Transgender Bathrooms and the Common Sense of Kids

It’s in the news again!

So I took a poll.

It’s not official or anything like that.

But I just wanted to know what kids thought about the whole transgendered bathroom thing.

It makes sense to ask them right? I mean they stand to be the most affected by these rules or wanna be rules so I thought it pertinent to ask them what they thought.

So I started by asking my own brood, then their friends, and then their friends friends.

I thought it would get real deep you know?

Surprisingly it didn’t.

In a nutshell, here are their responses in no particular order.

Who cares?

I don’t know why people are making such a big deal of this anyway. I don’t know any transgendered people. As far as I know there are none at my school.

Why do they need a special bathroom? If you have a penis go to the boys and if you have a vagina go to the girls.

Don’t they have unisex and family bathrooms? Go to those.

In science class they taught us that xx=girl and xy=boys.  Did that change?

One particularly brilliant girl asked me to define transgender because as she stated: “if they have transcended gender, then wouldn’t they have had the surgery and body parts altered, and therefore would actually be of the opposite sex, which means they wouldn’t need a special bathroom because they would be either a girl or a boy.  In which case they would go to the stall that is currently appropriate based on the current body parts they now possessed.

DANG! That was pretty deep.  But that’s as deep as it got.

I loved one young man’s response.

I think I’m pretty special; can I have my own bathroom?

I hear you dude. I want my own too.  And I want it to be decorated in a Star Wars theme with the Millennium Falcon as my own personal throne, and Lando Calrissian as my personal attendant.

millenium-falcon

Now that’s worth marching on Washington for!

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Jesus May Be Lord of Your Life…But is the State Lord of Your Church?

Counterpoint to Ellen Rescinds Kim Burrell’s Invitation to Appear on Show

By Marion Witcher

Pastor Kim Burrell’s sermon left the church’s walls and spread like wildfire throughout the internet and into the ears of talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres.  Like dominoes falling—engagement after engagement tumbled away from her schedule.  Burrell was uninvited to the Ellen DeGeneres show and Houston-KTSU announced that it dropped her radio program.  Her television show was also cancelled and she was uninvited to BMI’s Trailblazer of Gospel Music annual celebration. Basically, these engagements were canceled because Burrell spoke against the homosexual lifestyle.

However, as stated in my last post, “Whether we approve of Ellen’s lifestyle or not, she is justified in exercising “her” conscience as it relates to Burrell’s controversial appearance on “her” show. In the same token, Burrell is justified in holding on to her beliefs whether someone agrees with her or not.

Reflecting upon the conflict of interest between Burrell and DeGeneres, I decided to focus on what I believe is a critically important topic.  That is, the freedom and right of clergy to speak.  Do pastors really have a right to preach, speak and teach about any topic?

According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Legal Counsel, Christiana Holcomb, “Churches should be free to teach their religious beliefs and operate their houses of worship according to their faith.  That is a foundational First Amendment principle.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Holcomb. It only makes sense that pastors be given the right to provide moral leadership while helping lay persons develop their faith in God.  After all, this is what they are called by God to do. As they walk in their divine calling,  “all” people should take note and recognize that not only have clergy been issued authority by God to speak truth, but our government reinforces that right within the first Amendment. This right was passed by Congress on September 25th, 1789 and ratified on December 15,1791, which reads:

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Under the First Amendment Rights, the pastor determines what is said from the pulpit, not the IRS. Free in spirit and walking in truth the Pastor can preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as led by the Holy Spirit.  On the other hand, when a church chooses to become a 501 3 (c) incorporation the religious freedom clause of the first amendment ceases to apply. In other words, pastors and evangelists who sign their church on to become 501 3 (c) incorporated, lose their constitutional rights.

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By law, the church is considered created by the State for the benefit of the public (not the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ).  If the IRS says you cannot say something from the pulpit, then you DO NOT have any constitutional rights to argue against them.  As far as the church becoming a 501 3 (c) in to order to become tax exempt for the purpose of receiving tithes and offering, a little research will reveal that the church just by nature of being a church is already tax exempt.   And just the fact that the church is a church, under the First Amendment Rights, the preacher has the right to preach the Gospel in power and in might.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16-17

However, the rules changes when a church becomes a 501 3 (c), The preacher may not be able to preach sound doctrine regarding some topics.  Doing so may mean breaking the church’s covenant with the government. One could easily say that the minister’s voice is silenced because he has remarried.  The new partner is not as attractive, but must be respected.  The new partner’s name is Uncle Sam.  Married to Uncle Sam, the preacher or evangelist must hush his voice.  He must walk in the integrity of his prenuptial agreement or lose his tax-exempt status.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  II Corinthians 6:14

Folks, it is a serious matter when the church voluntarily submits its freedom to the  government.  In fact, Dave Hodges host of the Common Sense show says “Any church that encourages complete obedience to a corrupt government has taken a big step towards accepting the Mark of the Beast. This is a very dangerous precedent, and this could potentially imperil the salvation of millions if Christians allow this false doctrine to expand across our nation’s churches. “

Whoa!  I am flabbergasted—but the truth is no man can serve two masters!

