Monday, September 18, 2006

"And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." Isaiah 58:12
----------------------------------------------------------

On my 45th. birthday the Lord told me to rebuild the walls. For those who have heard the Lord speak to them you know what I mean. You are praying to Him, and you ask Him a question or lift up a concern or are just mulling over a situation in His presence and all of a sudden a thought or sentence just drops into your mind out of nowhere. Nowhere in the sense that it didn't follow, build upon or seem like the next thought in a natural progression of your own thoughts.

So I'm lying in bed and saying something like, You know Lord, I am seriously middle-aged now and what would you like me to do with my life at this point? "Rebuild the walls". Boom. He answered so quickly that it stunned me. No elaboration. But it sounded familiar, so I went scurrying to my bible, and eventually found the verse quoted above. WOW! What walls? Well, the verse talks about the old waste places, and raising up the foundations of many generations.

Oh, now this is exciting. Could it be that our Lord is wanting us (because you know I can't repair and rebuild these walls all by myself) to go back and champion all that was ever good and true and right that our civilization rests upon? Champion as in "live it" and talk about it freely. Maybe our dismay at the sorry state of morality and human behavior in our society is not just reactionary or nostalgic, unrealistic, and wrong. Maybe as a civilization we have lost so much of what is noble and righteous that we are like Israel of old during the time that the books of the law were lost. Even the memory of them had faded by the time they were rediscovered in the temple. When the king read them he was devastated to see how far astray he and the nation had gone. He now had a frame of reference, a context and something with which to compare society.

Certain words and terms such as "lady", "gentleman", "virtue", "modesty" and one's "Christian duty" have for some time been mocked and held in derision, considered quaint and hopelessly outdated. For most of our country's history, however, these terms were held in high esteem, were considered ideals to strive for, and in that striving a free and righteous nation was forged. Even the old prejudices and societal constructs, slavery and the caste system were held up to the scrutinizing light of justice and freedom, and became a thing of the past.

What pains me most as time progresses is realizing that people living now are less likely to make fun of these ideals as they are to simply draw a blank when they hear them. They are foreign ideas for which people have no frame of reference. They are unfamiliar, and therefore irrelevant concepts to the average person in the Western World.

Even the Church herself has crumbling walls. Some are even down in the basement, chipping away and setting off little explosives around the foundation. Jesus Christ, the foundation and cornerstone, the Word of God Himself, is being "spun" by the new "enlightened" way of interpreting Scripture and morals. The new enlightenment, however, is merely the old paganism in modern garb and it is leading many down its broad, smoothly paved, modern path to destruction.

I contend that as Christians living in free countries we have a solemn duty to be a light to others. In our lives and in our homes we should be trying, with God's help, to live sound and blameless lives. And now I'm going to have to get a little graphic.

Mothers, do your little children really need to see your butt cheeks hanging out of your shorts when you bend over? Young ladies, could you stop for a second and please listen to your own delicate, feminine voice as you spew out the F word like it was nothing? How about everybody's favorite expression these days: "This or that (you fill in the blanks) SUCKS". You are taking an expression which refers to giving a man oral sex every time you utter that expression.

Ladies, do you wear tight jeans and show cleavage when you go out for the day? How about when you go to church? Do you care that maybe you are tempting a married man or a young man who is trying to keep himself under control?

How about our phone manners, our driving manners, the respect we show our spouses? How do we react when our child is disciplined at school? When he or she gets a grade that we disagree with. I am talking primarily to women because I do not wish to try and take authority over a man. A lot of these little things apply to both sexes though. We are de-civilizing ourselves in the present world and I do not presume to judge, but can only shudder at what we are storing up for ourselves in the next. Think also of these little ones, whom our Savior warns us most sternly we are not to lead astray.

I speak as the chiefest of sinners. I have not been the best wife, mother or citizen, or child of God. But I want to be; and with God's help I can improve while I have breath.

What else can we do to repair the breach, to be restorers of paths to dwell in? I would love to hear others' thoughts and ideas.

