I was recently asked “If teenagers believed in God and knew and honored His words, do you think they’d shoot kids at their school? Or their grandparents? Or would they cheat in school? Or do drugs? Or would they loot stores? Or have sex like it meant nothing?”
Not so much. I know churched kids and, while they’re absolutely, certainly no saints, they’re pretty great kids.
And yet this country, and others, is moving farther and farther from church, disdaining faith, letting our children flounder with little to anchor them to good things. Of course, today, we are asked “What IS GOOD?” or “Who are you to say that’s NOT good!?” Perhaps most people might do better if we all understood “GOOD?” I believe there IS a ‘good’ that’s pretty indisputable.
I watched a bit of Inherit the Wind (based on the Scopes trial) yesterday and had always found it ‘anti Christian’ in the past, and even hurtful, but it isn’t…..it just shows one guy needed to shut his yap and not believe everyone just had to believe what he believed. The film shows the attempt to make certain that evolution be taught in public schools, which was illegal in Tennessee at that time. Since I’ve studied Scripture for years since I first saw that film, I’ve grown in my Christian faith and believe people are better for understanding different sides to any subject. It’s not a threat.
When you believe God can do ANYTHING (including a guy hanging out in a whale, or God stopping the sun as He does in Joshua for a good reason…two things mentioned by the defense attorney in the story in order to mock Matthew Brady), it’s more the Defense attorney (Darrow in the Scopes case) who looks foolish for insisting those things are impossible and to be scoffed at….not the highly over emotional, blustering Christian Brady.
If it’s NOT a lack of FAITH, and I do believe it’s more than ‘just’ that, maybe we at least should be asking ourselves in public arenas why so many kids are SO SCREWED UP. Just a thought.
This post is long enough but I saw an email addressed to me and a bunch of my Armenian friends I grew up with in the Armenian church this morning at 1:00am and I knew I should talk about it here as you’ll see that it rather pertains to my point above….About 15 couples of young Armenians with children, in the 1970s, all still married, all church goers, all with killer senses of humor and amazing cooking talents….all came to honor the Dad of one of those couples whose name was ‘Sark”, an Armenian name, and his ‘saint day’ for which he was named was that day. All the couples came separately up Sark and Babe’s front porch with a lit candle to honor their buddy. The kids played pool in the den, we all ate, our folks had cocktails and lots of happy laughs…. we kids looked at our parents’ friends as our ‘other’ parents…….they cared about us and vice versa. I’ll leave you with Father Sarkis’ last paragraph in his email of this morning: “
“These are the memories which come to my mind this St. Sarkis Day, a half a century after we use to gather on Allott St. in SHerman Oaks. So grateful for the environment in which I was raised which our parents worked incredibly hard to create.” “
These were EXCEPTIONAL people……..this is what all children deserve today. This is what’s missing.
We are an atomized society. It probably started somewhere around the Renaissance when the concept of the individual began to change. Throughout history, people defined themselves by parentage (I am son of), family, clan, community. Without over-intellectualizing it, people knew who they were by what they did, who came before them, who stood with them, and the progeny they were producing with their spouses.
We are now hyper-individuals, our own TikTok gods. In such a world of right now, nothing makes sense because nothing is grounded in anything solid and its all disconnected.
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SF….thanks for that good input….”our own TikTok (and other) gods”, for sure.
Do you think I have a point about how the lack of faith, of ONE “GOD” hurts our society?…our children?
I literally 2 minutes ago looked at the news feed on my cell…there’s an article they found so important to print; showing a young woman, 9 months pregnant, standing proudly bare bellied…the headline is “My baby was born holding my IUD in its hand’ She got pregnant because her birth control didn’t work and our media felt this was a really important story to further (what I call) ANIMALIZE we humans…..
Show everything, no grace or beauty,…
but at least she had practiced birth control instead of aborting her baby?!
With no memory of this, I only know what someone told me about my early life. My grandmother raised me through the age of 5. As a consequence, I never bonded with my birth mother. Gram raised me to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. She took me to Sunday School at a local Methodist Church. She used to play religious songs on the piano, and she and I would sing along.
