Saturday, June 21, 2008

Teens and Facebook

Hello Mike,

I hesitate to write, thinking my question may sound trite or just downright foolish in some way. Or I fear the fact that I am just turning into grumpy old lady! But here it goes. What are your thoughts about teenagers engaging in the social activity of FACEBOOK? Is there anything I could read on the subject that would help in making decisions on the matter. I would also like to know how you and Eileen feel personally on the subject.

I am thinking along the lines of 'Ideas Have Consequences' but unfortunately Richard Weaver does not address this in his book.

Blessings, and hope you are having a wonderful summer!


Hi Sally,

I don't have a problem with teens doing Facebook as long as they know what they are doing. They should know that the whole world is watching what they are doing, that they represent Jesus Christ in everything they do, that they can be just as stupid online as anywhere else, and that Facebook is a public forum. I would make sure that the parents have all the necessary passwords and regularly look at and even participate in the event. It should be an extension of normal life in the family, no secrets, no sneakiness, no deception, no flirting, oh yeah I almost forgot—have fun.

It would probably good for the elders to visit the kids in the church's blogs, Facebook and whatever else is out there. In many ways people write, do and say much more on line than they ever would in public and in person because they have this illusion that they are being private or bold or some other goofy thing that really isn't true.

Teach them to love the Lord and let them go nuts, that's what I say.

If you let them have a Facebook and they abuse it, clamp down hard and give them the freedom back slowly. But let them know that you will be participating in it and will be looking in on it from time to time--and then do what you say.

I hope this helps,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What's the Beef?

Howdy Willamina,

All of what you say is true, at least as far as I can remember. But nothing is happening and something needs to happen for anything to happen. So, when I talk to your husband, I'll be saying, “get back together with your wife.” And when I talk to you, I'll say, “do something to get back together with your husband.”

My suggestion is a way for you to make sure that what you're thinking is correct. It may also give us something we can grab in our hands and do something with. Right now, we are hearing one thing from you and another from Samuel. From our perspective it sounds like two proud people not getting along. No one wants to bend; no one wants to give an inch. If we were dealing with two small children we would tell them to hug and stop being this way. But with adults, we can't do that—exactly.

From another perspective, the Bible says to love your enemies and thus pour burning coals on their heads (Rom. 12). If you move in with Samuel, even if he hasn't forgiven you, you will still be in a position to love him and, through your loving kindness to him, make him feel terrible for treating you badly. Right now, there is nothing to make him even start to rethink what is going on.

Let me say this again, he thinks your reason for not moving in—because you have a dog and a cat—is just an excuse to choose something over him, again. If you really wanted to live with him as his wife, you would do whatever you needed to do to make it happen. I don't think this is totally right thinking, but it does make me wonder.

Of course my wife and I are in a very different situation than you guys, but I would bet you money that if I came home one day and announced that we were selling our house and moving down town to the Moscow Hotel, Eileen would be packing the next day and working to get rid of things so that we would fit in the new place. She might ask a few questions, but none of them would be challenges to my place as the leader of the family. You could ask her yourself, but this is what I would bet would be the case.

The essential difference is that Eileen trusts me, but more than that, I would hope, is that she trusts God to take care of her and us. I would not be asking her to sin, just move. God says to submit to him and in this situation that means submit to her husband.

So, what would it hurt for you to ask if Samuel's invitation still stands and then if it is, move in with him? What would it hurt for you to clean up after him and cook for him and care for him when he's sick? What would it hurt for you to get all slinky and lovey-dovey with him and get all dolled up and make the place all foofy and smelly? What would it hurt to make his house like a castle of which he is the king? What would it hurt for you to bow down and call him lord (1 Peter 3:1-6)? What would it hurt for you to do this for the rest of your life?

Of course it would be difficult if he didn't respond in a loving way, but if God is responding in a loving way, and he is, what's the beef? The thing is, this is what the Bible says for a wife to do when her husband is being a pill, and your husband is being a pill. The only thing you can do is to be the best wife to him that any man ever had, and to do it consistently and constantly until "death do you part."

