Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sierra Growing Up!

Today I started a new bible study with my MOPS group (Beth Moore....Wising Up...based on proverbs). They have childcare only for young kids and not older kids. This church I go to MOPS at has a summer program for kids....every other Friday, kids ages 4 and up can go on their bus to the zoo. I was not comfortable having Daniel go...seeing how the Zoo is across HOUSTON AND he is only FOUR YEARS OLD!!!! Sierra, I am pretty ok with going, but she was not interested in going since she did not know any kids who would be going.

I offered to let her stay home alone. She would have the whole house to herself for a couple hours. She wasn't comfortable with that, so we tried to come up with a different solution. I called up my MOPS leader and asked her if Sierra could help in the nursery. She said of course she could. Whew, load off my mind.

When I went to pick Sierra up from the nursery, the nursery worker said I couldn't have her, she was too good a helper. As I peeked in the room, my heart did a little jump. My little girl did not seem so little anymore. She looked so much older. When she saw me, she gave me a smile...and then she went over and picked up a diaper bag and was exclaiming how it belonged to a mom who forgot it. She has talked non-stop about how she loved being with the babies.

When she is officially in 5th grade, she will have an opportunity to work in Children's Ministry at our church. She can't wait!!

How did she get to be this old!!??!! I had a flashback today when I was working in church. How I would have a lot of kids that would help out and how helpful they could be and how cute it was to see them working with kids that are "so much younger" than them. Today, my daughter was one of those. It is funny how you can be so full of sorrow at how fast they grow up....and can be so full of joy and pride looking at what she has become!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Watered Down Christianity

Christianity has become somewhat of a mystery to me. Well, no, that is not entirely the case. It is not a mystery to me, but what Christianity has become in the "Christian" world is a mystery. I see a watering down of Christian views and beliefs being taught from the pulpit as well from the personal lives of those walking the walk.

I struggle with this personally. Let me state this first. I am, by no means, a perfect Christian. There is no such thing as that perfect Christian. I do not read my bible NEAR enough. I do not pray and spend time with the Lord near enough. I try to instill Godly principles in my kids, but I do not do this nearly enough either. I claim to not have enough time to spend in the word...or not enough time to spend teaching my kids the word...and who has time to pray. There are so many areas in my life that I need improvement do we all.

There are decisions I made for my life long ago, and I have stuck by them. I do not listen to non-Christian music. Well, ok, I will sometimes let my son's playlist on my ipod play which has songs like "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts from the Cars soundtrack...and, at times, I allow Matt to put on his favorite radio stations that play secular music and his ipod that is 99% secular. We will sometimes listen to Sierra's ipod which, I am glad to say, is about 80% Christian.

I also only read Christian novels. It is my way to filter out junk that many secular authors put out there and a way for me to feel a bit fuller. This is no easy task as there are not too many authors who write Christian fiction, so it is quite a treat when I come across a new one so I can read again. It limits me from doing what I love to I feel better and safer with this limitation.

I do watch a fair number of shows. I cut the list down a lot in recent years. I decided to check out the phenomenon which was "Grey's Anatomy', but could not get past all the sex, adultery, and brashness of the show. I also cut out "Bones" and "House" for similar reasons...Bones and her atheistic and sexual viewpoints was revolting and, maybe not to the extreme of Bones, the same went for House. I do love to watch shows like "Chuck" and "Lost" that are not perfect in their filtering of these offenses, but it is not the central core of the shows.

Movies are another filter. I love movies, but recently said no more to R movies. Most PG-13 movies get the boot, too. It disgusts me what they get away with as rating a movie viewable for 13 year olds. We recently went and saw "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" and were disgusted by the whole movie. Every fiber of my being said I should get up and walk out, but I didn't and was disgusted with myself for it.

So, all that said, therein lies the struggle. I struggle with Matt still listening to secular music. I know...a prude right?? But wasn't music created by God for Him?? I grew up very naive. I loved songs like "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and never realized what it meant. I did not know what a good 90% of songs meant when they sang about "sugar walls", "cherry pie", and other such things that I have since been enlightened to by Matt. I just cannot listen to these songs anymore without wondering what revolting thing they are singing about now. I recently watched the movie "The Piano". I was so taken by the music that before it was done, I downloaded the soundtrack. Well, if you have seen the movie, than you know that it is, in my opinion, soft porn. Now, I cannot listen to the soundtrack without conjuring up images from that movie.

I also know of so many people whom I have a great deal of respect for who practice in reading, watching or listening to what I deem as the opposite of what God would have for us. The media is pushing on us a viewpoint of sex being so casual and it is really weird how many Christians are buying into it. The numbers of people obsessed with shows like Grey's Anatomy...and Twilight. I don't know.

I guess my biggest struggle in not being on a high horse about it. But, I just wonder what kind of message it is to spend a Sunday in church learning about how to walk in the footsteps of Christ and what God wants for us and from us, and to go home and turn on these shows or movies or read the books. It makes me scared to think of what is happening to this generation of Christians.