When my birth mother decided to settle down, she went to my grandmother’s house, collected me, and from around the age of five, I was raised in the household of a stepfather. He was an atheist — and remained so for all his life. I won’t say that my mother was an atheist, just that I never saw her in church. When I became old enough to find my way to church, I did. I can’t remember what it was that prompted me to do that. Maybe I missed my grandmother. I attended Sunday School and Church services at a local Methodist Church. I don’t know why I chose Methodist as opposed to some other denomination other than that’s the name that stuck out in my mind for “where to go for Sunday School.” At this time, there was no overriding ideological reason for Methodist affiliation. It had more to do with how close the church was to where I lived.
All my life, I have believed in God, Jesus as my Savior, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. As an adult, I think the proof of the existence of God is what someone calls their conscience. I call it the voice of God speaking to us. People without a conscience are those living without God’s compass. We know right from wrong because of it. We know how we should treat others.
As a member of the military, I attended church services semi-regularly. I never really cared about “affiliation.” Sometimes the chaplain was a Protestant; sometimes, he was Catholic. It never mattered to me. It still doesn’t. I can say this, though … in combat, I never once saw a protestant chaplain put his ass on the line to comfort a dying Marine. But the Catholics were helter-skelter all over the battlefield, with seemingly no concern at all about their mortality. They all seemed to know where they were going when they died. So, I came away from the military with profound respect for the Padre and less than that for that other fellow who talked the talk but never found out how to walk the talk.
If someone believes what Christians believe, they will understand that their parents can’t get them into heaven. Whether or not we get to heaven is up to us and no one else. I believe these things despite not having a religious upbringing after age five. I believe I’ll see my Gram again, and I’ll be able to introduce her to my wife, who is a good Christian. Gram won’t care if I’m not a Methodist. I don’t think I’ll see my birth mother and stepfather again. Somehow, I’m not bothered by that. I believe God will smile when people get to heaven because that was always their destination and because they knelt before God of their own volition — rather than being forced to kneel upon the pain of death.
Yeah, some kids today are screwed up. Most will sort themselves out if they live long enough. Around 73% will check in with St. Peter … and that’s not so bad. The sky is not falling; it just seems that way sometimes.
Wow. Those first two paragraphs are, with 3 minor exceptions, a carbon copy of my early years. The differences are that my grandmother was Baptist, my mother remarried and “collected” me when I was 12, and my stepfather was a drunk, not an atheist.
My grandmother (“Mom”) talked with Jesus every day and made sure I went to church with her unless I was truly ill. I sometimes asked her if Jesus ever answered her, ‘cuz I never heard it although I was right beside her.
She said He did, so I asked why I couldn’t hear it and why he didn’t speak to me. She said that I’ll hear His voice when I’m ready. She also said that a ledger is kept in Heaven with two columns, the good and the bad that we do.
When the final judgment comes, that ledger will determine my eternal fate: if mostly good, no problem . . . maybe just a period of purgation and atonement. If more bad than good, damnation.
She was proud of all her sons who’d served in the military in WWII and said that she had all confidence that I’d make something of myself good enough to stand proud before God when the time comes, and God will forgive my human frailty so long as I serve my country, love my wife, and care for my own.
It was He who gave me the free will to choose my path, and although some paths might go the wrong way, I’d choose a good one because of what I heard in church and Sunday school and from the preachers who often came to dinner at her table.
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We are indeed moving away from God in America and most likely the reason we are having the ills we have today. But hasn’t the world experienced civilizations in the past that ultimately disappeared? Some due to moral corruption? Many pre-Christ? So isn’t it “de ja vous” all over again? Now with the Chinese balloon incident, aren’t we heading toward another global catastrophe?
Bocopro, I sure hope you’re grandma is wrong about God keeping a ledger of good and bad to determine our ultimate fate ’cause if she is right, I’m screwed!
Re: moving farther away from church. So they take up a new religion. Green, climate salvation, gender confusion, etc. Michael Oren was asked if ‘woke-ism’ is making inroads in Israel. He said “no, we already have a religion.” It’s like the saying Mrs. Gooch used to print on the grocery bags for her natural foods store: People who think all supplements are the same will probably swallow anything. Our youngsters are swallowing anything.
So many lovely stories about grandmothers – even in perfectly functional families. I have 2 ladies in my bible study core group who have profound stories of grandmother’s influence in passing on the word and the model of life. One is a young mother who named her daughter an old fashioned name to honor her grandmother with that name who had so much influence on her faith and life. The other is a grandmother who takes grandkids to school, taught them Christian songs that became part of the fun-going-to-school-with-grandma experience.
