Archives For Cultural Issues

Description: Today’s world is becoming more vocal and outspoken in its attack on the values of God. Do we ignore the rising “popularity” of homosexuality, sexual activity, and declining morals? How do we deal with these things without offending the parents or introducing topics to “innocent” children before they’re “ready”? Discover answers to all those questions.

imageIDENTIFYING HOT TOPICS

 

THE CHALLENGE

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Normally when I write an article like this one, I have thought through the issue and am ready to share my thoughts.  This is an exception.  A thought occurred to me this morning on my way to work.  I want to throw it out there and get your thoughts on it.

There is no doubt that we live in a day and age with an “entitlement mentality.”  We idolize personal autonomy to the point where anything and everything that might infringe on that personal autonomy is jeered at and derided as intolerant or “old fashioned” thinking.  This sense of entitlement is slowly destroying the very fabric our our society as it eats away as established institutions which have been the bedrock of our society and raises a whole generation to think “It’s all about me.”  I believe this propensity is becoming more and more apparent is successive generations, but don’t sneer is you’re older.  All of us up through Generation X’ers (that’s me) up and to the Baby Boom generation (maybe beyond) have been bitten by this bug.

In children’s ministry, the kids coming through our churches are likely to either have this same entitlement mentality or at least be tempted by it on a daily basis.  To continue to convince kids that it really should be all about Jesus and what he’s done for us will mean, more and more, overcoming the presumption of entitlement.

Here’s the rub.  I think most of us would acknowledge what I’ve written so far.  We’ve seen it in our kids, and maybe even in ourselves.  But, in children’s ministry, we also throw around the idea of relevance quite frequently.  We have to make our services relevant for kids.  We have to understand their culture.  The message never changes, but we have to keep up with the medium.

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imageSeveral months back, I started a series on the effect of divorce on kids and what the Bible has to say about divorce. Before we get further into the series, I thought it made sense to step back and look at some of the statistics related to divorce in our country – statistics which betray the fact that divorce has become all too common and the effects of divorce devastating.

“Many studies have documented the effects of divorce on children and almost all of them have concluded that children of divorced parents suffer from both immediate as well as long-term emotional and psychological problems.” 5

Consider the following, and reflect on what it means for kids in our society today. These statistics are not hard to find. In fact, I did a simple Google search on children of divorce and found these. The original source is noted after each statistic (I have paraphrased some of the statistics and quoted others). I have not, for purposes of this article, gone to back to each original source to verify the information.

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At the end of last year, I did a post on one passage out of the Bible about divorce called “A Glimpse into God’s View of Divorce.”  Over the course of the last week, I have been doing some additional research on the impact of divorce on kids for a series of articles I intend to write in the near future.  I feel like God has laid it on my heart to dig into this issue and specifically to give some thought to how do we, as those engaged in children’s ministry, address this issue and support these kids.  I have to tell you though that my heart breaks with each article I read and each study I examine.  The percentages and the methods are all secondary to the pain and turmoil caused by parents divorcing.  One study in particular sticks out in my head that concluded that kids of divorced parents have more psychological problems than kids who lose a parent to death.  Personally, I have no direct experience with divorce, but I do know what it is like to lose a parent at a young age (my mother died shortly after my sixth birthday).  To read that millions of kids each year are experiencing pain and heartache and long-lasting consequences even greater than that just rips at my heart, and has from time to time over the course of the last couple of weeks brought me to tears.  As the community of Christ, it is time that we stopped side stepping this issue under the pretense of not offending parents and started to address the even bigger issue of the impact this is having on the children.  As I was driving home last night, I had my Ipod on shuffle, and it just happened (read “God thing”) to land on a song from Matthew West that I would like to share with you:

I would challenge you today to spend some time praying for marriages and praying for children of divorce.  I would further challenge you to find a way to help the kids in your church emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually who have or are suffering through this gut wrenching travesty.  It is time that we serve as the Body of Christ to these kids who oftentimes are left with nowhere else to turn!

DivorceToday’s post is about divorce and the impact of divorce on kids.  It is the beginning of what I hope will be series of articles over the next several months on the general issue of marriage and divorce.  I hope to cover a biblical view of divorce, statistics related to divorce, the impact of divorce on children, and much more.  I do not know why God has laid this on my heart to explore and discuss this issue.  Though I lost my mother when I was six years old, my parents were not divorced and my father and step-mother have now been married for over 20 years.  By the grace of God, I am not divorced.  So, I do not write with a first-hand knowledge of the emotions which accompany divorce.  I think that this is both a positive and a negative.  That said, God has increasingly laid this issue on my heart and so I will move forward in obedience to God.

I feel like an article like this (or a series of articles like these) needs to have some sort of disclaimer – not a disclaimer of God’s Word which is true and infallible and needs no disclaimer – but a disclaimer as to the intent and purpose of the article.  I believe that the Bible is clear – divorce is a sin and God’s plan is a plan of reconciliation.  I also believe that the Bible is the revelation of God who is the ultimate in authority in our lives.  Divorce is not the worst of all sins or an unforgivable sin, but it is a sin (in most cases), and the church has for the most part abdicated its responsibility and mislead its people in not calling it a sin.  It is a sin like all others that needs to be repented of like all others.  And, like other sins, it it the reason the Christ died on the cross.

That said, if you have been divorced, God does not love you any more or less than if you have not.  This is not an article about why you or anyone else should, or should not, have gotten divorced.  It is not an article meant to condemn you if you have been divorced.  If we are in Christ, we have been given his righteousness, and that is what God sees when he looks at us.  This is not an article meant to point out the speck in your eye while ignoring the plank in my own eye.  It is an article about God’s plan and the impact that divorce has on that plan.  It is, I hope, and article which will make people take a second to think about the implications of divorce both on families and on the church.

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