Real dangers vs. imaginary ones

Hospitals across the country are retheming after a recent study unearthed a startling fact.  Of 250 children surveyed, exactly 250 of them expressed an aversion or out-and-out fear of clowns.  I suppose a generation of administrators raised on Bozo and Ronald McDonald were slow to realize that garishly painted faces were just about the last thing children wanted to see when they were already scared out of their minds.

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A few examples of "The Small Things"

Last week in this space I encouraged the “one-talent” Christians out there to not lose heart, but rather to rejoice in the “small things” they may be able to do in service to God and to the church.  I thought I would follow up today with some specifics.

Again, these are things that virtually any Christian can do. 

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Nerf

A 9-year-old boy in Wales has lost an eye to a Nerf gun.  This is not the beginning of a joke.  This is the conclusion to a two-act tragedy.  It seems he lost sight in the eye because of an incident with a toy arrow when he was only 3; the second incident caused irreversible damage to the eye, forcing him to have it removed entirely or else risk losing sight in the second eye as well.

The mother, who is raising money through crowdfunding to get her son a more realistic prosthetic eye, says she doesn’t want people to think she is a bad mother.  I wonder why she would feel compelled to say that?

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Companions

I spent the better part of the week at what Taylor delights in calling “preacher camp” while she and Tracie were riding out the hurricane.  Yes, I feel a bit guilty about that.  What can I say?  They made me go, and they wouldn’t let me come home early.  They had Elvis movies to watch.

But I’m glad I went.  I met a few dozen preachers.  I sat at the feet of qualified and motivated instructors.  I grew as a preacher and a Christian.  Almost as importantly, I got ample fodder for articles such as this one.  Stay tuned.

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Abstaining from Sin: 100 percent effective 100 percent of the time

American efforts at sex education are ridiculed by many for a strong emphasis on abstinence.  “We know kids are going to have sex,” the argument goes, “so we should teach them a safer way.”  Whether this curriculum “works” or not is irrelevant in my view, as it avoids the central issue.  The problem is not kids getting pregnant or getting STDs; the problem is kids going to hell.

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Stork

Most references to “love” in the New Testament use one of two Greek nouns — agapao or phileo.  (Hide the children!  Hal’s faking a knowledge of Greek again!)  But there is another Greek word included in the compound word astorge, which is usually translated “unloving.”  The root storge is generally defined as “family love,” that which exists (or does not exist, in the case of references to astorge in Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3) between parents and children.

This root may be an explanation for the strange but pervasive myth of a stork bringing newborn babies to parents.  Or maybe not.  Who knows?  Who but me cares?

In any event, a new birth stirs instinctive and emotional connections in the parent as well as the child.  It would seem to be a natural, undeniable, inescapable thing.  Tragically, it is not.  We occasionally hear horror stories of mothers abandoning children after delivery.  Just last week a 21-year-old sorority girl was found guilty of literally putting her newborn daughter in a plastic bag and throwing her in the trash.  And these stories seem to be more common every year.

Personally, I blame abortion.  We’re being trained to think of babies being a burden rather than a blessing, and to minimize the consequences of all our bad choices.  And so here we are — a society without natural affection.

The cure is as obvious as it is hard.  Turn an entire culture toward God.  Read Jeremiah, and Hosea, and Zephaniah, and all the other passages in the Bible that warn rebellious people of judgment to come.  And it will come, even surer than the stork.