Resources:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7647840/kim-burrell-not-take-part-bmi-gospel-music-honors-anti-gay

http://davidfiorazo.com/2015/05/the-johnson-amendment-and-the-agenda-to-silence-christians/

http://www.creationliberty.com/articles/501c3.php

http://www.hushmoney.org

About Marion Ferguson Witcher

An eloquent and gifted speaker, Marion Ferguson Witcher has taken her past experiences and used them to help others through a non-profit she founded, New Hope for Special Needs.  With her husband, Veroman and others working alongside her, NHFSN is committed to encouraging families of children with special needs and the professionals that support them. They have also invested their own funds and with the help of other philanthropists created the philanthropic hand of New Hope for Special Needs.  This enabled NHFSN to provide numerous scholarships to college students majoring in special education.

Marion and her husband, Veroman  are the parents of two adult children, Ashley and Verano.  Their daughter is challenged with autism and epilepsy, and alternates between a wheelchair and walker.  As a result, the couple knows firsthand the joys, challenges, and struggles of raising a child with a disability within the context of the family, faith community, public school system, and society in general. 

Many people in and outside of the church’s walls have been touched by Marion’s faith-inspiring messages.  She also appropriately delivers thought-provoking messages to main stream audiences as a keynote speaker and workshop leader. 

Marion is an award-winning magazine writer, motivational speaker, and founder of New Hope for Special Needs.The mission provides faith-based support to  persons with intellectual challenges, their families and support systems. She has received numerous awards for her work related to advocating for children with special needs and their families including Community Advocate.   Inspired by her experience of being a mother of a child challenged with autism, in 2004, she wrote, Sowing My Tears, Reaping His Joy.  She is the founder of Autism: A Language Worth Knowing and the His Ability Over Disability Celebration.

Ode to Spandex: A FUN Ranting on the Way Women Dress Today

RED ALERT-“PLEASE DON’T Get all pissy on me people.  I want to state before you read that I am a plus size girl poking fun at myself.  So don’t march in front of my house and send me a bunch of hate mail.  If you don’t have a sense of humor, please stop reading right now.”-Lena

I just can’t take it anymore!  Women, please-LEARN HOW TO DRESS and CARRY YOURSELF LIKE A WOMAN! 

Please take note of the following:

Spandex is not your friend! Alright, so look, if you are a size 14 and up ( as I myself am)-stop trying to squeeze your behind into a pair of spandex. I do not care what the horny thing that passes for a man says who is sitting next to you right now is saying: spandex on a plus size woman is not a good look!  Please don’t email me telling me I don’t understand.  I am a full figured girl.  I get it.  But some things we just shouldn’t do!

Just ‘cause they make it, don’t mean you’ve got to wear it!-Seriously, just because it is hanging on the rack does not mean it is for you! Put it back!  I mean it-RIGHT NOW!

Now-you can make it work, but it’s got to be done right. Wearing them with long shirts, under skirt or dresses works as in.  See photo below.

See queen Latifah.  Now that’s a plus size girl rockin’ itplus-size-dresses-to-wear-with-leggings-5-queen-latifah

For more examples of what works visit: http://cleida.com/album/plus-size-tops-for-leggings.html

Two piece bathing suits are for skinny teens, really fit adults, and supermodels! Everybody else, please, do the world a favor and stick to one pieces, skirted one pieces, and tankini’s. FYI-If your fat rolls cannot fit inside the tankini-IT AIN”T FOR YOU!  Put it back!

Donuts are for the donut shop.  If the rolls cannot fit inside the jeans-MAYBE THEY ARE TOO SMALL!  Stop it.

Nobody wants to see your boobs! Okay, so maybe your man, some hot in the pants teenage boys, and the pervert next door; but for the rest of us, would you mind putting them back in the cage! It might have passed for sexy when you were 20, but at 45-Lets all repeat after me, “IT’S NOT A GOOD LOOK.”  Oh, and if your breast are bearing tattoos-for the record can I just say “OUCH!” You are one tough cookie.

Belly Buttons-Again, tolerable on women in their 20’s and those with flat abs; everyone else dagnabit wear a longer shirt!

Painted on Tight Jeans-We left them behind in 1984.  Send them back to the future.

