Category Archives: Of Interest

Christian Response to the Illegal Immigrant Crisis

The present crisis here in the US centered on illegal immigration can present a bit of conundrum for the born-again’s.  We have people flooding here that have nothing, are sick, are hurting, and are breaking the law.  So, what do we do?  Do we listen to our head or do we listen to our hearts?  The answer is both.

We are American Christians.  We have an individual responsibility, like the good Samaritan, and we have a responsibility to our country as good citizens.  So the answer can seem elusive, but it’s not.  As individuals we are to help those that are here that are legitimately hurting, scared, sick, and alone… mainly children and widows, those that have no church, those that have no family.  We feed them, clothe them, help them physically, mentally, and spiritually.

At the same time we call our gov’t to task for allowing this to happen.  Our borders are breached, our health is at stake, and this is taking away resources that the gov’t should be handling in fiscally responsible ways for people that are citizens of this country.  The borders need secured and protected.  The American people need protection from the terrorists, gang member, and drug cartels that are free to come and go as they please because we have had a series of administrations that refuse to protect us, as well as protection from communicable diseases.  We need to send these illegal immigrants home.

There is no paradox here.  This is our faith.  We do as we can to aid the needy, sick, and lost, AND we demand our gov’t enforce it’s borders and its laws.

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Filed under Christianity, Health, Of Interest, Religion and Politics

Book Review; Kisses From Katie

I mentioned in a recent post that I would be review this book soon, and here it is!  The full title is Kisses from Kate: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie J. Davis, and Beth Clark.  The story is written from Katie’s perspective and Katie is a very interesting sister in Christ.  Katie traveled to Uganda on a short-term mission trip that changed her, and her family’s lives forever.  That short-term trip turned into what is shaping up to be a lifelong adventure.

Falling in love with the people there, and seeing the poverty, disease, and suffering first hand, Katie felt called to return to Uganda… and now she has 13 adopted Ugandan daughters, and is the founder of a really neat charity; Amazima Ministries.  Obviously the book is an account of how all of this went down with the focus being on Jesus and His call on our lives, whatever that call may be.

First, let me say that I loved the book, loved the story, and it is very readable.  I would highly suggest this book to Christian high school students.  All believers would enjoy this account, but I single out students of that age because I feel it would open their hearts to possibilities.  Having said that, this is also the book that prompted me to post an article I titled “Two Left Feet.”  The danger is that those that read Kisses from Katie will either take away legalism, and/or the idea that we all have to go to Uganda and adopt orphans.  Katie is very clear in her book that isn’t the case, but it is not stated in as clear of a manner as I embrace, hence my article.

I admit, the story amazes me, esp. because of Katie’s age (starts at 17/18) and this is from a person who believes that children and adolescents are capable of moving mountains under certain circumstances, and that hard work should not be denied them.  The only thing about this book that may bother certain readers is the sometimes heart-wrenchingly accurate descriptions of the aforesaid poverty, disease, and suffering.  This is definitely a book that helps redefine priorities and does so in a manner that is so refreshingly straightforward with good storytelling and very little “preaching.”  I give it the Scribbler honor of being one of those books I plan to read again.

Get it, read it, give it to a teen, you won’t regret it.

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Ministries, Of Interest, Reviews, Uncategorized

Confirmation from the Duggar-Dillard Wedding

Please be aware that adult topics are contained in this article.

I’ve reviewed the books out from the Duggar family, and their show, and have talked about things that I agree with from their beliefs, and things I disagree with.  This article really isn’t about the wedding itself, so if you are hoping for some new tidbit of information from Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard’s nuptial day, look elsewhere.   What this article is about is actually the reactions I’ve read around the ‘net about Jill, dating, kissing, sex, and such, that have been expressed as a result of this wedding.

