How Did We Get Here?

When did shouting become more important than listening?

When did defending become more important than learning?

When did “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” become “absolutely without error, 100% the voice of God spoken through man as hollow vessel”?

When did “the Word” stop being Jesus Christ and become the Bible?

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When did “I homeschool because my child learns better that way” become, “Homeschoolers always learn better, public schools fail, and God only sanctions homeschooling”?

When did “God has entrusted me with children” become “the opinions of my children don’t matter”?

When did we stop remembering the part of the verse which says “fathers, do not treat your children harshly”?

Why do we talk so much about “submitting” and so little about “loving her as Christ loved the Church, and gave his life for her”?

How do parents get to the point where they ignore the educational aspirations for their children?

And why do those who claim to champion educational freedom shut down children who just want to learn?

Josh had a house full of siblings, distracted parents, and wasn’t learning. He wanted to try public school. His parents said no. So the state said no. He then put himself through community college (including remedial classes) and went on to a top University.

Scott Woodruff, legal counsel for HSLDA, defends Josh’s parents’ choice. He cites Josh’s unsatisfactory homeschooling experience as the reason for his later success.

“Maybe Josh didn’t learn that South Africa was a country while he was being homeschooled. But he arrived at the gates of young adulthood with his inborn desire to learn fully intact, and that has served him very well indeed.”

Really?

Josh’s family didn’t prioritize him as a student or a full member of the family. As a teenager, he was left to his own devices and resources – he was forced to become responsible for his own education. Education that, according to many homeschoolers, should be the responsibility of the parents. His father, Clarence Powell, said “he thinks that as the children age, and as there are fewer at home to educate, things will improve.”

Really?

When did it become OK for some children to matter more than others?

When did it become OK for people to become guinea pigs?

When did our rights as citizens of Earth become more important than our responsibilities as God’s children?

When did nitpicking verses to explain and justify become more important that reflecting the image of God as revealed in Jesus of Nazareth?

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Some things I do not know
Some things I cannot know
But this one thing I ask-
That I seek-
-to dwell in the house of the Lord forever

And on the seventh day God rested. He looked down at the earth, the place he chose in the universe. He looked down at the garden, the place of life. He looked down at mankind. The earth, where he would walk. The man, in whom his spirit would dwell. This place, this planet of dust and grass and water, His Temple. His House. These people, made of dust and blood and water, His Temples. His Houses. In this place is the Lord’s spirit.

Will we keep his Temple pure and full of life and love?
Or ignore the indwelling God to chase after self and ashes?

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{face the music and the music is that we can’t look past our own noses}

I long for a less barbaric world. Where people make sacrifices for the greater good, instead of fight tooth and nail for comfortable, quick legislation. I long for a world selfless enough to abandon IFV, and instead invest in (real) adoption and foster care. I long for a world dignified enough to look back on our abortion days with shame and disgust.

Fact: Abortion does not save women from poverty or unwanted children.

Adoption does those things. If you haven’t noticed, this country doesn’t have orphanages. We don’t have rooms lined with cribs of unwanted babies. People want babies. People spend years fighting and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars so they can adopt a 2 month old instead of a 2 year old.

Don’t feed me statistics about how unwanted babies have worse lives, therefore, abortion. People. want. babies. You don’t want yours? Great. Someone else does.

What abortion does (and I’m talking most cases, not rare or fringe medical cases) is save a woman from the shame and discomfort of a 40 week pregnancy.

That’s what we fight for. That’s what abortion provides – the only thing it provides that the adoption system does not.

It provides a way to hide from our brokenness (“My parents will kick me out,” “He’d leave me,” “I’d be so embarrassed,” “I could never look my family in the face,” “My church wouldn’t understand”). But it doesn’t erase that brokenness. It just lets it lie unexposed.

It provides an out from the natural consequences to our actions. Just as if I am sick, and I don’t want the illness, I am expected to endure the time of treatment in order to reach healing. But endure pregnancy (natural consequence of sex) when your plan is to give the child away? Unheard of! Cruel! Nothing a civilized woman should have to endure! So we rip away the period of waiting, of “treatment,” of sacrifice, and in so doing we rob another family of a potential child, and we rob that child of the life it never had a chance to live.

Just, for the love of God, you’re giving me tiny panic attacks every time you say that abortion helps women in some magnificent unique way. No one in this country is ever forced to raise a child if she doesn’t want to (see: Juno. It was a pretty popular movie.)

