Wednesday, November 11, 2015

11-11-15 Milestones

Is there an 's' on the end of that word? Why yes, there is!

Today was a big day for milestones in our home. Baby E took his first steps!!! He was holding on to the edge of the bed, turned to me and started walking! He made it about three steps before diving into my arms!

He did the same sort of thing for Tim ten minutes later. He stood up from his little chair and headed towards daddy!!

I'm so excited for my little man! Great job, Baby E!!

Our other milestone was having out very first parent teacher conference at C's school. We discussed her report card, which was really good. We learned that she is very shy and soft spoken in class but over the past few weeks she has been opening up! She can count to 59, surpassing the goal of 31. Good for her!! The worst thing on her report card is that she needs to learn how to draw a hexagon. I'm a pretty proud mama. Considering she's the youngest in her class, she is holding her own! Good job, C!!!

11-11-15 The Red Cups

As I stood in line to order my drink, I saw a stack of unimposing cups sitting by the register. The first thought that went through my mind was, "I'm supposed to be offended but those cups, right?" After all, I'm a Christian, and for the past thirty years I have watched my beloved Christmas holiday get systematically whitewashed and conformed into the politically correct holiday season our culture knows today. But as I stared at them, all I could see were cups. Red cups. No social statement... no religious persecution... no emotional tug of self-righteousness. Just red cups.

If anything, I felt sorry for the poor designers at Starbucks headquarters, (the creative types locked away in a design studio, probably still paying off student loans from their prestigious design schools) who were tasked with creating one of the most boring disposable cups ever made. I'm sure hours went into deciding the exact shade of red, and the placement and size of the logo, but beyond that no creativity was needed. The end product- a red cup with a logo.

But ever since the red cups hit the stores, there has been no shortage of indignation from Christians. Believers falling on their swords because a large corporation decided to rebrand the appearance of their beverages. Boycotts have commenced. Social media campaigns have been launched. Hashtags have been activated. And quite frankly, I'm embarrassed.

Did you know that according to the International Labor Organization, in 2009 the average monthly wage in Pakistan was $255? That comes out to $8.50 a day.

Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, 1 billion of them are in poverty.

In North Korea, an estimated 50,000-70,000 Christians are imprisoned in labor camps. 

Since 1980, over 1.3 billion abortions have occurred worldwide. 

In 2013 more than 3.2 million children were living with HIV. 

There are about 20-30 million slaves worldwide. 

Approximately 100,000 Christians are killed each year for their faith. 

Should I keep going?

If our biggest "Christian" problem is that our five dollar drink is in a plain red cup at the end of the calendar year, then I think perhaps we have missed the point entirely.

I'm pretty sure that God doesn't care what color Starbucks prints their cups. Or perhaps he chose the nondescript red just to show us the shallow depth of our own faith and the utter extent of our failure. To show us that we routinely justify ourselves by our legalism, that we find our self worth in our self proclaimed holiness.

But let's be honest with ourselves. If we used even half the energy and money that we spend on trivial  problems like red cups, and "Let's keep Christ in Christmas" arguments, and we focused that passion and those resources on issues like the above problems, His Church would be a force to be reckoned with!!

Let's step out in faith, take verses like 1 John 3:17-18 seriously, and carry out the true message of this upcoming season. That Christ came to earth and lived life in a way we could never accomplish, and died a death we each deserved, so that through faith even the least of us might be saved. And with that assurance and with compassion, let us reach out into the world around us and impact peoples' lives in a tangible way. Let's feed the hungry. Let's clothe the naked. Let's love the orphan. So that through us, Christ may be seen.

So let the lukewarm have their red cups, let's set our eyes on something bigger! Let's set our eyes on Him!

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. ~1 John 3:17-18 (NIV)