Culture

Take the #IAmArt Challenge!

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Steve Furtick said, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlighted reel.”  Where else is this seen more than on Social Media, something that most of us use every day?  Want to know more about the #IAmArt challenge?  Watch the video below!

 

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Political Correctness Is the Real Bully on the Playground

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Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 1.20.47 AMI grew up in a fairly conservative home and wasn’t ever taught how to be politically correct.

Thank. The. Lord.

Because, today, I am a mother of three elementary children (one with special needs) in a day where the PC police are out of control!  Scratch that.  I mean in control.  Of everything.

Sarcasm aside, I don’t approach this subject lightly.  I was bullied in elementary school.  The real kind of bullying, like when a group kids follows you home, constantly harassing with words that cut deep, and push you down on the playground taking turns stepping on your back.  Not like today’s definition where one 8-year-old child calls another a “Booger Head” during a heated game of tag and has to spend the rest of the day in the counselor’s office doing self-reflection exercises.

Sometime over the last 20 years the definition of “bully” has been changed to mean anything that hurts someone’s feelings, or has the potential of hurting someone’s feelings, or anything that is said or done by every child ever.  When did this happen?  Probably around the time that students started showing up to school with weapons and murdering one another.

So the education system’s knee-jerk response was to eliminate, not only bullying, but normal childhood behavior as well as important natural consequences, like grading work, that would have set them up for success in the real world.

But these poor educators are in an uphill behavior-modification battle against the human nature of tiny people, so campaigning for the cause of bully-awareness has to be applied pretty strong. I recently overheard my daughter talking to her brothers about her “bully” at school.  When I asked her what she thought that meant, she told me it was because he “Chases me all the time and tells everyone that I am his girlfriend”.

Uh….. When I was in Kindergarten we called that kind of behavior “Kindergarten.”

Things like school shootings and teen suicide are very serious and growing issues whose roots need to be exposed and addressed, but my suspicion is that these epidemics have not been spawned by bullying itself (That’s been around as long as there have been people), but by how our generation has been trained to respond to life’s difficulties.  So what does Political Correctness have anything to do with it?  Because the very foundation of PC teaches you that you are a victim, and every school massacre has been justified by its inflicter because of their perceived victimhood.

What kids learn

As parents, we need to see the hardships that our children face at school as incredible opportunities to mold character and endurance necessary for adulthood success into them.  I know this is hard.  I KNOW this is hard.  I have a son with Aspergers who is constantly on the receiving end of playground unkindness and another son who has to watch it happen every day to the brother he loves dearly and defends valiantly.  As painful as it is to see my kids hurting, I want to be so careful of what lessons they are going to learn from how we respond.

Are we going to get angry, storm into the school and demand justice for their wounds, communicating to them that they are victims and in every hardship in life they are owed a defender?

Are we going to tell them, “Tough titties. Suck it up” and just dismiss their hurt, communicating to them that their feelings aren’t legitimate and that something is wrong with them for being too sensitive?

Or are we going to put our arms around a teary-eyed child, enter into that pain with them, feel with them, and then teach them.  Teach them their real value.  teach them that they are going to face more times like these in life.  Teach them that they can use the memory of this pain to have compassion on others.  Teach them that they are not going to be hurt forever.  Teach them to love and pray for those who aren’t fair to them.

Life isn’t fair

We have a saying in our house that we use every time one of the kids cries foul: “If God were fair, we’d all be dead.”  And it’s true.  It wasn’t fair that Jesus took the punishment for our sin when we deserved it.  Love isn’t fair.  And it isn’t very loving to send our kids off to face a world that is competitive and cruel without preparing them for that reality.  How are they going to handle working hard on a project only for their boss to tell them to take it back to the drawing board when their school teachers weren’t allowed to correct their papers with a red pen?  How are they going to handle being turned down by the opposite sex when their parents told them they were a victim every time they were teased?  I think we just saw last week on the news how that turns out.

Is it possible that the real bully here is not the hazing child in the locker room, but political correctness?

Let’s hear your thoughts.