Interesting, Mustang, about the chaplains. I’m happy to add that I remember reading the story of one – a protestant chaplain – who was right there in the line of fire. Could it be the primacy of administering last rites was a reason so many catholic chaplains were “all over the battlefield”? (One was eventually beatified – https://www.milarch.org/father-capodanno/. Then I found this guy while looking for the first guy: “On the morning of Nov. 8, 1966, [Rev. Michael Quealy] jumped into a medical evacuation helicopter with a unit that was not his own…. When an officer tried to stop him, he reportedly said, “My place is with them.” He was killed giving last rites and comforting the wounded.) Viet Nam repelled the more liberal of the religious stripe – they were out protesting. And while well they might, there were a lot of more god-fearing men willing to be with troops who needed God’s minions like Chaplain Quealy among them.
THESE are TERRIFIC stories, THANK YOU, EVERYBODY.
MUSTANG: I’m 100% with you on denominations and Catholic v Protestant , etc….When a person’s life is clearly based on Christ’s example, who cares where they go to church or IF they go to any particular church at all?
I think I’ve told you my past Pastor at my Lutheran Church (to which I’ve very happily returned) has a Communion ‘kit’…an old box with the cup and other things in it…His great grandfather gave communion to boys in the CIVIL WAR with it! I was so moved I asked if I could just TOUCH it……..what a precious thing. It’s those ‘denominational’ things which are so touching to me….And I”LL BET those boys didn’t have to be Lutherans for probably a lot of ‘last communions’ 😦
Also, it’s sad and beautiful at the same time that your clear experience was Catholics being more giving of themselves than Protestant pastors….I think BAYSIDER’s probably right….chaplains have been amazing, too…but we only KNOW what we SEE< isn't it. Our nearby Catholic church has a Monsiegneur older than 80….and not in great shape. He's taken his parishioners to Israel probably once a year for, I think, 25 years….it's like a mission to him, and a sacrifice due to his health. Amazing guy.
And you are SO RIGHT…as our 'bigwig' Bible study leader used to remind us "There are no grandchildren in heaven"…..It's WE who make that choice for ourselves, not our grandparents….but that influence of good ones is SO important, isn't it.
IF YOU HAD TO GUESS, you're saying you think 73% of our kids belief in Christ and will go to St Peter? I HOPE SO….!
Baysider and I went to the movies some years back and saw Joyeux Noel, I think you'd like it…
MAL: You well know that GOOD AND BAD don't matter at the Pearly Gates (Smile!)…it's your FAITH….He just wants us to believe.
And yes, I DO believe we're moving toward some catastrophe.
BAYSIDER… I would do SO MUCH to see my grandmothers again, particularly Dad's Mom who adored me, and I, her………
In our Core Group, we've been talking about kids and how singing them hymns when they're little, even while captive in our cars!, helps them cement beautiful things in their minds…. I remember hearing that, at many old age homes, the elderly can't remember what they had for lunch (well, neither can I, but…) or sing or speak much but sing heartily with JESUS LOVES ME or HOW GREAT THOU ART, etc…. true story.
And yes, our youngsters are swallowing ANYTHING………….so sad!!!!
I wish they could all just meet my new Pastor.
Pastors are very important, almost more than the denomination they represent. Many folks have either joined or left a church because of the pastor.
When we first moved to Newport Beach in 1971 we joined a little church in Corona Del Mar (adjacent to Newport) and were very taken with the pastor, Phil Murray, who was a retired Navy Chaplin. It was part of the United Church of Christ but isn’t the reason we chose it. Phil Murray was.
An interesting note: The church was started during WW ll when there was a freeze on building materials. The pastor at that time wrote a letter to President Roosevelt explaining his plight and that
the congregation was mostly families of servicemen, so FDR wrote a letter back to the pastor in his own handwriting telling the pastor to show his letter to the suppliers as authorization to obtain the materials. The little while church with a steeple still stands today.
(That should read “little WHITE church” etc.)
MAL…I think you are SO RIGHT! Denomination CAN be very important…there are some I don’t admire or respect and I’m not alone, (there are new pastors being graduated who do not believe Christ is the Son of God)…….BUT, in general, your comment is important and so true.
That FDR story is great to know…..Nice to know he did something good! 🙂 And that the little white church still stands is just the best!