29 July 2009

Boo! Hiss!

There's something wrong with this picture...

Warner Bros.' new horror movie Orphan proclaims that:
"It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own."

I beg your pardon?

Let me get this straight: in this age of over-zealous, political correctness, it's not ok to bash any group of people EXCEPT... oh, let's say, a child who has lost both parents?
In a time when orphanages are overrun and the foster care system busting at the seams, Hollywood thinks it's perfectly acceptable to paint orphans as little sociopaths waiting to destroy your family.
Oh, it's a horror film all right.
I'm horrified that this movie even made it into production.

Hey, while we're at it, why don't we go ahead and make fun of the children starving in Ethiopia, too? I mean, there's gotta be some good fodder there, right?
Really, what makes them -- what made ANYONE who approved this movie, at any level -- think this was acceptable?
And why would we, who know and love many former orphans, support such rubbish at the expense of children?
I have several friends (like Carole)who have adopted and whom I admire greatly for doing so. Their adoption experiences have been nothing short of amazing. This film is an insult to them and everything they hold dear.

Yeah, yeah... I know... this isn't the first movie to take a swipe at orphans or to make light of psychopathy in children.

It's just "make believe;" what's the big deal?

The big deal is this:
Unless you are willing to step up and actually DO something productive to help the people you mean to exploit, then you really should keep your labels to yourself. We don't really need another horror flick, but millions of children really do need a home.

The ONLY thing this movie will accomplish is to hurt the adoption and foster care programs.
Those prospective parents who have lingering doubts about adoption will leave this film convinced that adopting is not for them.
Meanwhile, as the movie's execs sit around counting their millions, 145 million children will go to bed tonight without a real home and without a family.

I've got news for Hollywood; that's NOT entertainment.

If you feel the same, then I urge you to please visit:

25 July 2009

Bon Qui Qui Encore

After the past week, I needed a good laugh. So here it is again... this just never gets old:

21 July 2009

Are You Living Your Dream?

This fall marks the 3rd annual Healing Place Church Women's Conference: Live the Dream
I cannot adequately express to you how important this conference will be.
You see, I almost didn't go to the first one... I thought, "Well, I guess I should go to support my church & Pastor DeLynn," but my heart was not really in it at the time. I simply saw it as one more thing on my extremely long "to-do" list.

That changed almost immediately.
The opening sequence had me in tears within the first 5 minutes. That was followed by amazing worship and incredibly talented speakers.
The entire weekend went beyond all expectations.
There was hilarious entertainment, great food, and luxurious pampering and gifts. Most of all, there were strong women speakers, who had been through some very bad things in their lives, encouraging other women to step up to the plate.

For 3 days, we laughed, we cried, we cheered, and most of all... we were forever changed.

That first conference occurred not long after I had been given my own dream about this book that I am now finishing. I had not really done much with it by that point, but the ladies who spoke that weekend set my heart on fire.
They talked about how we are each given a task in this life -- a journey, or race, if you will -- and it is up to us to finish that race. It's so easy to get side-tracked and start looking behind you to see what (and who) you've left behind. But this is when we are most likely to trip and fall. (It's impossible to successfully run forward while looking back)

Equally dangerous is looking toward others running their races in their own lanes. What happens, when we start longing for different dreams and gifts, is we start to drift into the lanes of other's, into things we were never meant to pursue.
And that can lead to feelings of inadequacy or frustration.
It doesn't matter what your neighbor is doing or if you think you are "behind."
The important thing is to keep your eyes on the prize and finish strong, completing the work God has put before you.

Let go of what's gone and stop living in the past; Look to your future and make that dream a reality.

I can't tell you how much those words and that weekend changed my life.
I stopped taking for granted this short time I have here.
I vowed to step up and be obedient to the call I knew I had been given.
I quit worrying about what others might think and just tried to please the only One Who really matters.
I began to walk in my own lane, and then I began to run in freedom.

This year's conference will be nothing less than inspiring for all who attend with an open heart.
If you are in need of encouragement and refreshing, you do not want to miss it.
I have never regretted my decision to go; indeed, I thank God I decided to go!
You will, too.

Guest speakers this year are: Christine Caine, Bobbie Houston, Charlotte Gambill, and Natalie Grant.
Trust me when I say, you've never seen or heard anything like this before!
Click here to register or for more info:

To see the awesome video recap from last year's conference,


17 July 2009

Where No Church Has Gone Before...