Pajamas and slippers-People, these are for the bedroom; but keep on and they are going to be for BEDBUGS! There is a reason why you take your clothes off at night and take a shower.  Why don’t you just announce to the world, “I’m NASTY and I don’t bathe!”

Doo Rags, Scarves, and Bandanas– Okay, a decorative head wrap is a fashion statement. A hat or cap is cool. Everything else is just trifling! Either comb your head or stay home.  Say it with me, “NOT A GOOD LOOK!”

Thongs aren’t for me because I feel that body parts need a buffer zone, but as long as you don’t wear a bright thong under light pants it’s all good.

Women, I’m just saying to quote a phrase from Fat Albert and the Cosby kids let’s not be like school in the summertime,” NO CLASS!”

Okay So I am going to end with the following poem I wrote entitled, Ode to Spandex.  If you are angry by the time you finish reading it, then all it means is that you have some some spandex you need to throw away.

Ode to Spandex

By Lena Arnold

Spandex o’ spandex,

thou wert once my friend

But now t’is time for the

love affair to end.

My rolls are too rolly

for me to pretend;

that I will ever look good

in spandex again.

Why I still try to fit in them,

I will never know.

Should have known it was over

when the fat started to show.

My thighs are too thick!

My belly too jelly!

It’s done lapped over my waist!

My butt is too big!

My waist is too wide!

Spilling up and over the place!

So spandex I’m sorry,

though I do wish you well.

But I can no longer put you

Over my fleshly shell.

If your portly friend is in spandex

even if those clothes fit;

tell her just cause they make it

don’t mean you must wear it.

Some material, well

it just ain’t for us.

Leave spandex to skinny girls

‘cause they ain’t for size plus.

T’is no shame in admittance,

for some things just be so.

No need for repentance,

spandex just gots to go!

So spandex

O’ spandex

I bid you adieu.

I pass you on to a bony chick,

who I hope will be good to you.

Not pair you with a t-shirt

and pretend it’s a dress.

With a belt and high heels,

‘cause that’s just a hot mess.

I just hope and pray

she’ll be better to you.

And look better in spandex

Than a big girl like me do!

FYI-I do rock in some leggings and spandex-BUT I DOES IT RIGHT!!!!!!! smiley

Homeschooling and Socialization: Are the Myths True?

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mskinderwikispaces.com

 

By Lena Arnold

Many years ago, when we first contemplated homeschooling, our family and many friends were aghast!

“You have to be really disciplined!” My aunt said.  “I know I could never be that disciplined.”  What she really meant was, “I know YOU can never be that disciplined.”

To be fair, I can be a little on the disorganized side, however, despite this I still managed to graduate from high school at the top of my class, graduate from college (twice), and manage a successful professional career. I reminded her, that in order to accomplish these feats, I must be able to be ORGANIZED when it counts.

Okay, so I won that argument against homeschooling, but then she countered with, “What about SOCIALIZATION…?” She stated, drawing out the dreaded S word like it was a curse.  “Aren’t you worried your kids will be weird, or not have any friends.  They will never learn to socialize or make friends for life. There are no other black people homeschooling around her, so you are on your own.”

Well, I have to admit, on that count she’d tapped into my fears. Then I thought about it, “How many friends have I had for “life.” Hmm, out of all the “friends” I’d made over the years, with the exception of two, (one my childhood best friend, and the other from high school) all of my true friends had been made during adulthood. Plus, I knew if we were considering it, others were either homeschooling or considering it.

So how would we deal with this “socialization” thing?

Step One began with prayer.  I said to God, “Lord YOU made these children and YOU know what is best for them.  Steer us in the right direction and help them make friends.

Step Two began with creating opportunities for them to make friends based on similar interests. In some cases they joined group clubs such as Girl/Boy Scouts and 4-H, Church groups, etc. Where clubs didn’t exist we created them, or became leaders and coaches.

Step Three-We actively sought out other parents with similar goals and values.  This is how the local Black Homeschoolers movement began in our community. When on homeschool outings, if I met other blacks with their children I would ask them if they homeschooled as well.  If they did, they were invited to be part of the group.  If not, I’d still connected with a parent whose child had similar interest.  Oh, and we did not limit our connections to exclusively black groups, since learning how to connect with people of other cultures was and is just as important as connecting with your own.

Step Four consisted of volunteering in places where our kids would have an opportunity to connect with other kids.

Step Five-Participation in co-ops.  Many communities have homeschool groups and co-ops families can be a part of.  Some are based on religious values, some cultural.  But the vast majorities are open and available to participation without consideration of race, religion, etc.  The common denominator of most is simply homeschooling.