 

Intolerance Takes the Cake

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One of my happy places is in my kitchen, baking.  I started making fondant cakes a couple of years ago and get a lot of requests from family, friends, and co-workers to provide the desserts for their events.  I also get a lot of “You should really think about making this a business” comments.  I’d love to get paid to bake.  To me, it is art.  My heart, soul, energy, and creativity all go into each one and when it is finished, it’s a little painful to watch the knife make that first cut.

But this blog isn’t about cakes. I wish it could be. Everyone likes cakes.  Instead, it is about something that everyone likes to get up in arms about.  I try to always be considerate of others feelings, hearts, and experiences when writing, and taking a moment to pause, and put myself in another’s shoes before responding usually ends with me holding my tongue all together.  But if I shy away from a controversial topic for the sake of keeping peace, what does that make me? 

I did start the process of obtaining the proper licensing to make and sell cakes from my home, when something stopped me in my tracks and launched me into a philosophical journey on my own.

It was this story:  A Christian photographer in New Mexico who refused to shoot a lesbian wedding ceremony and was sued.  She lost, and lost big.  Her business, reputation, and finances destroyed.  That story was followed by this one and this one, and got me to thinking, “As a whole-Bible believing Christian, What would I do if asked to make a wedding cake for a gay couple?”  Honestly, I didn’t know.  I had never even considered it before. 

This blog isn’t about the morality or theological correctness or incorrectness of homosexuality.  That’s a conversation for a face-to-face coffee date.  This is more about the question, “What would happen to me if I said ‘no?'”  It’s about rights, and freedom, both of the homosexual couple and of the religious person.  These stories beg the question, “Can rights and freedoms exist for both parties harmoniously?”  I don’t know, but when you read these articles, it’s not looking too good.

 Semantics

I love people.  Short people, tall people, gay people, straight people, white people, black people, Asian people, people in the womb and outside of it, pro-choice people, pro-life people, people who live behind white picket fences and those on the streets, democrat, republican, it doesn’t matter.  If you’ve got human DNA, it’s hard for me to see you as anything other than a masterpiece of an indescribable creator, and to see myself as anything more that just as flawed as anyone.

So when words like “Hate” and “Bigot” are hurled at those of us who view a lifestyle as contrary to God’s design, we call foul.  Hate? That hurts my heart.  It’s such a powerful word that, much like love, has been grossly over and misused, and unlike love, has been brilliantly used as a marketing semantic to sway public opinion and slowly strip the rights away from those who hold the Bible to be truth.  Yes, we absolutely want to eradicate hate.  But real hate.  When we eradicate disagreement, we become 1930s Germany, and no one wins. Like I say to my children, “We need to use our words properly”.

The Double Standard

Christians don’t have a perfect tract record for the treatment of others, I’ll be the first to agree.  And the reality of those specific examples in history saddens me, too.  But it seems as though the pendulum of tolerance is in full swing to the extreme opposite side.  I would not expect or fight to require a Hindu to serve me a cheeseburger.  Religious based Carols have been removed from public school Christmas programs so as not to offend the Atheist, and the student whose gender identity is still undecided can choose which sports team he or she wants to play for.  Consideration and accommodation is being made to respect the feelings and convictions of every group except for the Christian.

The LGBT community has fought so hard for so long to get to where they are today: the right to be who they are and live what they believe.  But the freedoms that are held so dear to many of them are the same ones that some are fighting to take away from others.  Mutual respect means it goes both ways.  I respect your sexual orientation, and you respect my beliefs.  

“Coexist” is a popular word used by those taking up these efforts, when forcing Christians to violate their beliefs is actually the opposite of coexisting – it’s forced conformity.  Where is the tolerance for these people and their faith?  Or is open mindedness only for those with one point of view?

Human nature and Utopia

My state of Washington recently voted to allow gay marriage.  On this issue, I didn’t vote.  I just left it blank.  I didn’t know what to put down.  While my biblical beliefs tell me that homosexuality is a sin, I also don’t feel that it is my job to stop people from sinning.  It would be impossible to stop people from sinning, I can’t even stop myself.  A “yes” vote would be condoning said sin, while a “no” vote would be saying that what other people chose to do is somehow up to me.  Since I didn’t agree with either, I just moved on to the next bubble.

