Friday, May 27, 2011

Our Son's Finest Moment

The little girl stank.


Our son Christopher wanted to have nothing to do with her. She was a girl in his second grade class who had no friends. No one wanted to be close to someone with her odor.

Some of our son's friends called her derogatory names. Some mistreated her, tripping her when she walked by or "accidentally" running into her on the playground.

Christopher knew better than to do anything that would get himself into trouble. He avoided the temptation to mistreat the little girl. But he didn't like her. He did not like her smell. And he could not bring himself to intervene when she was being picked on by other kids.

After a few weeks in school, we discovered the cause of her smell. The girl had a medical condition preventing her from completely controlling her bladder. Sometimes she would wet herself.

She could not prevent an occasional accident; and it made her life difficult.

When Christopher found out about her medical condition, he still did not like this little girl. However, he began to ask us, "Do you feel sorry for ________? She doesn't have any friends." Slowly, he began to empathize with his classmate. He began to think about what life would be like for him if he could not control his ability to go to the bathroom when needed. He began to realize that he might have problems in making friends. He started to understand that he might be defensive, too, if he were called names or picked on by other kids all the time.

It took a long time, but near the end of the school year, Christopher announced to us one evening, "___________ and I are allies now." (He refers to his friends as his "allies".) He had convinced a few other boys in his class to accept the girl into their group. He had risked the rejection of his friends in order to bring an ostracized little girl into his group.

For the first time as a second grade student, the girl had "allies". She had a group who accepted her. She had a few boys who would defend her rather than mistreat her.

It was our son's finest moment.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Mystery of Frederick Jermaine Carter's Death

A few months ago, I posted a short piece about Christianity's influence on the civil rights movement. Tonight, Valerie Hicks Powe of the Citizen-Advocates Foundation for Justice left a comment on that post asking me to help her organization to publicize the case of Frederick Jermaine Carter in the hope that additional publicity will help to solve the case of his death.

In December of last year, Mr. Carter's body was found hanging from a tree in Mississippi. Originally, law enforcement officials ruled it a suicide without a thorough investigation. However, the coroner has determined that insufficient evidence exists to declare Mr. Carter's death to be a suicide.

Mr. Carter's mother wants answers. She does not believe that her son would have committed suicide; and she rightfully wants an investigation. Wouldn't you if you were Frederick Jermaine Carter's parent?

The Citizen-Advocates Foundation for Justice has more information about the case and who can be contacted to help in resolving the case at

"But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5:24).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Doing Good When It Looks Bad

As one of his requirements in the Cub Scouts, our son Christopher needed to pick up trash in our neighborhood. It was a part of the requirement dealing with learning to care for creation.

Yesterday, I told our son that it was time to meet this requirement. However, he absolutely did not want to pick up trash. When I asked why he didn't want to do it, he replied, "Everyone will think I'm in jail!"

In our community, inmates pick up the trash on the streets as a form of community service. Christopher did not want to be mistaken for an inmate.

His reaction made sense, but he picked up the trash anyway.

Later, I explained that we need to have the courage to do the right thing even when it looks like we're doing something wrong. After all, Mary, the mother of Jesus, looked like she had done something wrong when she was carrying the baby Jesus even though she was not married. In addition, Jesus often looked like he was doing something wrong when he healed someone on the Sabbath or associated with sinful people at a meal. However, in the cases of both Mary and Jesus, they were doing good. And God was pleased, even though others misunderstood.

It's okay to look like you've done something wrong. Just make sure that you've done something good.

"Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil" (1 Peter 3:13-17).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why Do We Go to Church?

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25).

"What then, brothers (and sisters)? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up" (1 Corinthians 14:26).

This morning my son asked me, "Why do we go to church?"

We study the Bible together at home; we pray at home; and we sing at home. My son also knows that the vast majority of my personal "ministry" takes place in my everyday life---at home with my family and on my job as a mail carrier. He knows that my coworkers and customers often come to me with questions about the Christian faith and with prayer requests. In fact, only a small part of our lives is spent at the church building or engaged in official church-related projects. He wonders why we meet with the church at all, since it takes up such a small percentage of our time during the week.

I told him that we meet as a church primarily for encouragement. We need encouragement to keep following Christ, and our fellow Christians need encouragement from us to keep following Christ. It's true that most of our lives are not spent in church meetings, but those meetings serve a good purpose. It can be discouraging to think that we are alone in our spiritual lives; but being in the physical presence of other committed followers of Jesus as we worship, serve, and share our lives together can give us a shot of courage that could be essential in keeping us going and being productive.

I'm sure that there are many other good reasons to go to church, but that's the answer that immediately came to my mind.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Helping Abused Women


In this video from TV station KFOR in Oklahoma City, you will see the story of a couple who own a trailer park in Edmond, Oklahoma. Motivated by their faith in Christ, they use one of the trailers as a shelter in which abused women can live as they try to get a new start in life.

"You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:13-16).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What Robs Men of Courage?

Last month, I reviewed Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood by Dennis Rainey. This is a link to an article by Dennis Rainey based on a portion of the book:

What Robs Men of Courage? -

Saturday, May 07, 2011

A Good Night in the Hood

This is a portion from our minister Ron Babbit's newsletter to his supporters. I know that my fellow Contact Church members do not need my notes to explain some of Ron's statements, but those who are unfamiliar with his way of saying things may be confused so I have included a few explanatory notes.