For those of you who don’t follow the Duggars, one of their daughters got married this week, and it was a big deal in the realm of reality TV followers.  Jill Duggar married Derick Dillard after a swift courtship and engagement. “Quirks” about their relationship: 1) They met by being introduced by Jill’s Dad,and both families were involved in their respective “kid’s” interactions with each other. 2) They courted, they did not date.  3)  Their courtship and engagement were very short, they married quickly. 4) They did not hold hands until the proposal. 5) They saved their first kiss until their wedding day.  6) Which obviously means no sex before they were married.  7) Jill had a beautiful dress purchased at a mainstream store.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  

Jill and Derick followed their personal beliefs (they are both adults in their 20’s capable of making their own choices) when it comes to modesty and purity in their relationship, leading up to the wedding, and at the wedding itself.  What shocked me wasn’t their choices, but the world’s reaction to their choices.  Isaiah was spot on for today’s society.  All logic is gone, and morality has been flipped on its head.

1) The family was involved in introducing Jill and Derick.  Who cares?  How many people out there of all backgrounds were introduced by family and friends?  A lot.  The other aspect is a bit different than the norm, but makes a lot of sense to me; their families were involved in the courtship.  When they would go somewhere, a family member or a friend went with them.  Why?  Because it is a lot easier to be overwhelmed when we are attracted to someone when we are alone where hormones kick in and you may do something you’ll regret.  Also, they actually cared about the opinions of their family.  The world laughs at this.  The world mocks purity, mocks safety, mocks wise counsel.

2 and 3) Courtship vs. dating.  Courtship is a bit more serious than dating, though it isn’t engagement.  The world mocks anything that doesn’t embrace multiple partners for anything; dating, kissing, sex on demand… How dare a couple actually “date with a purpose,” and that purpose being seriously looking for a mate and not giving anything away for free to someone who may not feel the same as you.  They met, they courted, they fell in love, they got engaged and got married.  People of the world started attacking them for getting married so quickly, acting as though that is dooming them to an unhappy marriage. Hmm…. perhaps they are looking at their own 1st, 2nd, and 3rd marriages making a “common sense” judgment call?  I found it funny when people that married far faster did have the guts to speak up and talk about being happily married, sometimes for 60 plus years.

4 and 5) No hand holding until engagement, no kissing until married.  Wow, this is where we see all morality flipped on its head.  People mocked these beliefs outright… ok, I get it.  It is different, it is strict, and it could be legalistic.  However, there was another line of thinking and mocking that left me dumbfounded.  That was when they were ridiculed because they held hands too intensely.  Read that sentence again.  They were then mocked after their engagement that their hand holding was too sexual. Wait… what?  People talking about how many people they slept with before marriage suddenly turn and call Jill and Derick all kinds of names because they enjoyed holding hands too much. No, I’m not joking.

Kissing.  They saved their first kiss for their wedding day.  You know when the preacher, priest, pastor, etc… says “you may now kiss your bride?” For the majority of human history, this was indeed permission to do something you had never done.  So, they waited.  I think it’s awesome, while I fully admit in our culture it is totally foreign. Jill complimented her husband on his kissing ability, and the world mocks her asking “how would she know?” Besides the evil in men’s hearts, all I can think that would cause people to be so bitter is jealousy.  By the time most young people get to their wedding day, they’ve given everything physical away to someone who is not their spouse.  I’m not judging it, but when someone doesn’t do that, they are attacked.  Good=evil and evil=good.

6) Sex. Abstinence. Suddenly sleeping around, hooking up, one night stands are cool, and waiting for someone you love that you are going to be with til death is mocked. Fantastic. STD’s, broken hearts, unplanned pregnancies, memories you can’t get rid of… all of these things and more are not enough to get some people to understand why it may be good to practice self-control.  Further, Jill is training to be a midwife.  She attends and directs births all the time.  Yet, she’s mocked and ridiculed for being sheltered from sex. Haha. It’s true. It’s laughable.  The world has made a turn, and it isn’t a good one. Rude and lewd remarks about her honeymoon night abound. Good=evil, evil=good.