It doesn’t bother me if you’re gay.  I think a person is defined by so much more than being gay or straight, and if you want to get married, then go do it, but I expect to be afforded the same respect and not required to use my art to celebrate the occasion.  How is that not discrimination? I’ll tell you: If a gay person asks me to make a cake for a birthday, celebration of a promotion, or just about anything else, I’d do it in a heartbeat.  A person who hated gays wouldn’t do that.  Bakers like me don’t want to turn these orders down because the customer is gay, but because the wedding is.  Are events now a protected class?  Race, religion, gender, and church potlucks?

But I also understand the fear of regression.  If businesses are allowed to refuse service to anyone in the name of religious freedom the potential for abuse is great.  People on the left side of the political spectrum tend to see legislation in favor of protecting religious freedom and their minds go straight back to a wild west culture where minorities and homosexuals lose out on jobs or opportunities just because of who they are.  There are people out there who aren’t wanting to adhere to their faith, but truly do hate, and would take advantage in a regulationless world, I’m not denying that that exists.  And that is unacceptable, too. So what should be done?  Where then is the balance, or are we all destined to step on each others toes, forever infringing on one anothers liberties?

Utopia will always be fiction as long as human nature is at play.  We could be adults about it.  We could agree to disagree.  We could understand that offenses are a part of life and move on to any of the other 10,000 photographers in the phone book, but if the cases mentioned above set the precedent, I can’t say that I’m hopeful.

Your comments and feedback are welcome!  Please be civil and respectful when commenting.

Like this post?  Check out   Of Noble Character – A new Kind of Feminism

Today’s Civil Rights

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On January 22, I posted the following to my Facebook page in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade.  Like the previous post, these things are difficult to write about as I know they can strike such a tender cord in the hearts of so many.  But that doesn’t mean they should go without being addressed at all.  It’s not about shame, it’s about love.  It’s about opening the floor for dialogue and starting the conversation toward both healing and action.

I don’t typically like to post things on my Facebook page about abortion. Because, while I pray for and work toward a day when it no longer exists, I also understand that many of my friends, statistically 1 in 3, have experienced an abortion in their past, and are at a variety of phases in the journey of the heart that follows an abortion. If that is you, I want to first say that I love you. I really, really do. My heart is for everyone to feel respected, loved, and heard. “…It’s the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance.” Romans 2:4

Today is also the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion. Since that day, over 55 million abortions have taken place in the US. If you believe that this is THE human and civil rights issue of our day, as I do, will you take an hour with me today to pray for an end to abortion? Regardless of what happens to its legality, let’s work to make it unnecessary, through genuine love and practical support, as the Good Samaritan did. Lets not live to see another 41 years of abortion.

Actual audio from Roe v. Wade trial

Of Noble Character – A New Kind of Feminism

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Faminist or Fauxminist?  Read it here!“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” – Proverbs 31:10, NIV

Noble: Original Hebrew Hayil: Strength, capability, skill, valor, wealth, troop, warrior, army, able-bodied.

Ladies, we’ve been hoodwinked. Unfortunately, this duping has risen from among our own ranks. Because of the misguided efforts of the women of late 1900’s, an entire culture now faces the crisis of the disappearance  of true womanhood.  The original vision, championed by feminist heroes such as Susan B. Anthony, was equality: This radical idea that men and women have equal value, equal rights, equal opportunities in life, and equal contributions to society.  The efforts of these brave women of the suffrage made it possible for us to enjoy the life and liberties that we do today.

But over the last 50 years, something has gone terribly wrong.  Equality itself has morphed into this idea that the previously oppressed is now superior to their former oppressors and that our empowerment comes from abandoning the very things that make us women while simultaneously trampling all men under the might of our high-heel.