Stardate: 2009 AD

Actually, I can't say "no church" because I'm sure other churches have visited Bourbon Street, but probably not with the same mission we have tonight.

Tonight is Midnight Outreach Training in New Orleans with Church of the King.
We have actually done training with them before & this will be our 3rd time going to Bourbon Street. I smile when I think about my church and how lucky I am to belong to one who allows us to do this outreach. We are very blessed!

Training for this outreach is extremely important. We have rules and they are there to keep us safe as well as to protect the ministry we are trying to do.
As I've mentioned before, we don't preach at the girls or look down on them or make them feel small in any way. We don't gawk or point or act superior.
That is not our purpose.
We look them right in the eyes and smile and hand them a rose (and often, some other small gift).

The 1st time we visited the strip clubs on Bourbon Street, the ladies working there told us that no one had ever done anything like this before. They were very eager to talk to us and know why we would come down to that part of the French Quarter late at night to give them gifts.
We told them that we wanted them to know they are not forgotten. Some of them invited us to come back.

Attached to the roses and gifts are small cards that will point them back to Church of the King (a non-denominational church) and there is a phone number they can call if they need help.

Tonight, we will also be putting up posters in bathrooms for young women who are caught in the sex-trade industry. Bathrooms are sometimes the only safe havens for these young women and the posters will direct them to a hotline where they can receive immediate assistance.

I've been a part of some great churches who did good work, but I can't imagine any of them doing this.
It's time the church tore down its walls.
We are bringing the church to those who might never visit one, voluntarily.
I pray that some hurting girl will find hope tonight -- a glimpse of another life she never thought possible.
That is our mission.

13 July 2009

A Less Desirable Point of View

I have deliberated whether or not to post about this for a couple of days...
I really do NOT want to turn my blog into a political soapbox or battlefield.

But as a Christian and historian, I just cannot keep quiet about such an egregious lapse in clarity and judgment!
I am referring to the recent interview of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg printed in the New York Times: The Place of Women On the Court

Whether you are pro-life (I am) or pro-choice is irrelevant to my point here.
The real issue is the disturbing implication in what she says regarding abortion. If you click on the above link and go to the end of page 3 & top of page 4, you will see what I mean. For the sake of posterity, I will reprint that portion of the article here:

Q: If you were a lawyer again, what would you want to accomplish as a future feminist legal agenda?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.

Read that last line again.

Then, remember that this is being said by a woman of Jewish ancestry.

Do you see the problem?

She is referring (casually, at that) to EUGENICS.
This is not taken out of context and it is not being distorted.
I have read and re-read this statement several times trying to make some sense of it -- find some useful purpose for her saying it -- but there is none.
It is simply racist, classist, and downright ignorant.

As a student of history and a staunch egalitarian, I am offended by this remark on multiple levels.

First of all, she takes a paternalistic tone toward women of lower socioeconomic status as though she is fighting for their cause (opposing the ruling of no Medicaid funding for abortions). But implicit in her sympathetic overtures is a much uglier form of discrimination:
"and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of"

Beg pardon?
Which populations would those be, Justice Ginsburg?
Poor blacks? Poor whites? The homeless?
The mentally ill or mentally-challenged?
While we're at it, what about those born with grotesque deformities or missing limbs or who are born blind or deaf?
Where -- exactly -- do you draw the line?
How do YOU define populations you seek to limit?

And if this form of reasoning -- and the slippery slope it creates -- sounds vaguely familiar to you, it should.
It was used by NAZI GERMANY as an argument to exterminate the Jewish peoples!

Is that what we have come to?
Defending morally reprehensible choices by using arguments promoted by Hitler, himself?
In Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish peoples who were the "less desirable" population of people.

How can an intelligent woman like Ms. Ginsburg not see the sick irony in her statement?
I completely understand that she *thinks* she is being valiant, defending the unwed mothers of the inner city, but in her zeal to emerge as the "white knight" of abortion rights, she commits a far worse offense than the denial of Medicaid funding ever could.
She devalues the very existence of the people she is supposedly fighting for!
And in the process, she discredits herself with historians and civil rights proponents everywhere.

Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say...
for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." -- Luke 6:45b

10 July 2009

Angry Christians In a Hurting World

I recently engaged in an email debate with an angry commenter here on my blog. I do not know this person, and it is very apparent (from his highly erroneous remarks) that he does not know me.
Don't bother looking for it; I've already deleted his comment.

I now seriously regret ever writing anything -- on his blog, or in response to his emails. I should have known that it would only lead to aggravation and a waste of my time.