Here’s the beauty of all these connections, we are making friends too. And since the parents are connecting, that means these children are more likely to stay connected as well, unlike school where the connections often end at the end of a school day, year, or graduation.

So not only have were socialization fears been unfounded, they didn’t even exist.

But for those of you who are still not convinced and need empirical data, let me drop this on you.

hdsla
To Learn More About Homeschooling Visit Homeschool Legal Defense Association

http://www.hslda.org/

In 2003, the Home School Legal Defense Association commissioned the largest research survey to date of adults who were home educated. Conducted by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, the study surveyed over 7,300 adults who were homeschooled. Over 5,000 of these had been home educated at least seven years, and the statistics in this synopsis are based on their responses. The results confirm what homeschoolers have thought for years: No problem…

Value of Higher Education

The report, which can be found in it’s entirety on their webstite clearly shows that Over 74% of home-educated adults ages 18 to 24 have taken college-level courses, compared to 46% of the general United States population. Note that nearly half (49%) of the respondents in this study were still full-time students at the time of the survey.

Involved in their communities

Homeschool graduates are more active and involved in their communities than traditionally school students. Seventy-one percent participate in an ongoing community service activity compared to 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages. Eighty-eight percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed were members of an organization (e.g., such as a community group, church or synagogue, union, homeschool group, or professional organization), compared to 50% of U.S. adults.

Civic affairs: engaged citizens

Only 4.2% of the homeschool graduates surveyed consider politics and government too complicated to understand, compared to 35% of U.S. adults. For example, 76% of homeschool graduates surveyed between the ages of 18 to 24 voted within the last five years, compared to only 29% of the relevant U.S. population.

Appreciating their alma mater (and pater)

Ninety-Five percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed are glad that they were homeschooled and 82% would homeschool their own children. Of the 812 study participants who had children age 5 or older, 74% were already homeschooling..

Conclusion of Research

The results of Dr. Ray’s cutting-edge research defuses long-held false criticisms of homeschooling and seem to indicate that homeschooling produces successful adults who are actively involved in their communities and who continue to value education for themselves and their children.

On a side note, all our kids are now in school and socializing quite nicely!

For the sake of brevity, I will conclude this week’s article with the above data, but come back next week, when I will add part 2 of this blog with additional data from other sources. For more information on homeschooling visit Dayton Black Homeschool Network

Frustrating the Frustration and Going on Staycation

By Lena M. Fields-Arnold

  • the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals
  • an act of hindering someone’s plans or efforts
  • a feeling of annoyance at being hindered or criticized

I used to hate frustration.  Recently, I find myself embracing it.  I am discovering that the more I am frustrated the better writer I become.  I obtain more material that actually propels me forward into my next goal of being a Pulitzer Prize winning poet.  Thus frustration, once an enemy designed to destroy me, has actually become my catalyst for effective performance.

The Greek philosopher Plato said that necessity is the mother of invention.  Well I say that frustration is the mother of creativity; for it is during my greatest moments of aggravation that the wheels in my brain turn, as I work on new and more inventive ways to overcome the annoyance.

For example, in the past several years I have been frustrated by my relatives who only call when they need something, or who want money.  They are never available for you when you need them, yet their wants consistently hindered my efforts to move forward in the direction God intended for my life.

It took a major life changing event to force me to personally embark upon a voyage of emancipation from them.  That is when I entered into the SEASON of ME! From this moment forward, my life would be about me! What I want, where I am going, and what legacy I want to leave my children.

So I warned everyone that if they wanted something from me, they had better be willing to give something back of value in return. In the past I almost allowed the frustrations they brought to destroy me.  I let their desires override mine, and became stagnant.

I did well for a while, but recently I saw these same users creeping back in, and I almost let them.  It started with a seemingly simple request.  A relative suggested that her daughter stay the summer to “help you with the kids.”

In reality, what she was looking for was free childcare under the guise of helping me.  I know this because she previously had manipulated five free summers out of me!

Ask me how many times this child’s mother has watched my kids for free in those five years?  You guessed it—NEVER! She is always TOO BUSY!

I have another relative who moved to town for more effective support.  I say more effective because she was leaving a town where she had supporting relatives.  She just didn’t have the all day sucker I can use you up type of support.  Enter us here, all hovering around to hold her up.  However before long we all started to notice that we were always supporting her, but she never supported us.  The stronger among us cut her off immediately.  The weaker, like me, just kept letting her use them.

Anytime I tried to say no to her babysitting requests, my family always had a way of making me feel guilty and I would cave. She got two summer’s free babysitting, and I got another headache.

