Aug 30, 2009

Coming Face to Face with Yourself

Some of you may know that I have been extremely busy completing my studies these past few months. In the beginning the search for an agency to complete my social work internship had been wrought with complications and became discouraging right at the outset.

The first agency notified me a few days prior to my start date that they would not be accommodating my request to intern with them. This created a major delay that I was not entirely happy about. The second agency I applied to resulted in an internship but was riddled with scheduling conflicts that interfered greatly with my current day job. I continued for approximately a month getting what hours possible while accruing additional hours at a third option. I knew that it was going to become very tiring, very quickly.

While all this was occurring I persevered in a search for a better option. I was hoping for something that would be more hands on and wouldn’t be entirely filled with paper pushing. I was looking for direct interaction with a client/resident population. I wanted to be talking and working with people on a regular basis. Finally, an opportunity presented itself with a foster care facility for teenage girls. I was completely surprised and extremely apprehensive about this particular placement. I transitioned to the new agency with the hopes of completing all required hours (300+) by the end of August.

I can honestly say that I have walked away from my internship as a changed person. It isn’t that I’ve become specifically seasoned in foster care, or have now reached some level of expertise in the field of social work, but have been enlightened and encouraged. In the beginning things became hopeless and overwhelming. I had so many hours left to do, papers left to complete, and a deadline that was moving closer and closer. The pressure was mounting and I became worried that it would effect my intern experience. In the end, the result was everything turning out the way it did for its own specific reasons.

I have seen in my time working with these young ladies that there is a world of hurt out there many of us glance over with a minimum of concern. It is so easy to overlook the parentless and often physically/sexually abused children in our foster care facilities. Is this just another problem that is overlooked because we contain it with walls and institutional remedies? I have seen a part of the world that is such a stark reality but has become such a quiet problem.

The purpose of this post isn’t to direct blame or point fingers. It isn’t even a cry for reformation or remedy to a flawed social welfare system. What it is though is a hope and prayer to raise awareness of how we rear and raise our children. Even if you aren’t a parent (like me), what role do you currently play in becoming an example to a generation full of children being parented by media and their peers instead of adults who care for them.

While working with these children I saw myself in every one of them. I saw the atrocities they face and empathized because I too experienced many of them. At the same time my heart hurt for their pain it also cried out to God to humble me and make me of more use to them. The burnout in social service is incredible. The abundance of people working with those in need who have no desire to do much more than earn a paycheck is much greater. While all this goes on behind institutional walls, most of us stand back and hope others will fix the problem, or throw a little money at it and assume that it is enough to abrogate your duty to your fellow man.

Looking back on the experience as a whole I have come to many realizations. One of them is that God has ordained the path on which I must walk, and while I still make the decisions to obey or not, I still seem to wind up where He uses me. For that I am grateful. I have also learned a potent lesson. If we as people, or as disciples of Christ exemplify that God has created each one of in His image (believer or not) by serving others with the understanding that it is His glory to be had and not ours, we may serve others with more compassion, love, and understanding that if we didn’t. And, in this case, caring for souls that have eternal destinies is not the means to an ends that serves as provision of our needs, but a privilege that the Lord of Hosts and savior Jesus Christ has allowed us to participate while meeting our needs at the same time.

I will remember to serve Him for His glory, and be grateful when He blesses me with provision for all that I require. I will not be angry when it feel that is not enough, and I will rejoice when I have received more than I need. I will always be thankful that He has saved me, a sinner, and allowed me to serve and bring the message of redemption through the Gospel, becoming a living sacrifice, and seeking to glorify Him in all that I do.

Peace be with you,

Aug 23, 2009

Brief Interlude

I am really close to finishing my internship and wrapping up my undergrad studies. These last few months have been pretty intense. Working a day job, then working in the evening just as long, yet for free has been exhausting. I will return to writing as soon as possible, I hope you all are still reading! I have missed blogging, and especially miss interacting with you.

Thanks to those bearing with me!

Peace be with you!