7) The Duggars are mocked for their thrifty ways (they are debt free and have a good income). They are also mocked for spending money. Yeah… They were mocked for what they served at the reception for being “cheap” (they weren’t). They were then mocked when people found out that Jill had a special day at a mainstream bridal shop and paid for a private fitting and party in the shop while she picked out her dress and had it altered.  They were called redneck hicks, then they were called elite snobs. Heh.  Conservative non-conformists have a bulls-eye painted on them, and if you are a conservative non-conformist who believes in Christ, so do you.  The Bible says it, and it’s is absolutely true.  Regardless of if your beliefs look like theirs, if you really believe  in Jesus, and you are a conservative who strives to do right based on your beliefs, you have a target painted on you.  Persecution, ridicule, mockery, it is only set to get worse.

Again, I do not express our shared beliefs the same way the Duggars do, but I do believe in purity, family, modesty, self-control, financial stewardship, etc… and I wrote this article to draw attention to the state of the world even over something as simple and beautiful as two believers getting married.  Please please please parents, teach your kids, read the word, resist the world, be in it but not of it.  Look around and see what is happening to morality.

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Filed under Christianity, Musings, Of Interest, Religion and Politics, Sacred Secular, Uncategorized

The Christian and Debt

Debt is all around us, and most of us have some type of debt currently.  I just read a statistic yesterday that less than 50% of all Americans have any net worth at all, meaning that less than 50% of us have monetary value (including assets) over the amount of monetary debt we owe.  Financially, then, most Americans are worth less than zero. Think about that.  Our country has changed over time and we are a nation of debtors living in a nation of debt.  Yes, debt has always, and will always be around, but we are now going into debt for things people in the past would never have considered signing away their future earnings for.

So, what does God teach us about debt, money, and how we can faithfully handle our finances? Now, obviously I’m not going to be able to cover every scripture or every situation.  There are many good resources out in the market today that do a better job covering all of that than I ever could.  But, I did want to cover a specific aspect of debt that people tend to wink at; Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.  Really think that over; you are a slave to anyone you have borrowed money from.  Do you owe a  bank, credit company, hospital, the government, etc…?

Whoever you owe money to, you are their slave.  You work for them.  Your money is theirs, and that is a Biblical concept.  In an age where we borrow money from all of these places, we have so many masters we can’t count them.  Remember where it says that we can’t serve two masters? Wow.  We just don’t think of these things, and what we want, we want it now.  If we need an automobile, why of course we take out a loan because the masters make it easy to make monthly payments.  We demand a college education, so we take out a loan because the masters act as though we’ll be able to easily pay it back.  Our very nation is sinking in debt, and whoever holds our debt is our master.  Scarey, hunh?

Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another… If we owe someone money, we give them power over us, and it limits what we can do with our work.  Everything that we have comes from God, and our best position is to be free to use what God blesses us with how He sees fit.  If we owe money, our money is yoked to the lender.  Now, if someone is in need, the answer can be giving, not borrowing.

Giving someone money (or things) freely, with no strings is different than lending.  It by-passes usury, and hard feelings.  The other answers come in how we view the world and our needs.  When I taught logic and philosophy at college, I urged my students to sit and write out their actual needs; what do you need to live?  It’s a short list.  We live in a world that tells us we NEED all of these various things, but it is a lie.  Don’t believe the lie, live below your means, surround yourself with wise people, read wise words, control you money, don’t let it control you, etc…

We should strive to be aware, strive after Godly wisdom and Godly ways.  We should also chafe a little bit when contemplating who are master, or masters are, and finally ask ourselves if our money is serving us (and God), or are we serving it?

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A New Mitford Book!

Happy Easter to me and all Mitford fans!  I just discovered that Jan Karon is taking us back to Mitford in her new book, “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.”  It’s set to be published on Sept. 2, 2014! For those of you who have never had the pleasure of traveling to Mitford, here is my review of the series; The Mitford Series…  Please feel free to join several fans that comment on that particular article, esp. if you have any questions about theses lovely books.