Last year she doesn’t call me for a month.  When she finally does, she states that both her daughter and another cousin’s were coming to my house for two weeks. It made sense right because as she put it, “you are at home all day, and they can play with your daughter.” Never mind the fact that I have other kids, a husband, and a stay-at-home job—these two decided for me how two weeks of my life would be!

But she didn’t know that the Season of Me is inclusive of the Season of the Perpetual Staycation.  Technically a “Staycation” is a vacation, except that you find fun things to do within a few hours drive from the home.  I have an additional definition.

  • Staying away from people who are frustrating you, and not allowing their wants, needs, and desires to override your own.

staycation“I will be on Staycation all summer.” I told her. “You guys are on your own!”  So now, both the above mentioned women are frustrated by me. Both sarcastically remarking that they hope I enjoy my Staycation!

“I will,” I proudly proclaimed.  Thinking to myself, “I’m staying away from your wants, your drama, and your constant woe is me whining about your self-imposed crap!”

I now encourage others to enter into their Season of Me and take a Perpetual Staycation.  We all have ordained missions to accomplish and you cannot accomplish it by allowing frustrations to get the best of you.  Turn the tables on the people frustrating you by cutting them off!  Become unavailable.  They may even have the nerve to ask you what you are doing that is so important (as one of mine did.)  Guess what, you don’t have to answer them!  You are not accountable to them for your time.  You are only accountable to your mission.

So let me give you some concrete steps on how to do it.

  1. Decide-decide to do it.
  2. Make a list of the people in your life-put two columns by their name.  In one column write the word assets, in the second write the word liabilities.  In the asset column, write down all the ways they enhance your life and support you in the accomplishment of your goals.  In the liabilities column write down all the ways they hinder you and keep you from your goals.  If the liability side is greater-cut them off.  Commit to never allowing their desires, wants, and needs to outweigh your own.
  3. Become unavailable-Stop answering the phone when they call.  Ignore their voicemail messages.  Only call them back when you are strong enough to resist their negative pull against you.
  4. Be okay with saying no!- Yes, they are going to get mad at you.  But you have to decide that it’s okay if they do.  Guess what, their anger only serves to prove your point.
  5. Move on to a new set of people!-Actively seek out friendships with people who are assets.  People like you, who don’t mind giving to people who want to give something back.

I found my new set of people through a colleague who was forming a circle of women, who desired to love unconditionally, accept without the adversity, give with generosity, and provide care compassionately. We spent a year together attending monthly workshops, holding each other accountable for reaching personal goals, supporting each other through tough times, and hanging out together.  When the year was over, we each had made a solid group of friends, whose only objective was to help one another achieve their personal and professional goals.

My fervent prayer is that you will accomplish every dream and desire that the Master has etched on your heart.  Seek wisdom and journey towards your dream with positive people who will affirm you, support you, and lift you up. It all starts with two simple sentences—“This is the Season of Me.”  And, “Sorry, I’m on Staycation.”

Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts-Woodstock

woodstock
A Little Bird with a lot of Courage

Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts

Lesson #6-Woodstock

WOODSTOCK- Aside from Snoopy, if there is one character who knows how to keep it cool it’s Woodstock.  His very name is synonymous with the laid back, pot smoking, hippie culture of the 1960’s. Woodstock can barely fly, but he can fix planes, write, type, caddy, whistle, skate, play ice hockey, hike, camp, drive a zamboni, and play football! He does not allow his lack of flying skills to define who he is.  He’s a tiny bird with great big courage and he is not afraid to do things big people do. I mean this bird has some serious heart!

What’s really cool about Woodstock though is that as a leader, he also knows how to choose a good leader to follow, make them his friend, and keep him close. In following Snoopy on adventures both real and fictional, Woodstock demonstrates that he trusts Snoopy’s leadership. Woodstock is a good follower.

There is something of a stigma to follower-ship skills.  Pity because the practical    reality is one does not reach progressively more responsible leadership positions without demonstrating an ability to follow and function effectively in a group. (McCallum 2013)

Yet, he doesn’t just follow anybody. He follows Snoopy-the funny looking dog with the great big heart to match the great big courage of Woodstock.  It is the ultimate bromance-they fight, they hug, they laugh, they show compassion, they fight with each other and for each other.  In short-they look out for one another and root for one another’s success. That’s important because not only will a good friend have your back, but they will also help you not to take life too seriously. So if you are following a leader who doesn’t do these things, then take a lesson from Woodstock and find yourself a Snoopy.

Lesson Number 6-Leaders Know How to Identify a Leader Worth Following

snoopy-woodstock-peanuts-3089053-800-600
fanpop.com

Resources

McCallum, John S. “FOLLOWERSHIP: THE OTHER SIDE OF LEADERSHIP.” Ivy Business        Journal, September 2013. Accessed January 14, 2017. doi:para 9.