11 comments:

  1. These are such good points and need to be voiced more often!

    I remember the rudeness of guests who made fun of my tea cups and tea, putting their pinkies into the air and exaggerating high classed manners. One young man took the tea cozy and put it on his head. This was back in the 60's when people had just endured 10 years of rebellion, in which no one ever saw a tea room, much less a tea cup.

    I wore gloves to a social event and was treated as an outcast. No wonder the elderly people of the time, some born during the Victorian era, retreated to their homes and rarely were seen. I was invited to one of these people's houses, an old Victorian house, and was so surprised to see that living with them was a very elderly woman dressed in a high necked white blouse, wearing a brooch at the neckline, her white hair coiled up. I had no idea she even existed. She just felt more comfortable at home, and it is fast becoming that way for me!!

    On the west coast, everyone is on a first name basis, and no one knows what Mrs. or Mr. means, although I am happy to say that the Safeway store employees are required to use a proper address.

    I must tell you that when I got married, my husband and I both noticed that there was not the same kind of congratulations or feeling toward a marital union. People didn't call us Mr. and Mrs. One person asked, "Why don't you just live together?" and it took a long time to feel like we were a real married couple. I think the new casualness diminished the dignity of marriage in many people's eyes. It was not considered a really serious, life changing step. Throughout our marriage I noticed people did things that undermined marriages, and derided husbands and wives, and said things to us that they never would have dared say to my parents or grandparents in their day.

    And our homes: I will never forget the first time someone came in and criticised my house, saying it was "too green," or "too pink," and wondering where we got all the junk furniture. They then had the bad manners to leave a few of their possessions--some hair combs, a jacket, and a few other things, and wanted me to bring it to them. I kept it all at my house until they were desperate enough to come and get it, as I'd just had enough of collecting lost and found--everything from shoes to toys. After that, that couple and their children never left another thing at anyone's house.

    I think the only thing to be done at this point is to express ourselves to these people and behave as though we are shocked and horrified. For too long, we have been complacent at rude the way people behave, thinking we are the rude ones if we say anything. The unruly have certainly got us where they want us: gagged and bound and not able to stop them.

    And the blatant immodesty: one woman told me she tells people, "Your underwear is showing," or "I can see you cleavage when you bend over," because the hints don't help, and the word "modesty" means nothing.

    Public schools are social change agents of society and in just a short time can alter the way the home is run. Children come home from school with different tastes than their parents, and different values. It erodes away at what parents are commanded to do in Dueteronly 6:6-8 and Ephesians 6:1-3. Sending children to school is to create conflict in their lives and in ours for many years. Unless a parent is really prepared for that battle and wants to engage in it, it is best to keep them home and train them up when they are pliable. I took mine out of school because I didn't want to spend 12 years of my life un-teaching the bad manners and language and lifestyles that they were absorbing. Some of the teachers themselves had questionable lifestyles. We are certainly responsible not to lead these little ones astray, and putting them in a school system to be taught by others, is a sure way to do it. I went to public school and know full well what it is about. At one point I knew it was a big social experiment to turn children away from Christianity. Once they reject the scriptures, the rudeness reigns supreme--a natural outcome of spending the most teachable hours a day in a humanist atmosphere.

