Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Why The Abortion Debate Will Never Be Resolved

posted by Linda Mintle

“People who are pro life are pro rape.” “People who are pro choice want to kill babies.”

I’m sickened by both political parties making outrages attacks and statements about people grappling with the abortion debate. Pro-life Republicans accused of hating women and pro-choice Democrats portrayed as baby killers. This is shameful. Inflammatory rhetoric does little to open a dialogue for meaningful conversation. Abortion is a moral issue and related to a person’s values. Yes, there is a legal aspect to abortion in terms of the role of government, but that conversation seems to be lost amongst all the mudslinging on both sides.

How do we ever have an honest debate when a Catholic is vilified for following her religious beliefs or an abortion doctor’s life is threatened because he is doing a legal procedure?

Most people feel passionate about their abortion beliefs. What you believe about abortion is deeply embedded in your morals and values. But we don’t make headway on the debate of this issue but trying to bully people into taking our position. And we Christians have an even higher calling, to love those who see the world differently and don’t hold a biblical world view.

I was so impressed by the Abbey Johnson story, UNPLANNED, not because she decided to become pro life, but because her decision to move from pro choice to pro life was motivated by her experience, her beliefs and people loving on her, praying for her and being in relationship with her. Love won the day.

People who support abortion and want the government to pay for it are not evil. Nor are the people who believe abortion is a moral or religious grievance and don’t want their tax dollars paying for it. The debate will never be solved by vilifying each other in political ads.

This political season, we have reached a new low in civil discourse. The lies, attacks, lack of decency are enough to make me say, “November 6, come quickly.” Let’s get the vote over with and stop the madness. Of course, the election won’t stop all the madness because there is now permission to attack people without knowing the facts and presenting things that aren’t true with no accountability. Emotions rule with no restraint.

The conversation about abortion can only begin with love and  following the directives of Christ to love your neighbor as yourself, pray for your enemies and do good to those who despitefully use you. Christians take your positions but do so in love.

After The Storm: How We Respond Matters

posted by Linda Mintle

It has been a traumatic week. The raging winds and rains of hurricane Sandy have wreaked havoc in the lives of so many along the East Coast and even inland this time around. Now, days after the storm has finally abated, we witness the devastation left in its path—people who died, pets swept away, homes and even an entire community destroyed, coastlines washed away, cars tossed about like toys, boats smashed into houses and marinas, and businesses in rubble. The images are hard to comprehend. There is so much damage.

Storms remind us that there are forces operating in our lives bigger than we are and that we are often powerless against these forces. How we respond to the storms of life matters. Our response is the only part of a storm we can ultimately control.

The Apostle Paul knew this well and did not give in to panic or worry when the storms of his life hit (imprisonment, torture, etc.). His example challenges us to not lose perspective when times are tough, to trust God and to patiently submit to His ways. Hope is always present. It was God who brought a quiet calm to Paul’s faith in the middle of trials. Paul lived independent of everything, and dependent on God. This is how he could  rejoiced in all circumstances. What a challenge for us this week.

After the storm, our dependence on God is evident. Like Job, we gain perspective—we are small, God is large. And the largeness of God is comforting. He holds tomorrow and today in His hands. Nothing happens away from His watchful eye. He sees the devastation and promises to rebuild our lives if we allow Him to do so. The challenge is to not give in to despair, but hope in God, to center our lives on the One who can remake disaster into something new, and to trust that beauty can rise from ashes.

Be encouraged, God is with us. He sees the damage but promises to rebuild! He will make something new out of the rubble.

A Parent Asks: Do I Have to Celebrate Halloween?

posted by Linda Mintle

Q: Our child is three-years-old and doesn’t really know much about Halloween yet, but we do. I have been surprised at how many people, Christians included, have given us a hard time about our decision not to celebrate. There is so much about Halloween we don’t like that we prefer to ignore it. I know this might become more difficult as our son gets older, but what is your opinion on this?

A: After researching the roots of Halloween, I am not a fan either. I don’t like the connection to occultic roots, the scary costumes, the gore and the idea of frightening kids and desensitizing them to the dark spiritual world that does exist. So every family needs to make a decision as to what they are going to do with Halloween. You have that right no matter what others tell you.

Some people allow their kids to dress up in fun costumes and trick or treat. Others say NO to that activity and attend alternate harvest parties at their churches. Some feel alternatives should not be offered as it assumes kids are missing something. The important thing to do is research the holiday, pay attention to what you feel the Lord is telling you to do, and talk as a family. Pray for wisdom and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not other people. Then, help your children understand the position you take and why.

It would be nice if other people respected your decision, especially if you have had any personal encounters with the dark side of the spirit world in your family or through the generations. And if your decision is simply based on the idea that you don’t like what Halloween stands for and do not want to participate, you don’t need the approval of others. Romans 12:2 reminds us not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

In our post Christian culture, taking a stand for what you believe is an important lesson to model for children. Perhaps that is what you will teach your child as he gets older. And one of the best things that comes out of deciding what to do with Halloween and taking a position on this topic is that other people awaken to the idea that evil really exists and isn’t some Hollywood fantasy. What they do with that reality, is up to them.

 

This topic usually raises all kinds of opinions, what is yours> SHARE

Is the Digital World Damaging Your Family Relationships?

posted by Linda Mintle

The technology invasion has happened. Too often we hear how social media and other media have taken us captive and ruined our relationships and lives. Teens texting at the dinner table, kids obsessed with gaming and never giving an adult a glance, adults constantly checking sport scores, messages or texting. We are all guilty of allowing technology to control us, rather than controlling it. An unintended outcome of not being in control of our choices is that our family relationships could suffer.

So what is our role in taming the technology giant? We are responsible for managing our choices and creating the lives we want when it comes to engaging technology.

Here are two principles to balance your healthy family life with technology:

1) Disconnect from technology for brief moments and unplug to talk, read, do homework or even play as a family. Determine not to take technology interruptions, look at your phone or engage technology in any way. This can be 30 minutes at dinner, a drive in the car together, or just a family time. See what a difference this makes in the quality of face-to-face interactions. You can unplug for brief seasons. And the benefit to your family will be felt.

2) Spend time with the people you love. You can have hundreds of “friends” but no real quality relationships. So we must be intentional about connecting with family/friends in person. Look each other in the eye, talk and share. We have to work at sustaining long-term relationships and that takes being with someone. There is no substitute for real time relationships.We need to practice the skills of interpersonal relationships. A smile at the end of text does not compete with a smile and touch in person.

Technology won’t ruin your relationships if you think of it like a tool, not a substitute for real and honest relationships. Using technology, we often present our best side to people. But in authentic relationships, families see our flaws, our weaknesses and learn how to love us anyway. And that is worth a moment of  shutting down the technology!

 

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