I hope this helps.

In Him,

Americans are Pro-Slavery

I saw this and wondered why anyone can’t see the truth of it. What is it about people that they can’t understand that taking money from one person and giving it to another person hurts both people? When you forcibly take money from hard working Billy and give it to lazy Bobby you hurt Billy by stealing his hard earned money from him and tempting him to quit and become lazy. And you hurt Billy by reinforcing his laziness. Why work if you get money from the government for not working? And while Billy might not be making as much as if he actually earned his own money, he is content to live off the spoils of what other people make. It is just amazing that people can’t see this. It is even more amazing that it seems that those who can’t see it seem to be a majority in our country, including rich people from whom the most money is being stolen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Snowing

Snow at my house and all over the Palouse.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Identity in Christ

Ours has become a culture of victimization. Being the victim of a crime or some kind of sin is an awful thing. No one disputes this. But in our culture being a victim has taken on a life far beyond what the crime or sin itself warrants. Being sinned against does change your life and it changes it forever, but our culture has made a sort of cult out of being a victim. People who have become victims often change the way they view themselves so that the crime or sin against them becomes the focus of their entire life. The awful event becomes central in their lives. Their basic identity is tied to the sin-filled event in a fundamental way. They often come to the place where they think of themselves as a survivor of X, or someone who has had X happen to them, or someone who is X. Consequently, they form clubs, groups, and organizations with other people of X. Many see this as normal and even a way to cope with or overcome the terrible emotional scarring that this sort of event creates in someone’s soul.

But is this a good thing for someone to whom X has happened? Are they condemned to spend the rest of their lives tied to this despicable event that happened to them? Is there any remedy? Will they always be an X victim?

The Bible tells us that when someone sins against us we are to forgive their sins. Forgiveness means to let it go, to let them go, to not hold the sin against them, and to not remember that sin or event again. "But you don't understand how terrible the sin was. You don't know the pain, the agony, the constant hurt. The event happened years ago, but the pain is ever present. Thoughts of X constantly fill my mind. Let it go? You're out of your mind. X is such an ever present force in my life, it literally defines who I am. To let X go would be like becoming another person entirely."

And that's exactly what the Bible says about coming to Christ. Jesus said "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." He says, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me." He says the way you get a new life is to be reborn, to become someone new, to start over. In all these things the person who is characterized by X needs to give X up so they can become Christ’s. They need to forgive those who have sinned against them. They need to cling to Christ. They need to trust God to take care of the situation. They need to let it go. Let Christ give them His identity. Stop being an X person - become a Christian. And this reminds us to confess our sins.

Prayer of Praise

Great God of glory, we praise Your name from the mountains to the ocean. From the canyons to the plains. We adore Your majesty from one end of the earth to the other, our praise has not limits because your presence has no end.

You order all things for Your glory, and we desire to participate in that glory by praising you with right praises; delighting in your person and presence in the same way You do. Father, Your zeal for Your name is great, and in our praises we seek to imitate that zeal. Empower us by the Holy Spirit, now, so that we may enter into your presence and adequately express some of that zeal.

Cause us to lose ourselves in your presence and so to keep from exalting ourselves. Keep us from taking any pride in the fact that you have favored us, but cause us to remember that it is for your sake you have chosen us and nothing in us at all.

Take us up, lift us up out of petty concerns, so that we might praise Your name without any self centered distractions.

We praise Your holy name


Monday, June 02, 2008

The Right Thing & The Best Thing

Some parents came to me this past weekend with a fairly common question common to a lot of parents: their high school daughter had done some things to some sinful things against some other g irls when she was in junior high school. Since then, she had matured and repented of her sin, gone to the other g irls and asked for forgiveness. In return the other g irls had said that they forgave her, but they couldn’t be her friend. By itself there' s nothing really wrong with this answer, but in addition, from then on, the g irls been consistently rude and mean spirited towards her ever since. This rude treatment of their daughter was causing the understandable stress in her life and she wanted to change schools and churches (the g irls all go to the same church). The parents wanted to know what I thought they ought to do for their daughter.