Aug 15, 2009

Letters to the Church: Writer of Hebrews

(This post has been contributed by Arthur)

To the writer of the letter to the Hebrews,

Your name has been lost in antiquity but your letter was never about you. It was always about Christ, our Great High priest. In much the same way as the original recipients of your letter were overjoyed to read of the new replacing the old, the imperfect sacrificial system being fulfilled in Christ, the need for human priests and intercessors done away with, their role fulfilled infinitely better by Christ, countless Christians have also been filled with joy at the completed work of Christ.

Brother, I am writing to you with a heavy heart. I fear that those who have come after you have let the comforts of the world cloud our judgment and deflect our gaze from Christ. The church of Jesus Christ, birthed on a lonely cross and weaned on persecution has become a victim of our own affluence and acceptance.

Today the majority of those who have declared Christ as Lord have sought to replace the Jewish priesthood with a new, equally fallible priesthood of men. We exalt them. We give them vain titles to lift them up. We seek men who are talented and learned to rule over us instead of men who are humble to serve alongside us. For over one thousand years, virtually all of the church was under the dominion of a series of men who declared themselves the “Vicar of Christ”, a special representative of our Lord. These men lived, and still live, in opulence unknown to the world outside of the most privileged few. They arrogantly taught as doctrine the teachings of men. Even after by God’s grace their influence and dominion was largely broken, we have replaced one form of human priesthood with another, replacing “priests” with “clergy”.

We have replaced the ornate religious rituals of the temple with a new set of rituals, rituals devised to show piety and righteousness by those who have no righteousness outside of Christ. Our carefully crafted and elaborate ceremonies would make the sternest Pharisee proud and woe to the believer who strays from the script! We have made laws where none exist and ignored commands when the world frowned.

We have abandoned the simple and humble worship of Christ and sought to build new temples, gleaming edifices full of religious symbols, relics and talismans. We brag of multi-million dollar new building projects to replace existing multi-million dollar buildings. Monologue has replaced mutual edification, the simple shepherd replaced by the CEO, worship that exalts Christ has been replaced by worship that elicits applause.

Brother, I am confident that you have spent these many glorious years with our Savior and have set aside the concerns of this broken world. I long for that marriage feast of the Lamb when we will dine together and this sinful world will have passed away. How I wish the church today would heed the words you wrote so many centuries ago! The hearts of men have not changed much in 2000 years. Men still crave prestige and acclaim, the acclaim of the crowd. Men still desire something, someone tangible to worship and revere.

Aug 2, 2009

Letters to the Church: Dear Jude

(The author of this post can be reached by email here).

Dear Jude,

Thank you for your encouragement to earnestly contend for the Faith, from your following statements, it seems you we’re pointing to the fact that because of the ungodly men you spoke about getting in the way, it’s hard to see the forest through the crooked trees. I’ m sure glad that there are examples that we can look to, like you and your brother James. By the way you probably already know this but there is a compilation of scriptural books from before and after our Lord came now all put together they call the Bible. And even though your letter is only one Chapter of it; It‘s a great one Jude.

I hate to say it Jude, but as many victories and advancements that have been made in the Church, she is still very splintered which allows a lot of the corruption you spoke about to continue. Maybe it’s not like Sodom and Gomorrah but I know of sects/denominations that look the other way at known fornication, not even realizing their refusal to correct this is passing on a license to the next generation. And there’s more that is too grievous to even explain here, but many that go by the name of our Lord have given in to the pressure of the world and licensed detestable acts, further confusing true seekers.

I pray we would all awake from our slumber and realize that we will have to give an account for this.

Jude, I know you warned us, but it’s still surprising. The world here seems to be changing with each passing day; all I can say is come quickly Lord Jesus.

The mockers you mentioned often seem to be running things. ( They rule the media it seems)
One more thing Jude; what they call your epistle in verse 23. There is a problem here, maybe you can get a few of the saints up there praying. Not many here even acknowledge much a healthy fear of God, it seems gone from government (and the more liberal Churches) If the more conservative Church brings it up were called haters.

But we know we’ve a job to do even if it’s not popular, I’d rather be hated for telling the truth now and someone was being saved, then to have my Lord ask, ‘why didn’t you tell them?’ I just wish the Church all spoke the same thing. Persecution wouldn’t sting so bad if more of my brothers stood with me. But I thank God that He will build His Church. Again, come quickly Lord Jesus.