Saturday, August 18, 2012

First day of school pics!

So, the kids are at NC this year.  Thanks for all your prayers for us.  We needed all of them!  =)  After debating pros and cons forever, we always went back to the fact that we both felt that NC was the best option for us this year.  So with faith in and thanks to a God who always provides from His limitless resources, we sent them off for their first day on Tuesday.  They were SUPER excited! 
Kylie, my first grader.  Wow!  How did that happen??

And Ethan, very excited to be moving up to third-grade this year. 
 I have a feeling these next few weeks will be a little rough for us.  We are all tired because none of us are back on a good - go to bed at a decent hour so we can get out the door on time in the morning - schedule.  And this year has quite a bit of added responsibility for Ethan and Kylie at school. Add that to old friends leaving and new friends coming and getting used to new teachers, and it could be interesting. 
I'm sure we'll figure it out sooner or later...  =)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Apparently I couldn't stay out of it...

I'm a little... ok, maybe a lot... confused.
I've been reading the news and various blogged opinions about the Chick-fil-A thing, and I wish someone would explain all the hoopla to me.

Just to clarify, I've never been to Chick-fil-A.  Apparently Nebraska has a reputation for "Beef, it's what's for dinner."
Or something.
I don't think I've ever even seen one.  I've heard good things, but that's the extent of my knowledge of them.

Anyway, I finally tracked down and read what Dan Cathy, the owner of Chick-fil-A actually said in his interview.  You should read it.

Now I realize that I do not come from a neutral viewpoint on this.  Neither do you.  We have already formed opinions.

But I can't figure out for the life of me what the man said that was so terrible.  He never said the words "gay marriage."  Neither did the interviewer.  He simply said that as a family business, they support "the biblical definition of the family unit."  No hate speech there.

And yet Mr. Cathy has been ruthlessly vilified by practically everyone. 
And that is my issue.

He is an American citizen and has a right to voice his opinions.  He has a right to weave those opinions into the way he operates his business.  And he has the right to use the profits of that business to support causes that mesh with those opinions.

This freedom is envied by countless millions around the world who have been imprisoned, tortured, and denied access to basic human rights for being unpopular, the wrong race, politically incorrect, or speaking out for what they believe.  Be thankful you were born in the US, people!

Anyone who does not agree with Mr. Cathy's opinions is welcome to boycott his restaurant - even encourage others to do so.  As is anyone who does not like his food. 

Anyone who agrees with Mr. Cathy is welcome to eat there three meals a day forever - not that I would recommend this.  As many people who agree with Mr. Cathy philosophically have pointed out, Chick-fil-A is probably not the healthiest or cheapest way to buy food.  In theory, considerably fewer obese Americans and starving orphans would inhabit this world if fast food chains in general no longer existed - more accurately, if we weren't so obsessed with our own comfort and ease.  But this doesn't make Chick-fil-A any more evil than the makers of Oreos or designer shoes or the countless other luxuries with which we pamper ourselves.

Sorry...rabbit trail.  Moving on.

So, our government is not allowed to discriminate against a business because they dislike the values on which it is run - unless those values lead to illegal activity.
As citizens, we are allowed and even encouraged to discriminate between competing businesses based on a variety of issues - one of which could be their values.

Anybody else get the email recently asking them to boycott Sears, JC Pennys, and several other retailers for their support of anti-family policies?  I am perfectly within my rights as a citizen to avoid these retailers from now on.

On the flip side, people who disagree with my values (say those calling for a Chick-fil-A boycott) have every right to avoid Chick-fil-A or any other business they disagree with.  That's part of American freedom too.  We don't get to pick which ideology is "right" or "wrong" for everyone else.

Here's where my faith in Jesus gives me a different set of guidelines to follow.  I am perfectly free to avoid a situation where my money goes to support something that God's word clearly defines as sin.  Since greed, selfishness, and lack of compassion are all identified as sin, however, it might be difficult to avoid such opportunities.

What I am not free to do is be hateful towards those I disagree with.  I am commanded to love.  Unconditionally.  Without strings attached.  Turn the other cheek. 

Jesus purposely spent His life on earth with the "tax collectors and sinners" of His day.  The lowest of the low.  The ones everyone else hated and ignored.
And I recall no instance of Jesus ever standing up to defend His own rights.
He did stand up for truth, but never for His own personal benefit or gain.

So, what are we fighting for?
Why do we, as Christians, feel the need to stand up and fight for our rights?
How dare we join the hate slinging and fear inciting?
Why are we so quick to promote "us" vs "them" and feel so self-righteous at being on the right side?
We should look different. 

Dan Cathy sure does.

So where's the balance between defending my Constitutional rights as an American citizen to freedom of speech and religion and my responsibility as a Christ-follower to walk as He walked?  To love the unlovely and reach out to those who hate me?

I don't know.  That's what I wish someone would explain to me.