Ellen Rescinds Kim Burrell’s Invitation to Appear on Show and The Culture of Fake Inclusion

By Lena Fields-Arnold

The Yahoo Headline read “Kim Burrell Will Not Appear on Show.”

Apparently she was booted off a scheduled appearance on Ellen for preaching an “anti-gay” sermon the weekend prior at her church.

According to yahoo news “the singer faced a backlash after a YouTube video posted on Dec. 30 showed Burrell delivering a sermon at the Love & Liberty Fellowship Church in Houston, where she is a senior pastor. In the clip, Burrell condemns homosexuality as “perverted” and an “embarrassment.”

After a “flood of tweets and a Change.org petition that garnered more than 5000 supporters,” denouncing Burrell’s comments Ellen Rescinded her invitation.  In effect practicing the same type of social exclusion she claims to be against.

Dr.  Rebecca Fraser-Thill, in her article “Understanding and Coping with Social Exclusion” explains that “when it is intentional, social exclusion is considered to be a form of relational aggression or social aggression.” It can take the form of intentionally ignoring or overlooking someone, overt shunning such as not talking to someone, or as Thrill states “may be more subtle, such as by spreading rumors about a person so that he/she gradually becomes rejected.”  In Ellen’s case it took the form of public shame and a rescinded invitation.

It’s her show and technically she has that right, but I wonder if by doing so she hasn’t sent the wrong message about what tolerance and inclusion is really all about; especially when you consider the fact that a critical component of inclusion is an effort to ensure equal opportunities for all. It is an intentional process of creating conditions designed to enable all members of society have full access to participate in the civic, social, economic, and political activities, of life.

I love the 1970’s show All in the Family.  As a child I did not understand why my black parents would watch and laugh at what I thought was a racist show.  I was too young then to understand the deep complexity of the writing.  Archie Bunker believed in the WASP way.  He believed in separation of the races and all that crap about the white race being the right race.  Archie Bunker had strong opinions about what he thought was right and he was often challenged on those opinions by his liberal son-in-law.  They argued and fought like cats and dogs, but this could only happen because Archie tolerated Mike’s opinions.   Despite their differences, he allowed Mike to live with him and Edith, even though in doing so it meant Archie would have to be uncomfortable-A LOT!

Yet, it was the pull and push between them that made the show so interesting.  As the show progressed we witnessed both Mike and Archie grow, and change, and become MORE accepting of each others opinions and beliefs. Did they come to agreement on everything-absolutely not?! But they did learn to respect each other’s boundaries and more importantly-they began to love one another.

Isn’t this what we want the end result of true tolerance to be about? Can that even happen in today’s era of political correctness?

Carol M. Swain in her article for the American Dissident wonders the same thing.

Any statement that makes a member of a “favored” group feel uneasy is quickly branded as hate speech or bigotry without any real effort to consider the validity of the statement. When issues are addressed, it is usually in a forum of like-minded individuals, where speakers preach to the fawning choir. This is unfortunate. Little effort is expended on bringing real balance to conversations about significant issues. (Swain 2015 p 1)

“Avoidance is not deliverance.” -Horace Arnold

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So what I am saying is this.  Yes Ellen had the right to cancel Burrell’s appearance, but my question is why waste an opportunity to cross a divide and show the world what true tolerance and inclusiveness looks like? I fear that when a person preaches tolerance and inclusion, then fails to act upon that belief simply because of pressure from another group of people-then they have become no better than that which they claim to rail against.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think if the invitation had been a personal invitation to Ellen’s place of residence it would have been totally appropriate to rescind the invitation if she felt that strongly.  I’ll be honest; I would not knowingly invite a bonified hooded Klansman into my home. But her show is not a private residence.  It is transmitted over public airwaves, paid for through sponsors, and viewed by a wide segment of the population-a population that deserves to have a show that reflects the various segments of society who watch the program. Yes, there are Christians who think homosexuality is wrong, who watch Ellen’s show.  Why?  Because they like the show and they think Ellen is a gifted comedian.  Keeping the invitation open, despite personal feelings would have been a grander gesture and promoted the true culture of tolerance and inclusion we should always strive for.

UPDATE!

sowing-my-tearsMarion Witcher, author of Sowing my Tears Reaping His Joy and founder of New Hope for Special Needs has agreed to guest blog a counterpoint to the above post.  As a journalist I strive t0 be fair and balanced in my writing so when a follower post thoughtful and engaging commentary that presents another view I will invite them to guest blog in more elaborate detail.  In my conversation with Marion, she agreed with the general ideas presented by the post, however she felt in this particular situation Ellen made the right call.  I look forward to reading Marion’s full post and I also invite anyone else who has another way of looking at this incident to contact me as well.

