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Friday, December 21, 2007

To Judge or Not to Judge

I heard the same news you probably heard. A young lady who was on a children's television program announced she was pregnant and sixteen. It's amazing how this has become the talk of the talk shows. Some defend her and some castigate her. I haven't heard anyone speak to the problem yet.

The problem is not that she is pregnant. Pregnancy is not a sin. There will most probably be the birth of a wonderful child in the next several months. Neither the pregnancy nor the birth is a sin. Pregnancy is not a sin but it may reveal sin. The problem was the sexual activity that was going on.

I know that there are many who claim that the church has such a "Victorian" concept about sex. They claim we are suppressing sexual urges. If we are, we aren't doing it very effectively! I see the magazine racks when I check out at the grocery store. They are replete with articles of sex. It's talked about through many educational tv shows. The movies and other media programs still see it as tantalizing enough for viewers to watch. It has been generally accepted by the media that it is normal and should be done by mature people.

It seems to me that no one is speaking about the elephant in the room. What has been the result of casual sex? Does anyone want to know?

I counsel people and I can tell you from being in the ministry for over twenty-five years my observances.

1. Casual sex steals the intimacy away from marriage. It is intended to be something that is so carefully kept that you only share it with one person.
2. It puts an emphasis on size, performance or anything else which can be used for comparison. It has brought more paranoia to the bedroom than anything else I can imagine. Neither person should be able to compare so that it is truly always "good" for the other.
3. It encourages suspicion in a committed relationship. Since sex doesn't require a commitment, why shouldn't it be done outside of the marriage relationship? Those who have had casual sex are often suspicious of their spouses after marriage. This is not good for the relationship.
4. It encourages cheating on the spouse. Again, it didn't take a commitment to have sex in the first place, so why not with this other person who seems willing?
5. It contributes to the decline of the family. Sex causes pregnancy. If there is no need for commitment of the first, why not the second? Why get married? Why stay together? Why not have serial marriages?

The media banters around whether this pregnant young lady should be a role model for the target audience of 7-11. I believe she could be. She could tell them that there are things you do that seem to be fun at the time but have serious consequences. She could share her heart in how she wished she had kept herself chaste.

I have no interest in beating her up, telling her what she did was wrong or extracting a pound of flesh from her. This is neither my place nor my desire. I would hope people would gather around her and give her their words of encouragement. However, I don't think they should praise her for what she did.

I have heard some comments that said, "Well, she could have gotten an abortion. See how good she is." That seems to absolve any bad she has done. Okay then, let's try this one:

Billy Bomb embezzles $100 million from his company. Suddenly, he is rich. It is not a sin to be rich. He sees his new wealth as a way to spred some good around the world. He gives half of his stolen money to the National Cancer Society. Should we say it was just peachy that he embezzled and his gift makes up for his sin? If we believe this, why did we prosecute the guys at Enron?

Finally, I have no judgement for this young lady. Judgement requires a sentence. I am neither qualified to do so nor do I want the job. I know that God loves her as much as He ever did. He wants to cover her with His love and walk with her through the time for her to give birth. If He would do so, so should we.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Would You Buy from a Crook?

Recently I went to one of the big box electronics stores to redeem an offer that apparently gave The offer said, "Save $5 Today" The condition was that I reserve a copy of a DVD that was coming out December 4 which would allow me to get an extra $5 taken from any other Disney DVD priced $14.99 or more. The offer expired December 18. When I picked up my movie I asked for my $5 discount. They informed me that the offer was only for the day that I reserved the movie. They pointed to the "Today" and said I had to get a movie on that day and it was no longer valid. Honestly, I got mad, told the manager what I thought of their business practices and vowed to myself that I can no longer shop in that store.

Do you think that is too rash? I mean, we are only talking about $5, right? Sometimes the very best deals you can get are found in that store. Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face?

I don't think so. These people were deceptive with their ad. I took the ad to several others without prompting and asked them what they thought the ad said. They all came to the same conclusion as I did without me telling them how to read the ad.

The store told me that no one else misunderstood the ad. This comes when people realize they have been taken and do not want to admit it. They feel foolish and do not want others to realize their embarrassment.

I will not buy from them again because they are crooks. If you knowingly do business with a crook you become partners with them in their crime. It keeps that crook in business. It encourages them to continue in their cons. Even if I see a product that they have that is much cheaper than I can get somewhere else, I cannot buy from them. It is now a matter of principle.

I am not on a crusade to destroy the store. I just can't buy from crooks.