I don't know. Just something I struggle with. Like I said, I know we are human and not perfect and I certainly make so many mistakes in my own life. I just wonder if allowing things in our minds will further corrupt a doctrine that is already under so many attacks from the outside world. How can I talk with someone about the darkness of the world and the spiritual warfare taking place while reading "Twilight". Or how can I teach my daughter about the depravity of casual sex while watching a show like "Grey's Anatomy" or movies like "Ghosts from Girlfriends Past". I want to teach my daughter about having respect for herself and my son to respect women but am at Barnes & Noble the other day and my son is eye to eye with, I think it was Rolling Stone at the checkout, a naked woman with strategically placed bubbles covering those sensitive areas.

Raising a kid is hard enough, but sending mixed signals does not help. I have made the decision to not send mixed signals. I tell Sierra NEVER to fall prey to a boy unless they can treat her as her father treats me. If I see something questionable, on tv or on one of my dvds, it is gone. I talk to Sierra about the war going on in the spiritual realm (on her level)...I am not going to turn around and watch something like Twilight or Harry Potter which glorifies these dark forces.

My sister is a practicing pagan who also practices witchcraft. I know the reality of this world personally. How do I tell Sierr and Daniel to pray for my sister and at the same time watch something that makes it ok?? My filter is on full steam. What is not good for them is not good for me. (ok, there is some adult entertainment that is ok for us and not for her......she is still a kid).

I encourage her to listen to Christian music and am so fortunate that she LOVES it...Toby Mac and Pure NRG are her faves. It is unfortunate that there is not a real good market for Christian novels for kids...but at least many of kids books are not bad. It is scary, though, as I walked around the kids section of Barnes & Noble how easily these have crept into their books. A psychic kid detective...books on witchcraft and other powers...etc.

With that, I apologize for any ideals or feelings I may be touching on. I may be wrong in my views and if I am, please tell me how and why. I have been the receiver of people who say one thing and acted in another. It is hurtful and has made me guarded on friendships and relationships. I just wonder what we do to our kids teaching them one thing and doing another.

And, while I am preaching on not sending mixed signals to our kids, I must confess to a mixed signal that I not only have sent to my kids, but which Sierra has called me on. I am VERY sarcastic...especially when I am grumpy. Sierra has not only picked up on it, but is practicing it. So, I call her on it...Sierra, don't talk to me like that. Well, she says, you talk to me like that, why can't I talk to you like that?? do I answer that?? Simple...I am wrong and need to work on that.

P.S. Matt read this blog and liked it, but thought I was a bit wrong in a couple things. First, let me say that while everything was clear when I started, I had MANY interruptions while writing including many visits from Sierra wanting me to look at things online and a call from someone that ended up being a 20 minute conversation that severely interrupted the thought process.

He mentioned me talking about secular music and books being something I will not partake in, but I still watch secular shows and movies. First of all on that, this is my own, personal, choice. I choose to listen to Christian music cause I want to, first off, listen to music that glorifies God and secondly, music I do not need to wonder what the meanings are.

Also, shows. Let's face it...there are not too many things in Christian entertainment that is very entertaining. I could limit myself to HGTV and Food Network, but I do require a bit of entertainment. I am human and I do watch a number of tv shows that are secular. I have eliminated many shows that I deemed as immoral or anti God. I would argue that, at least so far, Lost has not been too immoral. Ok, this past season, Sawyer and the blonde chick were living together on the island and are not married...but beyond a kiss here and there, that was the limit and was only a very slight part of the show. Chuck makes me a bit uncomfortable with the clothing that Sarah wears and yes, Chuck's sister and her fiancee were living together. Again, not the best morally, but it is not in your face in action or look. I also enjoy 24...terrorism.

Movies. Yes, I just took a look at my movies...many Jane Austen...uh, yeah, cleaner than clean. I do have 13 Going on 30...hmmmm....maybe not the best choice. There are scenes that make me cringe. divorces wife and is living with his much younger girlfriend and his kids spend some weekends with them...ok, could use a purging of my movies. Honestly, I have not watched most of these (yes, there are more) in a long, long time. I tend to watch crime shows like American Justice and Dateline now and not so much on the movies we own.

The other night, Matt put on the MTV movie awards. How many teens do you think watched this show that was so disgusting in it's presentation, stars, and other such skits. I had to leave the room. I guess if it makes me squirm, there is a reason for it and I shouldn't watch it anymore. I struggle with the great movies that are "The Transformers". For the most part, the action is fun and good.....but you have the over sexualization of Megan Fox....the preview with her on the motorcycle is appalling. Where to draw the line is something I must evaluate and re-evaluate. I am not too comfortable with Sierra watching Megan Fox and the way they use her sexuality.

A week ago, I was at water day at Sierra's school and I heard one girl say to another girl, take a picture of me being sexy. A couple weeks before that, Sierra is coming home in tears cause some of the kids in her school started a vampire girl even bit Sierra in order to prove that she was a vampire. Another day...closer to the beginning of the school year, I overheard one of the 4th graders talking to her friends about how bad she needed a boyfriend. Twilight obsession has reached even our 9 and 10 year olds. HECK, in 1st grade a girl told a bunch of her friends about how if she were a TEENAGER she would shower naked with Zack Efron. I know of 13-year olds obsessed with the Twilight star...Sierra talks about her classmates being obsessed with the movie. This is not good.