And, while I’m on a tirade, families who want children need to raise the bar, too. Maybe you should try to adopt locally, try to offer options to women in your midst who would otherwise abort. I don’t know. I don’t know how all that works. All I know is, it’s disgusting to visit foster centers, and hear representatives ache for someone to offer their home to an 8 or 9 year old child who is cycling endlessly through the system….all the while we pour millions of dollars into a “maybe this IVF will get me pregnant” system. It kind of grosses me out, to be perfectly honest.

Isn’t ignoring the actual needs, and artificially seeking to please ourselves, pretty much as barbaric as abortion? Isn’t it a little criminal to try and manufacture some kind of perfect bubble while this country so desperately needs families to get their hands a little dirty with something like foster care?

I just want to make the world less barbaric. Less selfish. But every side is clawing for self and it makes it hard to breathe.

The Florist’s Shop: A Parable

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Flower Shop. It was a small shop in a small town, owned independently by a sweet family – namely a  young woman named Lily and her husband Jack. They were bright, peppy entrepreneurs, and their devotion to their small business was exceeded only by their devotion to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith. Lily had ordered hand-painted signs off etsy, etched in her favorite Bible verses, to adorn her Flower Shop. Their “open/close” sign proclaimed a cheerful “God Bless!” at the bottom. They even invited customers to attend church services with them on a fairly regular basis.

They were not shy about their faith, and furthermore they were not shy about arranging fabulous flowers.

One day Lily received a phone call from a prospective customer. The voice was that of a cheerful young lady, much like Lily’s own voice. “I have heard so many wonderful things about your shop,” the woman gushed. “My sister hired you to arrange flowers for her wedding last year.” Lily remembered the name, delighted to make a family connection. Lily invited the young woman and her fiancé to come into the shop sometime soon to discuss details and prices.

“I will tell her,” the woman replied excitedly. “In fact, Lara and I will see you around 3 this afternoon. Sound OK?”

Lily replied in the affirmative and hung up the telephone slowly.

Feeling torn, feeling unsure, Lily called Jack from the back room and discussed the gay couple who was coming to look at their flower shop. The gay couple who was planning to hire them for a gay wedding.

At 3pm sharp, the young couple arrived at the shop. Lily and Jack shook hands with Lara and with Simone, the young woman to whom Lily had spoken on the phone.

The pair of couples talked about pricing and the wedding budget.

They talked about themes, colors, and wedding gowns.

They talked about sizes, quantity, and all the different shades of orange.

They talked about many things, and it grew close to closing time.

“Lily, thank you so much for taking time out of your afternoon to chat with us,” said Simone, adjusting the shoulder strap of her purse in preparation to exit the shop. “I will be in touch.”

Lily smiled. “It was wonderful to meet you both.”

After shop proprietors shook hands again with Lara and Simone, Jack placed his arm around on the small of Lily’s back and nodded his affirmation to the pair. “Please continue to keep us updated. It sounds like it will be a really special ceremony.”

Lara smiled excitedly and caught eyes with Simone. “That’s our hope. It’s tough reconciling enough family and friends to make a wedding without too much… arguing, I guess. But I’m optimistic.”

Lily placed both her hands over Lara’s. “Well, please don’t hesitate to call even if you just need a friendly voice. I remember how stressful planning our wedding was.”

“And believe me,” said Jack, “Lily has been shoulder-to-cry-on and counselor to the girls around here just as often as she’s arranged flowers for their weddings.”

Simone and Lara chuckled, and Lara gave an appreciate squeeze to Lily’s hands. “That really means a lot. Thank you so much.”

As they turned toward the door, Simone turned back and asked one final question. “I take it you guys attend a church, right?” she said, gesturing with her eyes to the various indicators of Christianity sprinkled tastefully throughout the shop.

“We do,” said Lily, smiling, and told her the name. “Are you two looking for a home church?”

“Maybe,” said Simone. “Either way, we’d love to visit yours, if you’re representative members.”

“Let us know, for sure,” said Jack. “We’d love to take you sometime.”

Goodbyes were said. The bell caught the door on the way out. The clock read 5:03pm. Lily changed the sign from Open to Close.

[and, because of love without boundaries, two searching hearts were tugged from Closed to Open]