Monday, June 14, 2010

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Loving Others

I woke up yesterday with a strange thought about people who are willing to die for what they believe. I don't know why this came to mind and I'm not sure I can put it into words accurately but I'll give it a try.

The thought was that a martyr doesn't die out of stubborn, self-determination about what he believes. He is willing to die because of his love for others. His desire to get the message to others is so important that he will not deny that message. If the message and his beliefs were for his own sake, he could avoid physical pain and suffering by keeping his beliefs to himself.

There's a lot to ponder in that thought. Beyond "dying for my sins," why did Jesus die? What am I doing with the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

Mark 4:10, 14, 22, 24
"the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you..."
"the farmer sows the word..."
"For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open"
"Consider carefully what you hear..."
"With the measure you use...
             it will be measured to you"

Be careful, that last statement may not be a pleasant experience. With the measure, comes love for others and a strong sense of responsibility. It would be rather foolish to put a fire under a bed (v21).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Does hedonism affect the public at large?

he·do·nism: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life

Yesterday I posted a link on Facebook to an article titled Why Men Go To Prostitutes. The article came to this conclusion: "Learning that women were trafficked, pimped, or otherwise coerced would not be so effective" in deterring the men surveyed from buying sex but having their activities made known publicly would be a deterrent. So, I suggested that those convicted of buying sex have their pictures put in the newspaper like those who are charged with DUI in some areas I've lived.

The first response surprised me.
"DUI affects the public at large. Prostitution (via brothels and escort services) does not. Unless there is a detriment to the public at large, no need for a law to hurt legitimate business practices. Legalize brothels as they have in specific counties in Nevada and tax it as a business."
My friend's response assumes those providing the pleasure and those receiving the pleasure are adults with the mental/emotional ability to make decisions on what they consider pleasurable for themselves.

My initial comment to the article assumes the illegality of prostitution. His comment is a valid argument if legality of prostitution is the issue. I wasn't expecting that type of response because in my mind there is a far greater issue than whether or not prostitution should be legal for consenting adults.

As with many issues argued in this country, we tend to argue results of actions rather than causes of actions. I'm beginning to think this must be due to the rampant acceptance of hedonism.

For example, I've never understood why we argue so much about abortion. The choice should come at the point of becoming pregnant, not after the result of sex. If we spent as much effort helping people understand consequences as we do trying to provide or argue solutions after the fact, I think we'd all be better off.

Human trafficking is another such issue. We can't solve the problem of human trafficking simply by punishing the victims. By the way, there are much stronger laws in place (than a public picture) for those who receive profit or pleasure from sex with a minor.

Human trafficking is a broad issue. For this post I will focus on the element of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. I will not deny that there are a number of women and men who willingly prostitute themselves. I will not pretend to be able to think like one who finds pleasure in paying to have sex with a young person - and paying more if the child is very young.

As one author put it, you don't hear little girls saying "I want to be a prostitute when I grow up."  My guess for those who willingly sell sex, the money meets their needs but not their dreams. For some it may be a desperate matter of survival. And this is where we must ask again, when we argue for legalization of prostitution, what exactly are we arguing for?

What is the mindset of one who says if I want to have sex then I should be able to pay for it or if I want to make money I should be able to provide whatever pleasure a person is willing to pay for. The mindset is that "pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life." How does that mindset affect the public at large?

The pleasure of hedonism is determined by the individual
With hedonism, each person is free to determine and receive the pleasure they desire - some might try to make this sound better by adding "as long as it doesn't harm someone else." But at what point do you know that it is harming someone else? How is "harm" defined? Only physical harm? What about emotional harm that isn't obvious immediately? Is no harm done if they don't know it is hurting them (see info on Stockholm Syndrome)?

The individually determined pleasure creates a society of distrust in the same way that most of us have encountered friends that are around only when it is pleasurable or beneficial for them. That is hedonism.

Hedonism emphasizes pleasure more than character

When pleasure overrides integrity, honesty, and hard work, our society becomes weak and unproductive. Do you know someone who fits this description? When enough individuals accept this mindset, the same result is reflected in society at large.

Hedonism is not containable
As much as we may want to act like we can live for pleasure in one area of our life but live with concern for others in another area, I don't think it is possible. Nor can we say only certain people should have a specific pleasure while others should deny themselves of that same pleasure. Most of us may try to pull that off with our children by telling them we are allowed to do something because we are an adult but they aren't allowed because they are too young. Without proper perspective of pleasure and goals, what does this teach them to look forward to as an adult?

Hedonism is never satisfied
This may be the greatest tragedy of hedonism. This is where the hedonism issue ties legalizing adult prostitution into minor sex trafficking. The mindset that believes life is about pleasure will always be looking for new pleasure and greater pleasures. The mindset that believes money brings pleasure or satisfies struggles, will always be looking for more money.

As my friend pointed out, Nevada has legalized prostitution in some counties. Las Vegas is not in one of those counties yet children under the age of 18 are trafficked into Las Vegas from 40 different states.