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Book Reviews; The Duggar Collection

I am going to review all 3 major titles in what I call “The Duggar Collection.”  They include; The Duggars: 20 and Counting!, A Love That Multiplies, and Growing Up Duggar. The first two in the list were both written by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the last was written by Jill, Jinger, Jessa, and Jana Duggar.  If you’ve ever read my review of Do Hard Things, this review will be similar.

First, some background.  I do watch the television series about this family on TLC; 19 Kids and Counting so I was already familiar with the Duggars and there were no earth-shattering revelations for long-time watchers of the show contained in the books.  If you like the show, you’ll like the books, if you like to mock the show (or the family) you’ll mock the books.  While the Duggars’ particular brand of Christianity isn’t my brand, I still respect their morals, commitment to family, financial position, etc… so I did enjoy all three books.

Second, if you want to cut the list down, I can help do that for you.  If you want a book about the parenting principles and the life stories of Jim Bob and Michelle, read A Love that Multiplies.  It covers very similar ground as the first book, but it is more recent and contains the story of Josie.  If you want a book about relationships and courting from the perspective of 4 young ladies, along with stories of the Duggar clan, then read Growing Up Duggar.

The good; the Duggars are a breath of fresh air in this modern world when it comes to parenting.  They care about their kids (yes, all of them), and have committed their time and energy to making sure their family is taken care of and brought up within a caring and loving environment.  The books give the reader a window into their philosophies, which they obviously ground in scripture the way they interpret it. They include their perspectives on debt, modesty, parenting, homeschooling, morals, business, courting, etc…  If you are interested in these topics presented with Christianity mixed in to all of them, then you’d probably enjoy the books even if you disagree.

I think that large families, as long as they are self-supporting, are awesome.  I’m amazed that some people hate the Duggars simply because there are so many of them.  They don’t take government support, they all seem bright and healthy, intelligent, interesting, etc… Whether a couple has no children, or 19, it is their choice and they can be a strong and happy family.

The girls’ book particularly was interesting to me, because I’m always curious of what the “next generation” thinks about all this.  They tackle the area of relationships, and do so in a generally thorough (yet sometimes detail-lacking) manner.  Their discussion on courting, parental relationships, and sibling relationships was informative, and again, refreshing.

The not-so-good; although the Duggars deny that they are a part of “The Quiverfull Movement” in Christianity, it is hard not to see the connection.  Why such a large family?  Because they believe that it is God and God alone Who determines the number of kids that a couple are blessed with, and this means no contraception allowed.  So, what’s wrong with that?  This particular movement tends to draw Legalists in by the boatload, and to judge others who don’t follow the same philosophy.  Happily, I can say that I don’t pick up a lot of judgmentalism from the Duggars, who overtly say that they teach that their way is not the way for everyone when it comes to having kids.  They simply stand by their own convictions and cite scriptures that they feel back up their POV.

Another not-so-good aspect to the family is that they “follow” or “read” materials and philosophies of some individuals in Christendom that are questionable in their theology, and perhaps even in their private lives.  Bill Gothard is one such example.  Anytime there is a strong teaching of different gender roles, one must be extraordinarily careful and be on the look out for sexual misconduct.  I’m one that believes in different roles for the genders in certain areas, and I’m also one of the biggest skeptics when it comes to a philosophy that uses words like “sweet;” think sweet, be sweet, keep sweet, as applied to females. Ugh. FLDS anyone?  Sex abuse anyone?  Bill Gothard has had sexual misconduct allegations following him around for awhile now, and we have to be sure we look on someone as being innocent until proven guilty.  However when talking of certain philosophies there is a great chance in some of them for women and girls to be abused.

