Tag Archives: family

Hope For My Daughter, Hope For Myself

When my wife found out she was pregnant with our second child—wow, over nine-and-a-half years ago now—we had the usual expectations, we experienced the usual joys, and we asked the usual questions.

One of those questions was: As a second child, will we still have the same level of delight, celebration, and accomplishment when she achieves all of her “firsts”, just like we did with her big brother? You know: that first word, those first steps, the first day of school, the first time left with kids groups at church, so on and so on?

After we found out she had Down syndrome, many of those questions, and that one in particular, went out the window.

Of course we celebrated every first, because every first was such a struggle—sometimes for her, more often for us—and such a triumph that we couldn’t help but rejoice.

One of the things she exhibits that I am still in awe and wonder of, even to this day, is her ability to approach most all of these situations, including school, and play, and new kids, and new places, with such a sense of enjoyment and unencumbered innocence.

No, it’s not that “these kids are always ssssoooooo happy”, (anyone with a child with a disability is laughing at that stereotype right now), but there is a genuine purity there, untethered by fear, or doubt, or labels, or prejudice.

I hope she never loses that.

If I have a worry for her, as she grows older, especially with the coming move from elementary to middle school, it’s that I hope she never loses that sense of wonder and innocence.

The odds are against her.

Against us.

But here’s the main reason why I hope she never loses that:

To me, what she shows us—shows her peers, shows the world—is what I see as a little glimpse of what heaven will one day be like.

I think the wonder, the awe, the sheer sense of joy in play, in discovery, in interaction, regardless of what it is she’s doing or who she’s doing it with, is exactly what I hope to feel one day in heaven, without all the burdens of this world. Without the bias, without the judgment, without the worry, without the stress, without the hatred and pain and intolerance and suffering and class warfare and jealousy and pettiness and sorrow.

Without all that, what’s left?

Pretty much all that remains is what I see in my daughter’s eyes as she runs off to Kid’s Quest every Sunday, as she spots a tire swing on a playground, as she sees another girl about her age in the Missoula KOA pool on a mid-summer’s afternoon, as she grasps a bowl of frozen blueberries in her tiny hands and runs off to watch Frozen for the 4,786th time.

Again, I hope she never loses that.

And I hope, one day, I find it.

Oh, I know one day I will, but I really hope to find it before that time. Before I cross over some ethereal plane of existence.

I hope it doesn’t come to that before I realize the simple pleasure of a perfectly made salsa; the stunning scenery of a road trip; the otherworldly colors of a sunset—ANY sunset; the soft skin of my wife’s cheek; the look of conspiracy on my son’s face as I say “yes” to something that sounds really cool and just a bit dangerous.

And the awesome power and stunning beauty of lightning!

How about you? What’s your joy?

What is it that, when you think about it, or are in the midst of doing it, that little voice inside your head says, “Man, I wish it could be like this all the time”?

And my next question would be…what keeps it from being so?

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Some Questions Arising From My Recent Post on the John MacArthur Controversy

Anthony Baker, from Therecoveringlegalist.com, had some excellent questions for me following my post on “A Response to the John MacArthur Controversy…”

I answered him in a commentary reply, but I wanted to expand on these answers just a bit and allow for others to wrestle with them as well, and to chime in if the Spirit moves.

Thank you, Anthony, for the great, probing, questions:

First, I must say that I am very concerned with the glee and anticipation of evangelical Christianity falling by the wayside, fundamental or not. I tend to wonder what others consider the options to be? Is it only the legalists and the Pharisees that are being ushered off the cliff with rejoicing? Or, is there really a problem with proactive Christianity as a whole? Do I hear the voices of biblical grace, or is it simply the post-modern, pluralistic mindset calling all to dance at the funeral of dogma?

Are there no other options for the future of Christianity other than evangelic or fundamentalism? Do you not see any other options, thoughts, or ideas?

Also, you use words like “glee”, “anticipation”, “rejoicing”, and “dancing at the funeral” about those who you deem as seeing an imminent end to the evangelic or fundamental mindset. Though I grant you that a small percentage within the more progressive outlook would likely feel these emotions, I don’t know of any reasonable Christian, no matter their views, who would feel this way about anyone whose beliefs may differ even though those views may be losing hold on the majority opinion. If mine, or anyone else I have sited, now or in the past, have made it appear as if I am gleeful or rejoicing to see this more conservative thinking being called out, I apologize, though I do not retract the need to call these (in my humble opinion) antiquated opinions out, if for no other reason than the harm that they do, and for the sheer lack of grace, humility and mercy shown by those opinions.

Whether or not this is the intention of those stating that opinion, I have no idea, but this is the way it tends to come across…especially to those about whom they are so callously speaking. This is not “speaking the truth in love”. The speaker does not get to decide whether or not what is said is loving. The hearer makes that decision, simple as that. And if the hearer does not “feel the love”, maybe it’s time we—all of us Christians—change our approach.

I suppose this would be my own personal offering of “another option”.

…the quote of Benjamin Corey (linked here) does nothing to put 1 Corinthians in the proper context. All he does is water down, if not muddy what should have been perfectly clear: blatant, unrepentant sin cannot be allowed to run rampant, nor celebrated, within the church.