You see, I believe there is nothing worse than a self-righteous Christian with a moral agenda.
And to take the bait and try and persuade or correct them is (usually) a lost cause.

I should know; I used to be one.
I used to have a lot of anger about a lot of things.
There's no need to go into it all here, but things from my childhood, my adolescence, and even some frustrating church experiences all fed the anger and bitterness I had inside. Hypocrisy in church leadership and anything-but-Jesus-like behavior from those who sat beside me each Sunday did little to extinguish my smoldering heart.

Because (I'd like to think) I am a kind person with a decent heart, I channeled my anger into noble causes. Rather than just be angry and hateful to everyone, I directed my wrath toward those who were racist, sexist, or in any other way, prejudiced. I denounced those who called themselves Christian while engaging in behavior unworthy of that title.
The blatant irony escaped me.

The problem was not in my noticing their wrong, but in my failure to look inside myself and see my own hypocrisy and poor example.
I called myself a Christian and I still believed in "loving my neighbor," but I had never learned the concept of "GRACE before justice."

For me -- and for most angry Christians -- JUSTICE is the battle cry.
It took years of pain and soul-searching for me to finally realize that God is not all that interested in justice. At least, not in the immediate sense.

If justice were His primary goal & concern, none of us would be given salvation because none of us -- no, not one -- deserves the gift He gave us.
We have done nothing to earn it.
Moreover, He has not given us what we *really* deserve!

While I agree that the Bible gives us a mandate to expose heresy and wrongdoing within our ranks, it does not grant us the right to damn everyone to hades or beat them over the head with our club of righteousness.
Really, what (exactly) do we think that will accomplish?

Anger -- in and of, itself -- is not a sin.
It's what we do in that state of anger that exposes the very nature of our own hearts.
Jesus, Himself, showed righteous anger in the temple.
But the story doesn't end with Jesus driving out the money-changers!
Indeed, of all the many stories and parables we are given to demonstrate how we are to live, righteous anger is only one small part.
Much greater in His teaching and example are the commissions to love one another, forgive one another, and extend one another the grace that we have been given. There are more examples of Jesus' COMPASSION than there are of His anger!

Now, instead of looking for the mistakes of others, I try to see myself the way others perceive me. Do they see Jesus in me or do they only see anger and a passion for justice? My prayer is that God would help me change the faults in my own heart, in my own lack of mercy.

Look, if we are filled with such vile contempt for our fellow man -- even toward those we think most deserve it (our errant brothers and sisters in Christ!) -- then how can we ever represent Jesus to the world who doesn't know Him?
If all the world ever sees is the back-biting and slander and poisonous arrows we fling toward one another, they will never believe our message of love, peace, and hope.
And who could blame them?
In the end, we become the biggest hypocrites of all!
Honestly, I'm surprised that God doesn't just "fire" us all for being such poor representatives of His love and mercy.
But there, again, is a testament to His grace.

What will the world see in you?

07 July 2009

So Much to Say, So Little Time...

I really need to get a laptop.

My OWN laptop.

Being out of town for nearly 2 weeks has done nothing for my writing commitment. I need a computer I can take with me so I can write wherever I go. Of course, the laptop I really want is a bit pricey. I have had my eye on a Mac Book Pro for some time now. I'm starting to think that I should get the smaller one, though, so it will be more portable. And it's about $1000 less than the one I have been drooling over.

My goal is to sell enough on eBay in the next couple of months to purchase it along with the software to make it compatible with my PC. Clay and I are well on our way to becoming debt-free so I don't want to use regular income to make this purchase. I would love to pay for it entirely from eBay earnings.
We'll see.

Arkansas was good, but it went by so fast and I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to see or for as long as I wanted to see them. Despite being there 12 days, I found myself wishing I had another week. Even so, it's good to be home.

Despite my lack of notebook, I did manage to get *some* writing done while I was gone. I purchased a small, spiral-bound journal and used it to make notes as they came to me and to organize my chapter topics. It is my goal to have the book finished (or nearly so) by the end of July.
That may sound ambitious, but I need to focus solely on writing, eBay, and my family this month. Everything else will have to wait.

Oh, and exercise. I have really neglected working out these past few months and I can feel it. I have more energy when I exercise regularly. Besides that; I am stuck. I've lost 87 pounds, but I have stalled out there. Perhaps if I start working out again, it will get things moving.

I could go on and on here about all that has happened over the past couple of weeks, but I think I'll just end it here. There's never enough time to say all that I want.
Besides, my book is calling...