The Great Facade

There are many trends in modern-day feminism (herein referred to as fauxminism) that actually anger me, because they are things that sell themselves as strengthening women while they, in fact, do quite the opposite.  The most prominent is abortion, which I believe to be the greatest insult to women that has ever existed.  The abortion industry, just by the nature of what it does, lies to women, telling us that we are not strong or resourceful enough to rise to the challenge ahead.  They take advantage of a crisis to sell a “service” that leaves a wake of destruction and heartache in that woman’s life, all under the masquerade of “choice” and “control”.   Organizations like Feminists For Life have been able to clearly articulate the flaws in the marketing of this industry saying, “Abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women. Women deserve better.”

Sandra-FLuke_2157030bAnother irritant comes from the “Affordable Care Act” mandate saying that women are now entitled to free contraceptives, as if birth-control deficiency is now a disease that is going to leave masses of women dying in the streets if left untreated.  My question for Sandra Fluke is, “How does depending on the government to provide you with a medication that allows men to further objectify you and take advantage of your body without consequence make you a stronger woman?”  Wouldn’t true self-confidence say, “I am so awesome that if you want any where near this body you’d better ‘put a ring on it’?”

The last is how we’ve been taught to live in this world full of men.  Fauxminism teaches us to not need men in a way that we’re supposed to need men, and to need men in a way that we’re not supposed to.

Did you get all that?

Ladies, this means getting a false sense of value by what we can physically offer to men while refusing to take from them what we really need: love, protection and provision (and then ironically, demanding protection and provision from the government, which I like to refer to as the ‘Fauxminist substitute husband’).  And this doesn’t just weaken women, it weakens men, too.  Are you a single gal wondering why the dating pool seems to be full of ambitious-less “man boys” who are into their thirties playing video games in their parent’s basement with no intentions of supporting a family any time soon?  You can get your answer from 1980’s fauxminism.  Women are strongest when we act like women, and men are strongest when women act like women.

So, does this mean that if we don’t all go back to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen that civilization will collapse?  Good Lord, no!  Just look at what God thinks that women should be in the verse above.  Proverbs uses that Hebrew word for “Noble” to describe a woman 3 times.  The true strength of a woman comes from embracing the design of the Creator, not from trying to be like a man.  Our gifts and talents as women, physical abilities, childbearing, femininity, are all differences that should be celebrated and compliment the differences in the men in our lives.  This call is no easy task.  It takes the heart of a noble warrior.  It takes a radical faith and trust in the Lord.  It takes a brave and courageous spirit.

Some Tattoo Wisdom From A Tattoo Lover

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I have some tattoos.

I LOVE my tattoos!

Sometimes, I like to take out a little mirror and just stare at them.  Mostly because I can’t believe that I actually went down that road.

But because I am a mom, and I want my children to make wise choices in their young adult years, I worry about the possibility of the mixed message on the subject that my tattoos will send them.  So now, years before they have a chance to start asking, I am going to plan my answer.

Should Christians Get Tattoos?Q: “Mom, Can I have a tattoo?”

A: “No.”

Q: “Why not?  You have one”

A: “I know.  I was there when I got it.”

Q: “So, what?  You’re all against them now?”

A:  “No, not at all. I love mine and fully support them with the following giant disclaimer:

That Lovin’ Feeling – The Key To An Incredible Marriage

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You know that scene from the last part of Pride and Prejudice where Keira Knightly is walking through the misty meadow and suddenly, there he is.  Mr. Darcy.  The macaroni to her cheese.  Their eyes meet.  Her heart stops beating. And they passionately embrace each other in true love’s first kiss.  To women all over world, this is the very definition of love, packaged up nicely for us by romance novelists and Hollywood.  But it’s not God’s definition, and we’re seeing the consequences of a culture that’s built their marriages on a foundation of feelings.

When you’re in the wedding planning stage everyone you know suddenly becomes a marriage expert, offering you an array of good, bad, or indifferent advice.  Since I was in High School at the time, most of the advice I received came in some form of the question, “Are you crazy?”  But the best nugget of wisdom I received came from my music teacher, who was also our wedding photographer.  He pulled me aside one day and told me this: Read the rest of this entry »