Legalizing a pleasure doesn't make it safe. Legalizing a pleasure that is intended to build trust and intimacy between two life-long partners destroys families and creates a desire that is not safe for any of us.
Men seek prostitutes for a variety of reasons. The most common reason named was to satisfy an immediate sexual urge or for pleasure (32%), followed by a need for variety (21%), not having their needs met in their current relationship (20%), convenience (15%), the thrill (8%), and an addiction or compulsion (3%). (Why Men Go To Prostitutes, A New Study)
Pleasure as a goal will never satisfy. Pleasure that satisfies comes as a result of seeking good for all people. I personally have found the only way to do that is to trust in the one who created this world. Do you want to experience satisfying adventure? Participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” ~ CS Lewis
Additional Information
headonism
child victims of human trafficking
stockholm syndrome

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A World Without Insurance

This came to me at 3am this morning so I thought I'd share the craziness.

There is no need for insurance if...
  1. people are more important than money
  2. mercy is more prevalent than blame
  3. accountability is for the good of the one being held accountable instead of personal gain for the one wronged
Insurance itself is a good concept  - everyone helping each other.
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality. 2 Corinthians 8:13-14
But somewhere along the way, we messed it up. Insurance companies take the personal element out of helping each other. That's a shame. It would be a much kinder world without insurance.

So, what do you think? Was this 3am thought prompted by God or was the white chili waking me up?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

171 Devotionals

I'm not blogging new stuff right now but you can browse the 289 posts from the last five years which include 171 devotionals or find something of interest in the Label's list in the right margin. I've listed  individual "Favorite Posts" in the right margin below the list of posts by labels. These "favorites" are based on reader comments and personal choice.

You can also use the Blogger Search (top left) to find posts on a specific word or phrase. That search tool will search my blog only. This morning I searched "mercy" and found I had a lot to say about that word over the past five years.

Thank you for reading. If you are encouraged by something you read please Tweet, post a link on Facebook, leave a comment or send an email to LBigCrum @ sbcglobal.net (remove spaces around @ before sending).

May you be blessed and God revealed as you read what God is sprouting in me.

Shalom!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2010 Input/Output

Here's the books already on my bookshelf that I intend to read this year. Challenge: Read this list before buying/borrowing another book!

Currently Reading
Searching for Who Knows What by Donald Miller (just started this one)
Giving Ourselves to Prayer (need to finish, I'm on ch 58 of 80 or something like that)
Muslims, Christians & Jesus by Carl Medearis
Writing His Answer by Marlene Bagnull (2nd time through this one)

To-Read
Doing Healing by Alexander Venter
Slaves, Women & Homosexuals by William J. Webb
The Heart of Racial Justice by McNeil and Richardson
Christ in the School of Prayer
Gregory of Nyssa - The Life of Moses
Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians
Confessions - Saint Augustine
Celebration of Discipline 
A Woman's Touch


Writing Books
Communicate to Change Lives in Person and Print by James Watkins
The Elements of Style (if you are a writer you know this book)
The Art of Column Writing by Suzette Martinez Standring
On Writing Well
Writing with Clarity and Style
Intro to Christian Writing

Bible Study Focus
The Gospels & Acts
Minor Prophets


Writing Focus
What I learn from all the reading plus...
When We Pray - Freeing the Timid Prayer Warrior
With All My Heart - Accepting God Just as He Is
Blinded by the Church - My Journey from a Facade of Fruitless Faith to Truth

Watch for quotes from what I read at my other blog Grow2Sow

Won't be blogging here regularly until I get into a routine of submitting work for publication.

Keep in touch with me in 2010 through Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

No Moisture for Perseverance

Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. ~ Luke 8:6
I have only one plant in my house because I am terrible about watering them. This morning I felt like God said I'm not so good at making sure I get watered myself. Oh, sure. I attend church weekly. I'm in a small group. Bible study and chatting with God are a natural part of my daily life. So why did I want to quit all the good stuff I'm involved in and just exist like a fake piece of greenery yesterday?

When the one plant I have starts getting brown edges on the leaves, I know it's lacking moisture. No matter how much determination that little plant may have, if it doesn't get water, it won't survive.

The same is true for me. Moisture comes in different ways. I'm an introvert (yeah, really I am). My mistake is thinking that all I need to persevere, is more solitude. Truth is, solitude is like fertilizer for me. If I don't get moisture with the fertilizer, I burn out.

Over application of ... just about any fertilizer ... can easily lead to soluble salts injury.
Excessively high soluble salts hurt garden plants by causing root burn.
The burning reduces the ability of roots to absorb water and nutrients. ~
MSUcares

Moisture flows into me through other people. As much as I would like to sit quietly reading all day or hide behind my laptop like a cut flower, I need to experience the Holy Spirit flowing through me to and from others. That doesn't happen with just any group of people and those who stir the Spirit in me sometimes surprise me.

The point is we need moisture and we don't generate that moisture in ourselves. God has designed us to need each other. He created us to be part of a complex root system. Jesus prayed that we would be one just like he and the Father are one (John 17:22).

As much as I would like for my struggle to be about whether I want to keep my roots deep into the intellectual element of God's word and personal relationship with him alone, that's not the question God posed to me this morning. His question is more like: Am I willing to get the moisture he routes through others so that I can persevere?
"A plant is only as good as its own root system" ~ The Mustard Seed Landscape and Garden Center
the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 


Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
Email LisaCrum@Grow2Sow.org for reprint permission