Here is my 2 cents: First, it sounds like the daughter, we’ll call her Susie, did the right thing when she realized her sin toward her friends. She should have gone to them, confessed her sin, and humbly asked for their forgiveness. Second, if her perception of what has taken place since then is correct, she is right to feel like she has been sinned against by the other s in their treatment of her. Third, Susie has every right to do everything she can to get away from these s, if they are treating her badly. She is free to do what she wants in this regard. Romans 12:18 says that “if possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” So, I would say that as a minimum, or in terms of the least possible to do, leaving the school and the church is a permissible choice.

However, there is a deeper, more godly way to proceed; a way that instead of allowing things to remain the same, will work to build up the kingdom of God. When others hurt our feelings and hearts they are doing us a very grievous disservice, but leaving doesn’t change anything. Instead it leaves the possibility for a root of bitterness to take hold and grow into something that destroy Susie’s personality and life in the future. Leaving will train her to hide and run away whenever things get tough and this isn’t a good thing in many situations (marriage for instance).

I believe there are at least two things that Susie ought to do try to make this terrible situation right: First, she needs to make sure that she has forgiven these other s. She needs to do what she wanted them to do for her. Forgiveness means, among other things, to not hold the offense against them and to not remember the offense at all. Someone will say that forgiveness cannot be given or extended unless the one sinning asks for it. Officially that is true. Susie must let the offense go, however, or it will eat her alive. She will always remember the offenses and they will grow in her mind like the last fish I caught grows in my memory. And if the memory brings back the pain and anger it will also bring bitterness and this is a grievous sin that Susie is not committing. The only antidote is for Susie to let it go; forget it; don’t remember it; don’t keep bringing it up in her mind; when it pops in, chase it away and pelt it with big rocks. Susie needs to remember that in same way we want God to forgive us, we need to forgive those who have sinned against us. And God in Christ has forgiven us for far more than whatever those mean s did to Susie. She can afford to stop blaming them and acting like she is a victim. In fact, since she wants to be a godly , she cannot afford not to forgive them.

The second thing Susie needs to do in this situation is to take the next step after forgiveness and that is to actively love those s. In Romans 12 it says:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21

Once Susie has let the way those s acted toward her go and has given the whole situation over to God to take care of, she needs to turn her attention to loving those s. The text says to bless those who persecute you. Did those s persecute Susie? Yes they did. Are they still doing it? Presumably. Will they continue if Susie does something loving on their behalf? Probably. Should she stop looking for ways to love them and bless them? Not at all. The text says that God will take care of those who do evil toward Susie. She just needs to keep loving them and trusting that God will vindicate her love some day. He loves her and he loves those other s. Susie cannot be overcome by evil; instead she needs to overcome evil by pouring herself into loving those s.

Here are some suggestions for ways that Susie can be loving toward those s and so heap burning coals on their heads. She can go out of her way to say hello and good morning to them, with a chipper smile and cheerful countenance. She can do things for them when she sees that they need some help; she can hold their books while they put on their coats, hold doors for them, give them kind comments on things they obviously care about (their new hairdo, dress, etc.). She can invite them to parties, invite them over for study sessions, she can be nice to other s in the class that are also being snubbed by these s, and she can be winsome and cheerful in spite of the way she has been treated.

Susie needs to know that forgiving these s is not an option. If she does not forgive them, neither will her Father in Heaven forgive her her sins (Mt. 6:15). Continued hurt feelings, anger, the desire for vengeance, and bitterness are the reasons why people refuse to forgive. These are all sins and manifestations of Susie’s own rebellion against God. They must not be allowed to continue, whatever else happens.

Susie has the right to leave the school and even the church, it would not be sin, but the godly approach, the one Jesus ed for us would be to stay in both the school and the church and love those s who treated her so shamefully. She will stay and pour it on and do it because of the fear of God and love for her Savior who stayed and loved her even though she was his enemy.