Thankfully, I see no sign of that from the Duggar clan.  I don’t believe in condemning someone because of the people they read, but I include this type of information in my review because I want to make it clear that it is is a red flag for my readers if they decide to delve into the Duggars’ books.  Know that many of the ways they interpret certain scriptures are not the way that I, or even a majority, of Christians interpret them, and many of their resources listed are impacted heavily by those like Gothard and those in the Quiverfull movement.

In short, I liked all 3 books, though there was repeating information in each.  I have learned a lot about large families and also how certain scripture are interpreted by those from this perspective.  I truly appreciate the information they presented on raising kids, morality, and their faith. While everything seems to be going well right now for this family and the kids, there is always a chance that things could change, such as if we see one or more of the kids joining more mainstream Christian churches and “rebelling,” then we could see a different side to all of this. In fact, statistically, we’d expect to see some Duggar descendent choose their own path, as God guides the individual.

The danger in some of the teachings they push are just that, which is the danger of demanding everyone be a foot, or all be an arm in the Body of Christ; “Cookie-cutter Chrisitians” in other words.  We also must be sure that we are not relying on good works or conformity to save us, but rather on Christ for it by grace we are saved through faith.  It is a good thing to rely on God to guide us and convict us, and at the same time to make sure we are truly understanding scripture as it is meant to be understood.  So, just make sure you are firmly grounded in scripture and in faith when reading books on other beliefs within Christianity (such as the Duggars have); test all things and hold to that which is good and true.

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“There is no straw.”

We see it.  I know we see it.  What’s more, we feel it.  Something is incredibly wrong in this country of ours.  The U.S. of A. has taken a turn.  This turn is a culmination of poor decisions on the part of… well, almost everyone.  Our borders are not secure.  Our currency is suffering.  We are a nation of debtors living in a debtor nation.  Our morality has become laughable.  Common sense is gone.  Our “representatives” in government; whether in the House, Senate, or White House no longer represent us.  People who work hard, and/or work smart, and accumulate wealth are scorned and ridiculed, while those on welfare are strangely pitied and praised at the same time, being held up as political pundits that we should listen to, or be amused by.

And yet we wait.  We wait for the “last straw” we wait for it to break the camel’s back.  “What is it going to be?” we wonder.  Is it going to be a stock market crash so severe we all wake up?  Is it going to be another terrorist attack on our soil?  Will it be a natural disaster of epic proportions? Viral outbreak?  A leader so awful we all rise up?

And then it hits me; there is no straw.  We want a straw… we want something sooo definitive that we finally break into action, rally, come together as Americans and put things right.  So, we wait, and wait, and wait.  This is not a straw situation, rather it is a frog in the pot situation.  Folks, the change has happened so slow we grow accustomed to it.  Yes, we notice it in passing, but we don’t act on it.

It’s time.  We each have an impact on our nation.  It starts with us.  With a firm idea of who we are.  We are made in the very image of God Himself.  We all live in relation with other people; friends, co-workers, parents, kids, spouses, students, teachers, etc… we make a change in our nation by making a change in our lives.  Parents raise up your kids.  YOU. Teach them right from wrong, proper patriotism, not blind group think but true patriotism that shows them what the founding fathers intended for this nation founded explicitly on Judeo-Christian values, teach them the bible, the declaration of independence, and the constitution.

Spouses, love one another, serve one another, become strong in the Lord so that you can stand against the tide of negative changes, and help your spouse stand.  Come to understand that you have to get involved in politics if you currently care about this country.  We cannot sit on the sidelines.  It is our right as citizens of the U.S. to let our minds be heard, to share opinion especially if it is rooted in our religion.  The founders did it, they protected the right of us to do so, with the expectation that we would pay attention and do our moral duty to the nation.  You want to make a an impact to your fellow humans, the time to take action is now.

There is no straw.  Toss the kool-aid out, quit wasting away in front of the TV, get off your butt, see to your own health, the health of your loved ones, of your town, of your state, and of your country.  Do what you can in your own life.  You have the power.  Bow your knee to God, pledge to serve those He wants you to serve, and quit waiting.

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