    We cannot correct the rudeness unless we get our children away from the people that are fostering it. I'm glad you mentioned paganism, because there is a subtle paganistic teaching going on. Years ago Mel and Norma Gabler were helping their son with some history homework and discovered a textbook full of error. It had 4 pages on Marilyn Monroe and one paragraph on Abraham Lincoln. This led them to research other textbooks and they wrote a book called "What are They Teaching Our Children?" This helped launch the homeschool movement in the 80's. The coarseness and crudeness that goes on in society is a result of early training and education. The humanists know that education is their "church" and the classroom their pulpit. By breaking down every decent and civilized thing, they can then re-invent the values of the children and make them differ with their parents. Parents have a responsiblity to train up a child in the way he should go, and they cannot do this if they turn their children over to others during the most receptive and creative hours of the day. So, while we cannot change that great big system, we can control what is given to us: our own children, in our own homes. God has wisely put the parents as authorities over the children, not the "experts." Many families have found joy and peace once they retreated to their homes to raise their children, doing the things that they love: art, music, history, and everything that is good a lovely. Loveliness does begin at home and flow outward into society, but children are not fully trained to do this and cannot be expected to fight adult battles regarding manners, and decency. It is up to the parents to take control of society, both by training their own children and by rebuking the unruly that impose on others.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lydia, your experiences are shared by many of us, and I am sorry to hear of people's cruelty to you and anyone else who is trying to do right. I feel hurt when I think of people coming into your home, your relationships, and denigrating you.

    How about the comments we hear wherein we are advised to provide our adolescents with birth control because they are "going to do it anyway". We are considered fools if we admonish our children to abstinence, and keep on exhorting them to purity. Its not like they don't know about birth control, std's and the like, but I am sure they won't hear much out in the world about emotional well-being and a clear conscience, and the other benefits of respecting their own bodies.

    I think in this issue and some of the others that have been raised that it is our job to draw the line in the sand, and get out the message that there is right and wrong and you are free to do the wrong thing but you are at least going to hear from me that it IS wrong and that there is a good choice, a good alternative to the WRONG.

    ReplyDelete
  3. At the time I was raising my own children, I was heading into a wilderness that I had no experience for, having not observed my own parents in the same situation. I think there was more respect for parental authority in their day. People said things to me that no one would have dared said to my own mother. In their day the world was a much safer place. Now it is a battle for authority. I stood in stunned silence when someone told my children right in front of me that they would one day want to rebel, and that they would not always want to be with their parents. Now looking back, I wish I had said something, but at the time, felt a bit intimidated. I knew this person was wrong but did not want to sound radical. Now I think it is good that we sound radical and make thes people back off with their mouthy opinions. Our generation was too concerned with being polite and not concerned enough with doing right no matter what the cost. As a result, we have a whole lot of polite fifty to sixty year olds, but the younger generations need them to be more forthright. Parents especially need to guard their territory--their homes and their children, with their life.We may not be threatened by the things of the wild west, like brush fires and outlaws, but it is a battle for control.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous1:38 PM

    As Christian parents it is our job to have our family connected to a solid home church where the Bible is taught without excuses. We, as parents, are to educate our children as to what is morally acceptable. We are to help them to develop their moral compass which will carry them throughout their lifetime.

    Does that mean withdrawing from society by pulling our children out of the public arena (i.e. schools)? I say absolutely not! Aren't we called to let our light shine so that men can see our good works and glorify our Father who is in Heaven. If we do not enter the public arena how are we to fulfill the Great Commission. Isolationism is not the answer. Our children will inevitably be exposed to the real world, we cannot prevent that from happening.

    What about the socialization aspect? Do you really believe that keeping your children home helps them to develop the social skills they will need? I think not.

    What about your skill as a parent to teach your child? Do you really consider yourself able to teach every subject your child needs to know in order to survive in a world which is becoming technologically more advanced every day? Do you really think you have resources equal to the resources found in schools, private or public?

    Bring your child up in the admonition of the Lord, that is your job as a parent. Help them to become as well educated as possible and send them into the real world to shine the Light to a world that needs Jesus. How can we as Bible-believing Christians hide our Light under a bushel basket? Think about it, better yet pray about it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Anonymous,

    You raise so many important issues that I don't know where to start, but please allow me to try.

    I absolutely agree with you that we are to bring our children up in the Lord, no question. I also agree that it is possible for a child to attend a public school and be a good Christian child. Possible, but it is a path frought with difficulties. Like Red Riding Hood sent off alone to find her way through the perilous woods.

