Live Contrary to the World

Live Contrary to the World

Live Contrary to the World

Pic by Balazs Toth

 

Today we live in a culture saturated with self-serving, self-indulging, and self-gratifying people. It doesn’t take much to see how true this really is. We could point to the level of violent crime in the US, which indicates on some level a selfish desire to inflict pain on others in order to gain some demented level of gratification. Don’t believe that statement? Consider this comment from one Memphis teenager regarding a teen mob attack at a Kroger grocery store, “It’s fun…That’s just what kids do.”

Violence, though, is just one of many behaviors that reflect the reality of a selfish culture. What about a city that votes unanimously about criminalizing homelessness? Yes, it’s true. The city council in Columbia, SC voted to criminalize homelessness. Why? The motive isn’t completely clear as one council member said it was a temporary measure toward “a more sound resolution.” But like most decisions similar to these, it usually revolves around money. Apparently some businesses are voicing concerns on how the homeless crisis is affecting the city. (Read: Affecting sales and the bottom line.) Instead of addressing the issues in a more humanitarian way, it’s apparent that incarcerating, or moving the homeless to “a remote emergency shelter” on the outskirts of the city limits and where they’re out of sight, is a more acceptable alternative.

Another example of a selfish society can be found in Daytona Beach, CA and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The law enforcement in these cities are told to enforce ordinances that make it illegal to feed the homeless. According to the laws of these cities, it’s up to the government to use taxpayer money to meet these needs in the community. The penalty to feed the homeless on your own? Large fines and even jail time. These laws seemingly run contrary in showing compassion to those less fortunate.

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To Hallow or Not to Hallow Een

To Hallow or Not to Hallow Een

To Hallow or Not to Hallow Een

 

This October 31, many Memphians will be out celebrating what is today referred to as Halloween. In many regards, Halloween is considered a major holiday in the US, perhaps surpassing Thanksgiving and coming in behind Christmas, which is the number one celebrated holiday. But is Halloween a holiday that should be celebrated, particularly among Christians? According to one website, Wiccans see this as one of their eight major holidays, so how should Christians respond?

 

According to Dictionary.com, the name Halloween is derived from All Saint’s Day even though the Christian holiday doesn’t have any resemblance to the holiday celebrated today. In fact, it is more likely based on the Celtic New Year, which at that time celebrated the dead arising for one night, among other things.

 

There are several aspects regarding Halloween that should raise “red flags” among Christian believers. However, it is a matter of disagreement even within the Christian community about whether Christians in general should be involved in the holiday or not. While some arguments “for” participation may have merit, there is one aspect of the argument that is completely left out and will be discussed later.

 

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The Beginning

I could say that it all began with my first encounter with a Playboy magazine when I was twelve years old.  I could say that all throughout puberty there were regular encounters with such magazines.  Unfortunately, they were available from all the male figures in my family.  But I think the issue goes back even further than that.

Several years prior to my experience with pornography, my family moved to a small town in Iowa.  We had lived on a farm with limited contact with neighbors only to move into a town where everybody knew each other’s business.  It seemed like a good move at the time, and it probably was for everyone but me.

It didn’t happen immediately but within a relatively short time I became the butt of people’s jokes.  I was perhaps an awkward child and it is possible that I brought on a lot of the trouble upon myself.  From the first year in grade school, kids teased and ridiculed me.  During those years there were very few teachers or adults that truly got involved for the child’s benefit.  Unlike the culture in schools today, there wasn’t much training taking place or awareness involved in the area of bullying.

What happened didn’t affect me overnight.  It took several years of berating but eventually I became isolated, somewhat of a recluse.  I did have a friend at that school but he endured much of the same ridicule as I did.

What transpired over time affected me.  It would eventually change my behavior, or at least be a catalyst.  I acted out in unusual and harmful ways.  I would end up lying and stealing on many occasions.  It became so bad at times that when I was accused of arson, there was no one to believe that I was innocent, despite all my objections.

With my experience as a child, I think it’s quite possible that psychologically I was not in a good place when I first viewed pornography.  It may have fed into my insecurities.  It became, perhaps, a way to escape the realities of life and use sexual fantasies to fill a void.  Without real male leadership, I was alone to deal with these emotions and strange feelings I was experiencing.

It may not be much different today.  Kids all over the world are growing up with dysfunctional family units.  Many children grow up in homes without any father present.  Even if they are physically present, they’re absent in other ways.  Too many have to muddle through childhood and adolescence and try to figure out stuff on their own.  Even worse, now liberal schools with their perverted sexual agendas are pushing their form of sexual education on these children warping their minds and exacerbating the situation.

As bad as things started out for me as a child and having to deal with and sort through all the sexual perversion, I think children today are going to have it that much worse.  With pornography readily available on smart phones, laptops, and other such gadgets, perversion is more accessible to a generation of impressionable minds more so than ever in history.

It’s fair to say that my beginnings didn’t start out well.  I only pray that the generations of children growing up in our immoral culture are able to recognize and get help when they need it.  Too many are going to go through experiences they’re not fully equipped to understand.

What about you?  Do you have an unhealthy view of sex?  Has pornography led you down a dark path in your life?  Or do you know someone who is going through a problem with sexual immorality?

As Christians I hope we’re ready to deal with these issues.  The church needs to be ready to identify and minister to these increasing problems.  Unfortunately, these are problems that many in the church want to keep quiet and sweep under the rug.  Pretend it’s not there.  But just as Paul dealt with sexual perversion in his day, the church needs to be ready to deal with sexual perversion in ours.  Men and women alike are going to need help when they begin to realize their sin.  Let’s pray that the help will be there when it comes time for their healing and restoration.