Thursday, August 9, 2012


I'm sure plenty of folks think I'm na·ïve (at best) and maybe a little up-tight, and undoubtedly there are a few folks who would say I'm judgmental and prudish. What's a gal to do?  I am what I am...whatever that is.

Mostly, I'm a sinner saved by grace.  Whew!

And often what I am is puzzled. I think too much.

OK, granted...I'm a high "i" on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator--pretty gosh darn introverted (despite what anyone thinks or says) so I'm comfortable spending time alone with myself and my thoughts. Maybe I spend a little too much solo time, but typically the decisions I make, the conclusions I draw, and even the judgments I decide to reserve have been carefully considered...very often put to prayer.

But enough about me.

The thing is, it's election time, and not to be self-focused, BUT, I'm also smack-dab in the middle of child-rearing time. In my economy, that means it's serious thinking time!


There's a here-and-now that's in trouble, and a future hanging in the balance--for my nation, for humanity...and for the little girl I've devoted my life to loving and protecting. I the only one who's feeling an overwhelming sense of responsibility???

So what I'm wondering so much lately is why folks don't seem to be putting all of the pieces together.

I find the disconnect most evident among my Christian peers and friends, and in my own life. Why, I wonder, do we seem to have this adjustable sensibility that can get its knickers all in a twist about gay marriage and abortion, but not about things that hit super close to ethics, personal accountability, modesty, purity, reverence, humility, loyalty, respect, honesty, etc? I'm not even going to ask about the pursuit of holiness!  Here's who I am there: FAIL!

But here's where I want to be...

So, I ask myself: 

Why are things like self-examination, self-control, self-sacrifice, etc seemingly secondary to public outrage over the sins of others? How can it be that these aspects of public and private life are SO out-of-sync with both the logic and the mysteries of faith that so few people seem to be making the critical connections that have tremendous power to move the hand of God to heal our families, our souls, and our nation?

I can't speak for anyone else, but when I read 2 Chronicles 7:14 my first instinct is never to look outward at my country or my community. To my mind, this verse smacks of a call to self-reflection that leads to personal repentance...on a wide scale! I get convicted.

If Christians put the pieces together it is likely that the picture of responsibility for so much public dissatisfaction will become clearest in our own homes.

We preach abstinence in our churches, but do we instill a preference for modesty into our children? Do we insist on modesty and model it? Do we ask ourselves what modesty should really look like?

OK...I do NOT expect my daughter to walk around in the equivalent of a body bag in order to protect her from being objectified and sexualized. I cannot honestly say to her that wearing a one piece bathing suit, as opposed to a tankini, or a bikini, will assure her of sexual respect or personal dignity.  But I can teach her about the attitudes that her fashion choices project, and how these attitudes can become a slippery slope...personally and for girls who aren't even born yet!

I can teach her that the fashion choices we make in our home have dramatic social power to maintain modesty, or expand its boundaries.

I can also teach her that she can join all the city-wide and church-wide initiatives to feed the homeless, stop abortion, protect marriage, improve entertainment, and end human trafficking, but if she isn't first feeding her next door neighbor, engaging in healthy relationships, treating others with dignity, forgiving others, reconciling relationships, loving her enemies, governing her thoughts--her tongue, her actions--and living a winsome life for Christ inside her home...then little by little she is receiving less of God's best. She becomes a less authentic model of the way of life she claims as best for everyone.  When she's old enough to vote, her decisions will become increasingly against this or that position rather than for God's standard.

Believe it or not, 12-year-olds are capable of having deep moral and ethical discussions. I dare you to try and bring candy from home into a movie you attend with my child. (SHE was the one to challenge ME about the M & Ms tucked into my purse!)  :-/

Am I the perfect model of what I preach? Nooooooo! Not by a long shot! Am I some amazing Christian mom who has it all together?

<Insert my gagging gasp and guilty expression here!>

As a Christian woman who chose divorce to solve a marital problem (even though it was a very big and complicated problem) I humbly and sadly confess that I failed to uphold my own values. There's a high cost associated with that failure. I don't take it lightly. I work hard to set as much of it right as I can, and take the brunt of the consequences as much as it is humanly possible. It's not perfect. I deserve no applause. 

But failure in one area of my life doesn't have to be a wide open door to social or spiritual ambivalence. Sin never has to be a prison. Our heavenly Father is always ready to hear our humble confessions, and walk with us away from the ways of spiritual and societal death!

If we want to restore and cash-in on our founding fathers' faith, then we have to examine the ways in which our personal lives fail to reflect their values...publicly and privately.

God's "if my people" call to prayer, humility, and repentance is the call for a gut level plea for Him to guide ME away from the things like godless and irreverent entertainment, immodest dress, unedifying talk, clickish friendships, unforgiveness, financial irresponsibility, workplace laziness, personal entitlement, and relational strife that make ME a hypocrite of the highest order before God and man. It's not a call for Pharisees and hypocrites to demand more of others while perched upon a stump of faux-piety.

God's offer says that if His people--all of us who bear the name Christian--cry out in humble prayer that MUST result in personal confession, repentance, and soul-level willingness to change...THEN He will hear all of our cries for restoration of the values we say we hold high (a land governed by His laws) and He will set things aright and heal our land.

Should we be concerned about political wranglings that influence social norms and the resulting government of our nation?  You betchya! Christianity is NOT a call to social in-action or silence.

But if we genuinely desire a national turn toward one nation under God, then we need to first ensure that we are living personally under God ourselves. That's how strength in numbers works from a heavenly by one, home by home, clan by clan, community by community, city by city, state by state...

Never doubt the depths of grass roots, or their strength.

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