Resources

Fraser-Thill, Rebecca. “Understanding and Coping with Social Exclusion .” Verywell. August      31, 2016. Accessed January 05, 2017. https://www.verywell.com/what-is-social         exclusion-3288013.

Swain, Carol M. “Tolerance, diversity, and inclusion doesn’t include you!” The American  Dissident, Spring-Summer 2015, 11+. General OneFile (accessed January 5, 2017).       http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ps/i.do            p=ITOF&sw=w&u=vic_liberty&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA432807567&sid=summon

&asid=b1f36baa221c912b95d54928027186ae.

 

 

 

Take Charge of Your Pain

by Lena Fields-Arnold

genie-in-bottle-aladdinGod is my genie in a bottle and he is supposed to do what I ask, when I ask!

Or so I believed when I first became a Christian. The moment I was plagued with any illness, instead of reaching for medicine, I reached for my Bible, believing that God was obligated to immediately heal any headache, cold, or ailment attacking my body! After all, didn’t God’s word say, “By His stripes we are healed?”

So after more than 12 years of infertility I had had enough! “God what is wrong! Why aren’t you listening to me? Why haven’t you healed me?” I shouted.

Not only did I not receive an answer, but I got more heartache and even more experience with illness and human suffering when my beloved mother was diagnosed with cancer. Toward the end of her three year ordeal, I knew God was not going to heal her. During that ordeal, and the trial of my own infertility I was left to ponder, “What does God’s word really say about healing?”

Phillip Yancey, in his book, Where is God When it Hurts, wonders the same thing. In his attempt to answer the questions he suggests that pain and suffering could be tools that God uses to draw us nearer to Him. Like me he knew that God is fully capable of healing whenever and wherever he wants and the Bible provides ample proof of that fact. So when God chooses not to heal, us mortal beings are left to wonder, why?

Pain is terrible, and Yancey describes the powerful destruction pain can have upon our lives.

Yet he also eloquently paints us a portrait of pains equally powerful purpose to inform. Pain tells our body that something is wrong. It motivates us to do something. Whether that something is reaching for a bottle of medicine or reaching out for God’s strength, we are compelled to do something, for doing nothing will most certainly bring us swift destruction.

Dr. Carolyn L. Gordon, suggests that pain become a catalyst to make us better people. Instead of asking, -why, Dr. Gordon suggests our response be to ask-what? What are you doing in my life Lord? What are you trying to teach me? In what way will my suffering benefit humanity and serve the greater good?

God promises us that all things work together for the good of them that love God-to those who are called according to his purpose. Not some things, but all things.

I do not pretend to know, nor understand how my mother’s cancer has worked together for good. But I can say this, I never saw my mother bemoan her plight. I never witnessed her wallowing in self pity. I witnessed her trusting God all the way the end. I witnessed a woman who never wavered in her faith and who served God with every breath she had in her body. I witnessed a woman who told God that she would gladly die if her family would develop a relationship with God.

During that three year ordeal I witnessed a miracle. Not the doe eyed, naïve, believe God is my fairy God mother miracle type of healing that I believed in when I first gave my life to the Lord. But the kind of miracle that lasts forever.

The miracle of a woman who stood firm in her faith, even though she may have felt like God had abandoned her. That’s the kind of faith God wants us to have. I held on to that faith after she died. I had to, because now I understood that God was not my genie in a bottle and that he was not obligated to heal me just because I asked him. But I kept right on asking anyway, because my mother taught me. She said, “Marie, I ask because what if God says yes?”

What if God says yes!

While I am waiting I will extol him. I will live life in the fullest way that I can. If all I can do is move my mouth to form a prayer I will pray. If he says no, I will still serve him and I will still praise him. Ah, but when he says yes, I will shout from the rooftops about this great God that I serve. I know it is hard and it is painful, but I am a witness that God will bring you through it.

No matter what illness, ordeal, or trial you are facing right now, remember to pray. Remember that God loves you. It’s difficult when we don’t know the purpose for the trial we are facing, but you can face this adversity when you change your focus. Stop asking why and start asking what! Take charge of it and do not give Satan credit by saying, “the devil has attacked me today.” Satan has no power over you except what God allows to make you better, faster and stronger than you were before!

Yes, I know it is a corny reference to the Six Million Dollar Man (one of my favorite shows WAY back in the day!) But you know whatever works to make the point right! Okay so look, Steve Austin had to endure this horrible accident, which by the way occurred while he was in the middle of doing his job.

six-million-dollar-manThe accident almost killed him and left him mangled and just about destroyed. During the surgery he was totally unaware that there were doctors working over him and who had the audacity to claim that they could re-build him and make him even better than he was before.

