeing a mother with lots of children automatically entitle them to make rude comments concerning her family planning? Countless strangers in grocery stores have seen me with my three little ones and impertinently asked me how many children I was planning on having. I don’t know, person I have never met before. Tell you what, how about next week I will bring my husband here and all three of us will discuss our family planning and come up with a number you find suitable. Or figure out which ones to eliminate if you feel I have too many already. But honestly, the only answer for the impertinent question of how many children I am going to have is: all of them.

And why are people so obsessed with whether a pregnancy is “planned” or not? Does the child from a “planned” pregnancy have more value than the child of an “unplanned” pregnancy? As to the answer to this other impertinent question, my only answer is: yes, God planned for this child from time immemorial, and I will do my best with this life that is entrusted to me.

There seems to be some unspoken rule that you are only allowed to have two children: one girl and one boy, about 2-5 years apart. If you mess up and fail to meet the gender quota of one of each, you are permitted to go out on a limb and have a third. However, you will risk endless ridicule from strangers if you really mess up and end up with (God forbid ) THREE of the same gender. I have never understood this stock portfolio approach to child bearing. If you are looking for variety, you get plenty of that within the same gender, trust me. Besides, I hate to point out the obvious, but no matter what you plan on having, you get what you get. As much as we want to, we can’t control everything. Especially when it comes to child bearing. I’m ok with that mostly because I’m religious, but I’m digressing from the point of this post.

I have three girls who are each about a year apart. This, for some reason, makes people feel uncomfortable. They are constantly trying to rationalize my unconscionable decision to have that many children so close in age with either: 1) that we kept unsuccessfully trying for a boy, or 2) we are “getting it out of the way quickly”. To be honest, I don’t even know what # 2 means. We’re having children, not going in for a root canal. I have stopped even trying to explain to people that no, we just like having children. That just doesn’t compute. Who would have three children close together ON PURPOSE? Because, I mean, isn’t it difficult? And so not worth it? Maybe if I told them I am a rebel who is swimming against the stream I will garner more support. Being rebellious is always cool, right?

Benjamin Franklin was one of ten children, Beethoven was one of seven, and JFK was one of nine! Every child has the potential to do something great in the world. So please, give the mother of these children the support and encouragement she needs whether it is her first child or her ninth. Because your last child deserves just as much excitement as your first.

And to the lady in the elevator, a thousand times congrats. You are truly blessed.

http://sylcell.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/to-the-lady-ashamed-of-being-pregnant-with-her-fourth/

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Family Structure Study by The Witherspoon Institute

This study is ground breaking as it disproves “the “no differences” claim—the claim that children raised by parents in gay or lesbian relationships fared no worse and in some cases better than children raised by intact biological parents. On the contrary, the children of these households, on average, did worse than children raised by their biological, still-married parents.” I can confirm this as an education major because in two of the texts book I use for class proudly present the above claim.

Some quotes from the book Adolescence by Ian McMahan:

“Children of gay and lesbian parents are just as mature and well adjusted, on average, as children of heterosexual parents”-(Golombok et al., 2003; Patterson, 2006) (Page. 169)

“Comparisons of adolescents living with parent couples who are same sex and other-sex show similar levels of self-esteem, school achievement, functioning with peers, involvement in romantic relationships and problem behaviors.”-Wainwright & Patterson, 2006, 2008; Wainwright, Russell, & Patterson, 2004) (Page. 169)

“The huge majority of children of gay or lesbian parents, over 90%, develop a heterosexual orientation as adults. This is essentially the same percentage as in children raised by heterosexual parents.”-(Baily & Dawood, 1998; Golombok & Tasker, 1996; Gottman, 1990; Tasker & Golombok, 1997) (Page 169)

What is being said by this study by the Witherspoon Institute, is that this claim of “no difference” is not true, and children actually do worse in these environments of gay and lesbian relationships. There is also damage done to a child when they are in a single parent home, divorced home etc. When you view the study you will see the above quotes hold no water when it comes to comparing them against the study that has been done. What makes this study ground breaking is that it is the first  scientific statistics that have been produced that show the negative affect of same sex marriage/relationship on the child.

For the Christian, the plan cannot be to remain silent on issues like this. With legislation that is being passed, the state is setting itself up in opposition of Christianity. There is a thinking that we can just remain silent and do our own thing. That is not good enough for the LGBT group. They want the Christian to be in full support of their way of life, or you will be labeled as a bigot or homophobic. There is no you live your life and I live my life with the LGBT crowd. God created marriage between 1 man and 1 Female. Anything other then that, will have serious short term and long term affects on adults and children.

Please go to www.familystructurestudies.com to view this ground breaking and shocking data researched by The Witherspoon Institute.

 

 

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