    I have five children, all of whom attended public school. Two of them are becoming successful adults, one of them is working on it, the youngest is one of those children who has a naturally righteous and compliant temperament. The other one is in juvenile jail as I type this; you can read about him in my latest post. I cannot with certainty trust that any of them are saved, except, ironically, maybe the one who is in jail. I homeschooled him and the daughter for about half a year each when I knew that the environment they were in was going to really hurt them at the time. When I taught them, I did not have to answer, discipline, and organize 29 other students; it was one on one time and the concepts and subjects were grasped in minutes instead of days, since no one had to change classes, line up for lunch, listen to announcements, line up for the bus, or sit there idly while I helped a dozen other people.

    I wish I had been able to homeschool all of them because they are good people but are all now quite in love with the world. Homeschooling would have allowed me to better control the rate at which they were exposed to things. It was one thing for me to not have cable tv and to monitor what they were allowed to see; one thing to have my Internet filtered and not have any books or even furnishings in the home that would offend Christ or these little ones. It was quite another thing and quite an impossible thing to shield them from being exposed by schoolmates and teachers to all manor of vile ideas and materials that most adults would have refused to debase their minds with 50 years ago. This was done in elementary school, as was the introduction to illicit drugs. God knows what they saw and did at their school friend's homes, but goodness, we did have to let them socialize! In middle school my daughter found herself trying to defend the notion that evolution as taught in public school is still called a theory because it hasn't been proved. Unfortunately, she proved no match for her Science teacher, who shut her down and belittled her after that. She met with the same ridicule when in high school the subjects of extra-marital sex and abortion were discussed. I think what hurt her most was to see how her classmates were so successfully indoctrinated by the teacher on these subjects.

    I also believe that we, as adults, should take our place in society and be helpful, law abiding, volunteering, tax-paying, friendly citizens whose lives and conversation witness to our living faith in Christ.

    None of the above requires us letting the world system have its way with our children, though. They are vulnerable and impressionable. The reason why they are under our care is because they are unable to fend for themselves; they are not developed yet to be able to withstand the onslaught of opinions from other adults who do not share their parent's Christian faith and/or worldview. In other words, we do not use our children as "bait" to entice the world to Christ. They are like tender plants who must be gradually accustomed to the world out there, just as a tender hot house plant cannot withstand being transferred from its climate-controlled environment directly into the hot sun. It must be "hardened" off. So, Christian parents who homeschool must do with their children and control the amount of exposure to the world they get, while constantly providing explanations, caveats, and cautionary tales if need be.

    I am 52 years old, I have a B.A. in English and 12 credits towards an M.A. in Communication, not to mention several long years in the college of hard knocks. I can tell you with confidence that I can successfully teach a child any subject right now except high school Math, for which I would hire a tutor, or swap subjects with another homeschooling mom who was proficient in Math. Another thing some people do is arrange for small classes of homeschoolers to meet with a private teacher. One more thing about one's skill at teaching subjects to children: by far, the most well-rounded, well-read, intellectually curious, fiendly, outgoing and sociable people I know are the children of several families of Beachy Amish, with whom I have had the honor of knowing these last 15 years. None of their parents, nor their teachers ever went past the 8th. grade. If possible, I will try to get a couple of them guest-write and article or two for this blog.

    There is no reason why a homeschooled child cannot be properly socialized with supervised play times with children from other like-minded families; with interaction between siblings and extended family members, and at church.

    Lastly, it is much harder to orient children to their moral compass while simultaneously trying to drive the wolf back out through the front door that was deliberately left open to him.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Anonymous,

    I also just checked your comment which I only just received in my e-mail this afternoon, and it said it came from Sept. 18. I do apologize though I have no idea why I didn't receive it for an entire week. I appreciate your taking the time to post, so if you are out there, please know that I did not hold your comment up intentionally.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous2:32 PM

