Monday, April 24, 2006

The End of Innocence

I am in no position to declare it for everyone, but I am convinced by the evidence before me that we are experiencing the end of innocence.  The gradual mainstreaming of adult-child sex, once unthinkable, is becoming acceptable in America.  How?  Beginning with Mary Kay Letourneau and followed by hundreds of cases from every part of the country, teacher-student sexual activity is now epidemic.  It seems that  more and more voices are calling for the decriminalization of sexual conduct between adults and minors. In one study there were 225 cases of teacher-student sex in New York.  Additionally, 159  coaches from the state of Washington were reprimanded for sexual misconduct.  A 2004 study shows that many school districts are making confidential agreements with abusers who agree to quietly resign.*  The "non-victimized" teen male leads the parade of double standards.  He is seen as a conquering male, not a victim of innocence theft.

Bruce Hornsby has written a masterful song that woefully laments the end of innocence.  His song raises many questions and offers a vagueness that requires your own imagination. Yet, his lyrics are painfully clear that the root of this epidemic which robs our children's innocence is in the home.
Remember when the days were long and rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn’t have a care in the world with mommy and daddy standin’ by
But happily ever after fails and we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details since daddy had to fly

I do not believe marriages that last “happily ever after" are the fairy tales by which we have been poisoned, but rather the idea that happiness is now found outside of marital faithfulness. I also believe that we have been poisoned by the fairy tale called the sexual revolution.  It's the strangest revolution I've ever studied.  All the rebels not only shoot their compatriots, but they shoot themselves as well.  They never lay siege on the real problem as they run rampant changing the definition of freedom into license, all the while calling it a revolution. 

Hornsby's song suggest we offer up our best defense. What is our best defense?  Get whatever help you can find and stay at the marriage until “happily ever after” returns.  It has proven to come back rather quickly to those who refuse to throw away their hope.  Show your kids that you've not been poisoned by a fairy tale, but invigorated by a dream that can still come true.

We must mount a defense against the madness of sexual perversion. We must put an end to our passivity with our leaders and demand that they are responsible partners with parents in the protection of the innocence of children.  They must adopt a creed similar to the Hippocratic Oath, "First, do no harm!"  Demand more of leaders who want to tolerate those who strip children of their innocence. Start by demanding tougher sentencing for child predators, and let’s not forget that female teachers who groom young boys and girls for sex are predators, not mentors.

Hornsby's lyrics wishfully claim, "I know a place we can go and wash away this sin.”  I have good news.  There is a place where sin can be washed away.  There are too many places where sin can be hidden, justified, excused and even encouraged, but only one where they can be washed away.  That place is at the foot of an old and rugged cross and the blood of Jesus has the power to wash the vilest sin and restore the sweetest innocence.

This is no fairy tale!
Ed Litton

*What's Behind Today's Epidemic of Teacher-Student Sex?  by David Kupelian, 2006, Whistleblower, March 2006.  p.9

Art Work
Snap the Whip by Winslow Homer 1872
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Peace of God

If we are not vigilant, the Christian life can become little different
than a pragmatic experience.  God gives all of us powers of logic and reason, but we can easily slip into overconfidence of those proven tools.  Joshua and the men who led Israel are examples of such overconfidence.

Fresh on the heals of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat at Ai,
Joshua encountered a strange group of people.  They appeared to have
traveled a great distance.  Their clothing, worn-out packs, near
empty water-skins and dry and dusty food provisions proved their
claim.    Joshua and his men investigated them to the full extent of
human logic.  They even tasted their bread.   However, these men weren’t from a distant land, but were, in fact, from a very close location. God had forbidden Joshua from making a pack with any nearby residents.

Logic cleared all the warning lights from their minds.  These men
claimed to be from far away and wanted to make peace with Israel.
The subtle nature of this claim seemed to puff up the pride of the
leaders of Israel.  A distant people had heard of their greatness and
longed to make a peace accord.  (It is interesting how Satan spices his
deception with just enough ego-pleasing information that we are ready
to bite.)  Joshua 9:14 says: "The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD."

What distinguishes the child of God from others?  It is inquiring
of the LORD.  We have an intimate kinship with the LORD that allows and demands that we check with Him in the crucible of decision making.  Are you sampling the provisions of some claimant, testing them to the full extent of your logical powers, but stopping before you inquire of the LORD?  I do not know how God would have responded to Joshua's request had he prayed, but I am confident that He would have made Himself clear.  Sometimes God uses the simple lack of peace in a
situation to be a warning.  We cannot abandon the God-given tools of logic and reason, believing that God's will is more often reasonable than not.  However, we must not fail to inquire of the LORD.

Colossians 3:15 says:   "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be
thankful."  We get our English word “umpire” from this word for

Picture this:  there you are, standing on third base of a decision. You’re
reading the pitcher and the catcher.  The batter hits the ball to short
stop, and you bolt for the home plate.  As you run with all your might,
the ball is zinging through the air heading for the same place you’re heading.  You dive and your fingers slide across home plate the very moment the ball slaps the leather catcher’s mitt.  Who calls it?  The umpire! 

When you face a tough decision and you've sampled the provisions and read all the signs, remember you’re still not finished.  Pray and seek the LORD for His wisdom and will in the matter.  He can speak in any number of ways, but His voice is always accompanied by His peace.  Dissonance is a indication that either you are not ready or it is not God's will for you.  At that moment, you have to decide to trust His peace.

Phil. 4:7   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Ed Litton

Saturday, April 08, 2006

There Is An Arizona! 

I am a sucker for a good country song. My son Tyler and I were eating in a restaurant while a country hit from a few years ago played above us. When we got home that evening, I downloaded the song onto my ipod.  The artist's name is Jamie O'Neal, and her song is called "There Is No Arizona". It is a woeful melody of a young woman left in the big city by a guy who made a lot of promises about a new life with him in Arizona. In fact, as the song warbles, she fears everything is a lie. She receives postcards, but the promises never become reality. There are so many lies that she could fill the Grand Canyon with them. As you can tell,the only thing setting this country hit apart from the standard format is the absence of a brief time of incarceration. Nevertheless, I have had a hard time getting that song out of my head. One reason is that I have spent a lot of time in the places mentioned in the song; places like Tombstone, the Painted Desert, and Sadona. I found myself talking back to the broken-hearted girl singing the song and saying  "Yes, there is an Arizona.  I have been to all of those places. They are usually hot, but they are real and they are beautiful. 
The reality is that we live and work with people who are broken hearted. Sometimes they cover it well, and sometimes they wear it like a country song. We all know people who say they don't believe there is a place called heaven or that there is a God who truly loves. Their fear is that they could fill the Grand Canyon with perceived lies and broken promises. Sometimes they tear up the postcards of the gospel sent to them, but in truth, they really want to believe, but they are afraid. They are afraid that God might not love them because He knows what they've done.  

Pray for them and keep sending the postcards of the gospel. Keep telling them about a God who keeps His promises and who, as Paul the Apostle said, cannot lie. When Paul wrote a postcard to a man named Titus he said that his faith was based upon a knowledge and hope of eternal life... "...which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time." (Titus 1:2) 
Yes, Jamie there is an Arizona with a painted desert, Grand Canyon and Sadona, but greater still, there is a Heaven.  Most  importantly, there is a God who cannot lie, and He has a life planned for you. If you know this reality, send someone a postcard today! 
Ed Litton