Can you believe that? They stole that premise right out of the Word of God!

God is the potter and we are the clay and when he is pressing us and squeezing us, He is shaping us into a vessel of honor fit to be used. In the process we are made better, faster, and stronger. You are so much better than a fictional character. You are part of a royal priesthood and a holy nation; so take charge today and ask God, what are you doing with me today?

When You EMBRACE Your Shame, You ERASE Your Shame: Using the discomforting moments in your life to give honor to God!

Excerpted from the book by Lena Arnold entitled “Scenes From the City: Poetic Pictures of Urban Life” available on Amazon.

Several years ago I found myself in a very uncomfortable situation that resulted in three of the most humiliating hours of my life!

For months, I wouldn’t talk to anyone about what happened, because I was afraid of what people would think when they found out.  Surprisingly what I discovered was an appreciation for my honesty and candor; as well as a God ordained moment to minster to someone with similar hurts and pains.  Our discussions initially brought on tears of release, followed by laughter and joy as we found new ways to giggle about what had previously injured us.

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“Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

How often have I repeated this scripture without a clear understanding of its meaning?

For me, the joy came from the confession.  The Bible also states that when we “confess our sins; God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   Please know, that the sin has already been forgiven, so the confession is not really to forgive the sin, but to provide us with absolution from the guilt we often feel within ourselves.  Confession further purifies the mind from the enemy’s thoughts of condemnation.

For example:  Let’s say, in your previous life you were a person who liked to drink.  As a result of too many drinks, you engaged in some very embarrassing, dangerous, and/or illicit acts.  You have since been sober for 5 years, but your friends constantly find new ways to report your past sins to people you didn’t really want to have that information.

What do you do?

I have found that when I talk about myself, I leave no room for people to talk about me.  People cannot whisper in the shadows what I have already shouted from the rooftops.

What were once embarrassing occasions now become opportunities for testimony!

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn away from them, they will receive mercy.”-Proverbs 28:13 (NLV)

When my husband and I were going through the trial of infertility, we spoke to no one about the secret shame we felt regarding our inability to conceive.  For years we walked behind a veil of sadness and shame.  We masked the shame well, but inside we were bound and broken.  But when we began to confess our feelings and share the struggle, we realized that there was a whole community of wounded people who felt the same way we did, and who also had no one to talk with about their feelings.

As we spoke to one another and opened up our hearts, we were all emotionally and mentally healed in the process, and many were physically healed as well.  The discussion prompted all of us to take stock of our physical conditions and seek the medical treatment we didn’t know was available to us.

“You cannot make me feel ashamed for what I have chosen to embrace.”

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BUT suppose it’s not a sin that bothers you, but rather something you consider being a frailty.  Before we had children we had one of the cleanest houses in North America!  Friends always commented on how neat and orderly our house was.  Three children within two years later, and it’s a whole different story.  While my house is not nasty, it is often cluttered and unkempt.

These same friends, who have been my rock, never fail to remind me of how clean our house was before we had children.  Initially their comments bothered me, and made me feel inadequate.  Then one day I realized that our house wasn’t messy because we were slobs, it was messy because our values had changed.  My husband and I value happy, healthy, mannerable, and well adjusted children, and our house reflects that.

It reflects that I, as a stay-at-home mother,  have chosen to embrace my messiness; because for me toys on the floor means my kids play happily, books strewn over the table means my kids are learning well, and dirty dishes in the sink means my kids have plenty of food and are eating properly prepared meals.  Today, thanks to another friend who understands, there is now a sign over my door that reads, “My house was clean last week.  Sorry you missed it!”

Now when people comment on the condition of my house I tell them thank you for the kindest compliment you could ever give.  No one can make me feel ashamed for what I have chosen to embrace.

 So today, as you go forth worried over your sins, concerned about your faults, or overly troubled regarding your frailties; I ask that you consider all of your challenges as an opportunity to bring glory to God, bring about your own healing, and provide therapy to others who are being tested by many of the same problems.

Now I understand that there are some things you absolutely cannot talk about with everyone. And there are things you can talk about with everyone, but just not right now.  For those issues, I urge you to find a support group and prayerfully consider seeking a compassionate and encouraging network of close friends who will partner with you in prayer and even fasting if that is what it takes to break the chains that are keeping you bound.

Once you have been healed, seek God regarding how, when, and in what manner your confessions to others outside of that network will take place.

It might be on the bus, the church pew, or a prison cell, but God is able to take what once was a source of shame and pain for you, and make it a starting place of witness.

I challenge you today to embrace your shame, for in doing so; you will erase your shame and cover a multitude of sins.

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