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Continued…(click HERE to read previous post)
“At-risk children in my house? Drugs dealers and thieves? Juvenile detention centers? Are you crazy? That is the kind of thing best left for professionals, missionaries or folks without their own family to care for. Besides, in this country you can get sued for looking the wrong way at a child. The risks are just too great. What if I just write a check?”
As the President of a non-profit organization that survives on the giving heart of GOD’s people, I would say, yes, please do. Better yet, you, your family, your business and your church could purpose to become regular financial partners with an organization, like Open Arms Worldwide (www.openarmsworldwide.org), that is working to get more “bull elephants” out into the places where children have been left most vulnerable. But, if you stop there you are missing out. Is it dangerous and risky? Absolutely. But with great risk comes great reward.
Do Not Fear
That leads me to my second animal story. This one took place in the warm gulf coast waters of Florida in 2001 and was picked up and reported by most major television news networks at the time. A man was relaxing at the beach with some relatives when he heard screams and looked to see a pool of blood forming around his nephew who was standing in the shallow water. A seven-foot long, 250-pound bull shark had a firm hold on the boy and wasn’t letting go.
The uncle jumped into the water, as most of us would, and, taking hold of the sharks’ tail, pulled the animal away from the boy. The shark released, but had taken the child’s arm just below the shoulder. He was losing a lot of blood as his aunt began caring for him onshore. At that point the uncle would have been perfectly justified in releasing his hold on the shark and returning to the safety of shore to care for his nephew, but that would have to wait, there were other children still in the water. Holding on tightly to that tail, he wrestled the beast, which was all the while trying to turn on him, up on to the beach where a park ranger shot it with his 9mm service pistol. The boys’ arm was retrieved and reattached, and the immediate danger to the other children in the water was removed.
Is there a lesson for us here? Stay tuned…
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If our Father GOD is a “Father to the fatherless” a “defender of widows” who “places the lonely in families,” then we, as his children, his imitators, should be mimicking these traits in our lives.
Is this line of reasoning born out elsewhere in scripture? I believe it is. GOD gives specific instruction for treatment of the fatherless and the widow. His law, as laid out for us in the Old Testament, is chock-full of commands to care for the fatherless and the widow among us. James repeats these calls in the New Testament when he makes this radical statement.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
In the following chapters we will explore what this might look like in your life. We will hear testimonies of men and their families who are engaged in the fight in very real and practical ways and hopefully encourage you to step into the fray.
We are losing ground in…
Where should we find a bulwark against the plan of Satan to take down the “Strong man” defense system? Who is the “last man standing,” that GOD put in place if not the Church of Jesus Christ? The Church and its men should be an impenetrable fortress, protecting their children from the enemy of their souls. Beyond that it should be a source of reinforcements for the families and communities who are losing their fathers. Certainly in the Church we should find men, followers of Christ, committed to fulfilling their role of provider, protector, teacher and friend.
So where are they? Again, some recent sociological research provides less than encouraging news for those children suffering on the front lines of fatherlessness. It is not my purpose here to theorize on the causes (that is one bull’s-eye I do not wish to paint on my back), but the reality is stark as it regards men in the Church.
“Are males really less religious than females? Most of the studies made on the question seem to indicate that they are, and this appears to be true for all the Christian churches, denominations, and sects in western civilization.” – James H. Fitcher,
“women are twice as likely to attend a church service during any given week. Women are also 50 percent more likely than men to say they are ‘religious’ and to state that they are ‘absolutely committed’ to the Christian faith.” – George Barna,
“Church attendance in the United States is about 60 percent female and 40 percent male. The more liberal the denomination, the higher the percentage of females.” – Leon J. Podles,
“Women, more often than not, take the lead role in the spiritual life of the family,” “Women typically emerge as the primary — or only — spiritual mentor and role model for family members. And that puts a tremendous burden on wives and mothers.” – George Barna
The news out of Western Europe is much the same, and in Brazil the numbers are almost identical, with the ratio of Christian women to men at roughly 57/43% according to the IBGE – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatístic in their 2000 census report.
While good people can disagree as to the cause of the masculinity deficit in the church, whether it is the feminization of sermons, worship and teaching in the church, liberal theology, a lack of vision driven churches or a generally feminized view of Christ and Christianity dating back to before the Reformation, there can be no disagreement over the plain fact that many Christian churches in the world today are not producing “strong men,” and those that are, by and large, are not sending them out into the world to stand in the gap for children who have been left defenseless by Satan’s schemes.
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