Exercising Your Rights or Doing the Right Thing?

I haven’t blogged about the Chick-Fil-A controversy, and I’m not going to choose sides now. I’m only writing this because I started to write something while reposting an article and realized that I was getting too wordy for a Facebook post.

Here’s the article: The Last Chicken Story We’re Writing Today, and as far as I’m concerned, the most important part of the article:

The Huffington Post’s Lila Shapiro interviewed several LGBT employees of Chick-fil-A, for a roundup of how they feel about the controversy. The responses can best be summed up by 18-year-old Gabriel Aguiniga, a gay employee at a Chick-fil-A in Colorado, who told HuffPo that the toughest part of the job was “constantly having people come up to you and say, ‘I support your company, because your company hates the gays.’ It really takes a toll on me.” (Emphasis mine) Continue reading

A Post About Marriage That Has Something For Everyone… To Get Mad About

I rarely post about political or controversial subjects on this blog. (I reserve that stuff for Facebook.) But this whole marriage thing is annoying me. And it has nothing to do with my personal beliefs. I believe that what I believe is true and “the way it should be” but you may believe something different, and frankly, it’s not my place to tell you that what you believe is wrong. Add that to the fact that over the past few years, some of my beliefs have changed. Not necessarily just religious beliefs, but social and political ones as well. Having convictions is good (and necessary, I believe) but we also need to be open to listening to rational discussions from those with whom we disagree. You may not change your mind, but you might accidentally learn something if you talk to someone with a differing opinion. Continue reading

Win Winter Light by Bruce Ray Smith in the Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

The Showers of Books Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and One A Day YA and runs April 20-25th. There are about 200 blogs participating in this hop.

I’m giving away Winter Light: A Christian’s Search for Humility by Bruce Ray Smith. This is a quick read, but not an easy one. You can read my review here. Continue reading

Show Them Love First

A few weeks ago, my friend Amy shared on Facebook that her son Jonathan was planning to spend a year doing mission work in Cameroon, West Africa. With her permission, I’m sharing her post, with the hope that it touches you as much as it touched me.

When Jonathan started college two years ago he told his father and me: “I promise to spend two years filling up my mind if you then give me a year to empty my heart.” Continue reading

A Child’s Death is NOT “God’s Will”

Friday evening, I was cruising along, writing the long-overdue Review Policy for this blog. I finished it and hopped into my Gmail account to pull up my Google Documents to get the Book Submission Form I had set up when the blog was still on Blogger. I saw an email with the subject line, “A Homeschool* family needs our prayers.” Honestly, I didn’t think much of it. Our homeschool group is pretty large, and while not frequent, such emails aren’t unusual. Most often, it’s the death of the parent or grandparent of one of my friends. That’s what I assumed it was this time. Had I taken a few more seconds to think about it before I opened the email, I would probably also have thought about an illness or accident in the family. Nothing could have prepared me for what I actually did read.

A precious six-year-old girl left us Friday to be with Jesus. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Even the link to the news story didn’t alleviate the shock. I just sat here staring at the computer screen with my hand over my mouth. I was suddenly so very glad that the boys hadn’t gone to their dad’s this weekend, and were sitting an arm’s length away from me, playing on NickJr on the laptop. I needed them near me at that moment, and all weekend, really.

Our families weren’t close because our kids had different interests. So we hadn’t spent a lot of time together, but I’ve known this family for several years, so I’ve known this darling girl most of her life. I remember at our gingerbread-house decorating party in December, that I was impressed at how meticulous she was with her decorating. My boys, after all, had pretty much slapped their houses together, then tore them apart and ate them. I thought about taking a picture of her house, but I had forgotten my camera, and I didn’t feel like messing with the camera on my phone. Now I’m kicking myself because I would love to be able to give that picture to her mother and tell her that I thought her daughter did such an awesome job that day that I had to take a picture. Even if it was taken on my phone.

Later, I got to thinking about a recent conversation on another homeschooling list. We were talking about the thoughtless things people say to grieving parents, usually after a miscarriage, but it applies to the death of any child. I never know what to say in these situations. I’ve never lost a child; I can’t even comprehend the gut-wrenching loss parents must feel. How can I say something even remotely appropriate? So I don’t say anything more than, “I’m sorry.” The moms who have lost babies had whole lists of crazy things people have said to them.  The most disgusting one to me, and the most common one Christians like to use is, “It was God’s will.” I think that is rude, insensitive, and completely untrue. I don’t think death at all is in God’s will, and the death of a precious child can’t possibly be part of God’s plan. We live in an imperfect world, and horrible things happen. Don’t try to brush off a grieving parent’s sorrow by claiming the loss of their child is “God’s will”.

Our whole homeschool community, and the community in general, I’m sure, has rallied around this family. Nothing we can say or do can take away the pain and devastation they are experiencing. I’m pretty good with words. I can talk up a storm and I can write all day long, but when it’s something this important, I just don’t have any words. I don’t know what to say to my friend except, “I’m so sorry.” I’m praying that others will only have words of love and encouragement for the family and no one will say anything insensitive like “It was God’s will.”

*The name of the family was used, but I’m not posting it here in order to protect their privacy.

Max on Life – Book Review

Max on Life: Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions is written by pastor and author Max Lucado.  With chapter headings like Hope, Hurt, Help, Him/Her, Home, Haves/Have-Nots, and Here-After, the author answers some of the most common questions asked about God and Christianity. Addressing everything from forgiveness to angels to sex to baptism, Lucado gives biblical answers to our pressing questions. Scriptural references are given for most answers and there is a topical index and a scriptural index in the back of the book.
I’d never read anything by this author so I wasn’t sure where he stands on some topics. I had an uneasy few minutes when I read the question about how to be saved and he wrote that according to John 3:16, we only have to believe and we will be saved. Without getting into too much doctrine, I believe that the Bible calls for more than that for salvation, so I was concerned about how Lucado may interpret other passages in the Bible. However, later in the book, in answer to a question about baptism, he points out that it is indeed a requirement for Christians and that every conversion in the New Testament culminates in a baptism.

I enjoyed Lucado’s writing style and sense of humor. Life isn’t all fun and games, but it’s easier to receive a message if there is laughter involved. It’s like the spoonful of sugar. I believe God wants us to enjoy the life he has given us and humor and laughter are part of that.

My favorite quotes from the book:

On aging: “Getting old is inevitable. But are you going to hobble and groan your way to the grave or race your rickety old wheelchair downhill to your funeral? We’re all going to end up the same way, but we can have fun getting there!”

On hope: “If you accomplish a possible dream, then you get all the glory. But if you accomplish an impossible dream, then God gets all the glory.”

On denominations: “We are different. But if we’re in the same car, being driven by the same Father, headed toward the same place, can we not accept one another?”

On fighting in the church: “If love covers a multitude of sins, can it not cover a multitude of opinions?”

On balance: “When it comes to kids and family, it is a lot easier to make money than to make up for lost time.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.combook review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.