"We walked up to a door and knocked. At first there was no response. The doors have peep holes so they can see who is beating on the door. I usually stand to the side, so they can't see the sheriff! (Note: Ron had explained previously in his newsletter that when someone asks "Who is it?" when he knocks, "I usually respond with 'Sheriff!' Don't ask me why, I just like to keep 'em guessing! Yes, I sometimes get in trouble.") It was night time and it is a different world in the hood when the sun goes down. A dude came to the door and I told him our names. We followed him into the living area...

"His name was Tyron. He went into the kitchen. Stan-the-man and I took a seat in the living room and started visiting with another dude---the live-in daddy to the three children, along with his honey and a 16 year old gal. The 16 year old had recently gotten out of jail for beating up some people. Her 17 year old hairy-leg (Note: her boyfriend) is still in the David L. Hotel (Note: the Tulsa County jail), looking at 10 years for beating up some folks. This clown was in on a couple of our Bible studies. I read the WORD from the book of Proverbs and shared three or four points.

"While I was talking, the hoss who wouldn't shake my left hand (Note: Ron broke his right hand a few weeks ago) left the apartment and was gone 5 to 10 minutes. When he returned I asked Tyron, 'Would you like to join us?' He said, 'How did you know my name?' He removed his ball cap that was shading the sun off his left ear and then the stocking under the cap. This was the first time any dude had removed their head-gear and joined the conversation.

"I was sitting on the floor in front of the 16 year old gal. Tyron started asking, 'Who are you? Why did you come here?' He said that as he was getting off the bus that day a lady told him that JESUS loved him. That blew him away. He said, 'Then you men show up talking about GOD. Who are you with?'

"He shared his frustrations, hurts, anxieties, fears and disappointments. I would have a response to some of his sharing and he would say, 'I'm not through talking.' This made me nervous. He would stare at me and then he would stare at Stan-the-man and then resume his conversation. He described his time in prison and how he wouldn't take a shower with the other men. He said we would never believe what happened in prison and that they had access to more drugs in prison than outside the walls. He said they had to strip buck-naked and the guards looked for drugs...

"He said, 'I respect you men. You come out here to read the Bible. This is a dangerous place and you men show up; people don't do that.' He asked again what church we were with. I said, 'If you were to look for a church, what would you look for? What would be on your list of items that you would look for?' He said that he didn't like white churches. He didn't like black churches. He didn't like Mexican churches. He said, 'I like a mix.' The folks who lived in the apartment said, 'That's Contact.' He said, 'What is Contact?' He said that he would look for a church where the people are accepting and not judgmental...

"I was somewhat nervous at the beginning of our visit, but now I noticed a softening of his heart, a breaking down of his being hip, slick, cool, and out of sight. The room was very quiet; no one was moving around or jumping up and down. Everyone was listening with a seriousness about why GOD had us there. When I had the opportunity, I told Tyron that I would like to pray but he didn't respond. He just walked into the kitchen. I talked some more about the seriousness of us walking with the LORD and responding to HIS call to obedience. I noticed Tyron standing in the kitchen looking around the corner. I said, 'Tyron, come and join us as we talk to GOD.' He very quietly said, 'I will pray here.' I got on my knees and asked everyone what they would like for me to pray for. The young 20 year old said the healthy delivery of her baby. The 16 year old asked for prayers for patience when people jumped her so that she wouldn't hurt them. She wants to get back into the Job Corp and finish her high school education with a diploma in hand. The hairy-leg clown said he needed a job...We petitioned our LORD in prayer. When I finished praying, I raised my head and guess who was kneeling beside me? That's right, Tyron. I couldn't believe it, but why do I doubt GOD at work in so many hurting hearts?

"I wish I could tell you how the SPIRIT OF GOD was moving in that swingin' apartment. Tyron said thank you over and over again. He told us that he respected us for what we were doing in the apartment complex. He said, 'One of these days, I will come to Contact.' Praise GOD for what HE does through HIS clowns as we get to continue showing up, paying attention, and responding appropriately. The church of our LORD continues to grow at Contact..."


Thursday, May 05, 2011

The National Day of Prayer

President Obama and Congress have asked Americans to pray for them and for the nation today during the National Day of Prayer.

This is an excerpt from President Obama's proclamation:

"Let us pray for the men and women of our Armed Forces and the many selfless sacrifices they and their families make on behalf of our Nation. Let us pray for the police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who put themselves in harm's way every day to protect their fellow citizens. And let us ask God for the sustenance and guidance for all of us to meet the great challenges we face as a Nation.

"Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those who have been affected by natural disasters at home and abroad in recent months, as well as those working tirelessly to render assistance. And, at a time when many around the world face uncertainty and unrest, but also hold resurgent hope for freedom and justice, let our prayers be with men and women everywhere who seek peace, human dignity, and the same rights we treasure here in America."

Let's honor their request. As the apostle Paul wrote,

"I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NLT).

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Every Baby is a Little Miracle

"Every baby is a little miracle to celebrate, support, and protect" (Pampers commercial).

"Children are a gift from the LORD..." (Psalm 127:3, New Living Translation).

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother's womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous--how will I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed" (Psalm 139:13-16, New Living Translation).