    While you make some valid points, I still do not see how we as Christians can let our light shine in a world that does not know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ if we cubby ourselves away and separate ourselves from the "real world". The Bible is clear in stating that we are to be "in" the world, not "of" the world. Yes, children are vulnerable. That is precisely why we need to address the spiritual issues at home and not have teachers, either public or private, pushing their ideals on our children.
    That said, children and young adults are best able to reach out to their peers. I am 51 years old and I have a heart for young people, but I cannot effectively reach some of them as can their peers. This is why our children need to be out there proclaiming Jesus to the world.
    Where would we be if Jesus had only ministered to the "righteous"? Did He not say that he came for the sick. He did all of His Father's bidding - He did what He saw The Father doing. Isn't that what we are commanded to do also?
    Again, don't hide your light under a bushel basket, let it shine brightly for the world to see.
    I have two wonderful children who were a product of public school education, as was I. They both love the Lord and are well able to discern what is spiritually right and wrong with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Yes, some of what is taught in school is absolutely not correct, but they were able to discern the truth from the fiction. They also were able to affect many of their peers and share Christ with them. For that I am "eternally" grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Again, I would not use a child as "bait" for another child. I would bring my children with me to witness and minister, but they would be under our guidance and supervision while doing the visitation.

    That's if I had had the wisdom myself to see the "real world" for what it was. As it stands, I was very naive and foolish, not seeing the folly of letting them keep unsupervised company with folks I should have known better about.

    I'm glad your children did so well, though. Hopefully your grandchildren will be just fine, too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Gail and Anonymous...

    I know this is an old topic, but let me add something:

    Salvation is a work of God, not of man. I know this for a fact--not merely from Scripture, but from personal experience.

    My salvation came about in an almost complete vacuum. I was not raised in a very Christian family. I had spent many years in a public-school system that appeared to be geared more toward making me conform than to helping me excel (given that teachers didn't spend a lot of time teaching, but a lot of time trying to knock me down and shut me up). I spent several years in a university system that actually encouraged me away from Christianity into paganism.

    I had major problems, and one day faced only suicide as an option. Then God intervened, gave me a sign (I am ashamed that I needed one), and that day I decided to seek His will and not my own.

    No preacher. No "peers." Nobody had me pray the "sinner's prayer." It was only me and God. In the end, that's all it ever is. Oh, I had heard the Gospel many a time in my childhood--but it made no nevermind until I was 20.

    You may tell me all you wish that there are good Christian children out witnessing in the schools--but I do not believe you. The only person who ever witnessed to me was a Jehovah's Witness; the others claimed to be Christians, but had more fun making me feel like a loser than showing me that I was lost. In fact, I watched a goodly number of kids who were initially kind to me (when I first showed up) eventually turn on me at the urging of their less Christian friends.

    You had best be VERY sure that your child is immune to every temptation before having them waste seven hours a day in classrooms not being taught, just for the purpose of being "salt and light" for a few brief seconds before being smacked down and disciplined by their teachers and peers. And you had also best be VERY sure that they aren't going to resent you for being artificially held back by a system that is NOT designed for excellence.

    Mrs. Bartlett

    ReplyDelete
  10. I do know of one girl who did become an on-fire Christian in high school and is still witnessing everywhere she goes. I will agree that she is an exception, a big one. I also know there are no guarantees with homeschooling either, but I think there is no question that children are better off being educated at home, given the current state of affairs in education and society. Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous1:34 AM

    I believe in homeschooling. The many families I know have very well socialized children. They go to many places to learn outside their own homes. They have music lessons,sports and other things too with many children who are not homeschooled...but are taught to know the world view on things and how to battle against those who try to pursuade them away from their faith. You cannot throw a child who has been totally sheltered and kept at home totally etc maybe out into the work force or such but the homeschooled children I have known have gone on to lead lives and lives still full of their faith and values. Many are in regular colleges now and you know how slanted colleges can be! This post brought about some very good comments from the author and Lady Lydia. Yes good children can result from a public education...but do you want to chance it? Also the world we as parents grew up with is not the world our children are around in school now. Is the world you see on tv the same world you knew growing up? Think. I am for homeschooling when ever possible. Sarah

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to comment by clicking here.