Personally, I felt that this was exactly the point Corey brought forth: blatant, unrepentant sin cannot be allowed to run rampant—the entire laundry list, not just one, and it’s time to stop the cherry-picking.

It’s rather easy to pull out one particular sin-du-jour, if only because  it is currently socially acceptable to do so, while not giving equal due to any of the other sins Paul points up as well. Not to mention, speaking of context, the sexual immorality that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 5 has nothing to do with homosexuality.

I do not state the previous sentences lightly, but it bears repeating; it is socially acceptable, in today’s conservative Christian circles, even demanded and applauded, to single out this one sin and therefore ostracize an entire group of people. This should not be. This is not our job, even under the tired banner of “speaking the truth in love” as I said previously.

I suppose another “option” I would put forth is to, instead, invite people inside—all people, regardless of sin nature or past history—make room in the pews, invite them to a communal meal, develop a meaningful, heartfelt relationship, and let the Holy Spirit do His work—on both of you/us. That’s His job, and He’s rather good at it if we, well intended Christians, would simply get out of the way and let Him work. If Christians are going to throw around phrases like “we’re all sinners”, and “every sin is equal in the sight of the Lord”, and “none of us are any ‘better’”, then this should be the practical interpretation of those phrases.

Further, what do we know of anyone’s struggles, emotional or physical, and who are we to paint those struggles on a placard and hang it around the neck of someone with whom we disagree? And yes, I’m speaking to both sides of the proverbial fence here. We all wrestle with our own, often carefully hidden, sin habits. What if a well-meaning body of believers came together and cast you out after the seventh “failure” to turn away, unknowing that it would have been the eighth time that would have brought you “home”? How many times are we asked, by Jesus, to forgive? Seven times?

Trying to relate how Jesus was hated because He was the one who actually ate with sinners is completely (1000%) off the mark, completely out of context.

I would respectfully disagree here as well. Matthew 11 has Jesus saying:

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

And, Matthew 9 says (probably one of the dinners Jesus was speaking of):

10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”

They may not have “hated” him, but they certainly questioned his choice of company and methodology (which sounds eerily similar to the conservative/progressive debate today).

And, what were the “sinners” sins? It never says, and my own belief is that it doesn’t say because that’s not the point. The point was Jesus’ example, as you have said, freely associating with the least of these (at least in society’s eyes) “in order draw them to Himself”. And here, you and I would be in agreement, which is in what I, too, said previously: invite them to a communal meal, develop a meaningful, heartfelt relationship, and let the Holy Spirit do His work. “…when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed…”

 

A Response to the John MacArthur Controversy (I Can Hold My Tongue No Longer)

As most of my readers know, I am usually loathed to wade into the fray of hot-button topics. But this one…Oh, this one.

I would have broken my jaw had I continued to bite my tongue as hard as I did on this one. I couldn’t do it. I have to speak my mind here. My more conservative brothers can feel free to disagree with me on this one, but I can’t remain silent. Continue reading A Response to the John MacArthur Controversy (I Can Hold My Tongue No Longer)

Four Lies Culture Tells us About Living Together Before Marriage

I thought this was a great article and deserved passing on:

Four Lies Culture Tells us About Living Together Before Marriage

There were a couple thoughts on it I wanted to expand on:

First, when the article says, “So, if a guy won’t pursue a relationship with you because you refuse to move in with him, is he the guy you really want to be with?”, the obvious answer is ‘no!’. But even more, I think this is where a certain inherent self-worth and inner-resolve needs to come in, yet is still really, really difficult to hold fast to.

You really like the guy. You think he just might be “the one”. All he’s asking is for you to do this one thing. And it’s not reeeallllyyy a big thing when you think about it. I mean, we’ll be living together soon enough anyway…why not just start it now. He’s a really, really nice guy. Not like those other guys. This article is just talking about all those other guys. Not this guy. You really like this guy. He might just be “the one”.

Round and round it goes. Then you cave.

Could this guy be a really nice guy? Most likely. Could you really be missing out on a great relationship (at least for a while) if you don’t cave to his request? Maybe.

That’s what makes it really, really hard.

But societal change has to start somewhere. It’s not magic. It’s not rocket science either. Why not start with you? Why not start now? Flippant, maybe, but many answers regarding faith, belief, and conviction, really are that easy, that flippant, AND that hard…because this answers often run so counter to what our culture has manifested.

It’s hard/good to be different. It’s hard/good to be weird. And most importantly, it’s hard/good to stand for something of worth.

YOU. ARE. OF. WORTH!!!

Even better, I can guarantee you that the guy you do hold out for will be worth infinitely more in the long run, as will your inner resolve to hold fast to your own convictions…which will include a willingness to work through the inevitable tough times that will come. Which leads me to the second thought…

Second, I also felt this was a great quote: “The truth is, you can’t “practice” marriage. Marriage is a permanent commitment. And you’ll never know what the other person will do if you get cancer or lose your job until it happens years (perhaps even decades) down the road. That’s part of the risk—part of the adventure. That’s why part of the marriage vow says, “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.” (emphasis mine)

If you get nothing else out of this article, even if you choose not to click on the link and read the full text, we all—whether currently involved in a relationship, or seeking, or soon to seek—need to “get” the full implications of this quote.

I hope ya’ll take the time to read the article though. It’s well worth the precious few minutes it will take.