Having A Library Card Doesn’t Make You A Reader

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Back in 2007, New York started this Family Focused Pilot Program. It was a program that was supposed to help underprivileged people get a leg up by paying them for certain things. One of the things they paid them for was education. People were paid $25-$50 a month for their child being in school 95% of the time, $50 for going to a parent-teacher conference, and they received $50 for obtaining a library card.

I was flowing with the program until the library card. The library card had me puzzled. A library card doesn’t ensure you’re a reader. I know the government is trying to get people to read but there has to be a more effective way.

I began to think about things in church. Just because I have a bible, doesn’t mean I know what’s in it. Just because I call myself a Christian, or a follower of Christ doesn’t mean I am one.

What makes a person a reader? The fact that they read books.

What makes a parent concerned about their child’s education? Does money cause interest in making sure their child is getting an education? Money may cause a parent to go to the school to meet with the teacher when they are called, and perhaps through dialogue things could change. The incentive is followed by a way to track success.

What makes someone a Christian? The bible says you’ll know them by their fruit. This is a way to track success. I know people who say they follow Christ and have the church talk down pat but their fruit doesn’t show a relationship with God. A relationship with God causes things to change in your life. So that couple that beat each other and sing Hallelujah on Sunday do they know God intimately?  The married woman who is flirting with the man at work and is on the brink of an affair does she really know God intimately?  The person who would pass a person by on the street who doesn’t have warm clothes on when it’s freezing out, do they understand God’s love for His children?  The guy who is sleeping with his girlfriend and shaking her father’s hand as if he’s honorable, doesn’t understand why God doesn’t get it.What makes us a follower of Christ? The fact that we actually do our best to walk it out.

The reward isn’t earthly like the program in New York but the payoff is a life transformed and that is the point of the program.

 

 

Social Media

 

20141117180945-right-business-wrong-social-media-culturephoto from www.entrepreneur.com

I read a quote recently:

Welcome to Facebook. The place where all relationships are perfect, liars believe their own stories, and the world show off that they are living a great life. Where your enemies are the ones who visit your page the most and someone is always taking things the wrong way. 

I stopped to think about how we use social media and how it can be filled with misunderstandings. I took a look at what I had posted over the past week and thought about the why in my posts. I tend to post quite a few scriptures, quotes I think are worth repeating or humorous to me, articles that I find thought provoking or beneficial, fun stuff about my life, opinions about current events, and then just random stuff.   I post the funny things in my marriage. I don’t post about the arguments. Listen, even the word argument is an argument between us because my husband says we don’t really argue, we discuss. Our arguments, I mean discussions, tend to be boring because we don’t really get that creative and worked up about stuff for the most part. We argue about things like my rants: “Do we really have to watch CNN for one more minute? Isn’t there a DIY something on HGTV?”, don’t laugh this is a serious gripe, or his rants: “Chicken again? I am a man. Men eat steak!”. I mean really, do I want to invite you in on this stuff? Not really. Does my posting our fun stuff mean I want you to believe we have a perfect relationship? No.

I firmly believe in your common sense.

I don’t think you think anyone has a perfect relationship. I believe I have a great relationship and I believe I am loved deeply and love him more but we are nowhere near perfect. We just work hard on our marriage. I don’t have perfect kids. I think they’re pretty amazing but I don’t have to prove it.

I like social media posts. I have taken notifications off of my phone to avoid the Pavlov classical conditioning response and I accept very few tags. What I am bothered by this platform is that because it’s faceless it is often used to bash people. The things a civilized society would not say to each other’s face is fair game and the public shaming is cringe worthy. My husband will come to me and say, “Who is _______ fighting with now?” To be clear, my husband is not a person into drama and he often overlooks typical social clues and doesn’t take things personally, so for him to notice means it’s blatant and for him to say “now” means he’s noticed a pattern.

The rants that are posted are usually about people who didn’t get their way and the raves are about how they did. In the end it doesn’t add much to life. There are those who take all of your posts as being directed towards them. You only posted that to make them mad or hurt their feelings. Everything you post is looked at the magnifying glass of victimization.  That one is a tough one because if you deny it then you’re lying and if you don’t say anything it’s because you are guilty. You won’t win. After the take everything personally posts there are the Break Up To Make Up posts. They unfriend you one day, block you the next, then send you a friend request. Their anger over their life oozes like slime and is not an indication of who you are, it’s merely their dissatisfaction with their life. Like the song says,

Break up to make up that’s all we do, First you love me, then you hate me, that’s a game for fools..

I’d rather focus on the  development of a life rich and colorful and filled with real relationships where we meet over coffee and talk face to face. Thankfully my life doesn’t hang in the balance of social media. I want to be happy when you’re happy and send you love when you’re not. I believe social media is a great tool for communicating general ideas and staying in touch with friends far away but I don’t think its intention is as deep as we make it. My prayers are that we move towards real connection once again.

Click Here for a great video on how to best to use Social Media by Faye de Muyshondt with Socialskilz

Doris Avila

1795291_10201567281649883_1883956978_oOnce upon a time a long, long time ago a boy brought a girl home to meet his mom. His mom was a Christian woman who had raised her son in church. In fact, his mom was baptized when she was pregnant with him and she said he awakened in that water and begin to move around. She loved him so much. It was evident by the way she looked at him.

The girl he brought home was not a church girl. His mom met her son’s girlfriend and smiled at her and welcomed her. She took her into her life and we will never know if she was scared for her son, approved of this girl or not,  but we do know one thing, she invited this girl to lunch often and because she is a wonderful cook, she would serve her up a great lunch and a great bible study. I guess she figured if her son was going to marry this girl, then she’d had better get to work on leading her to Christ.

I am in awe of this woman because she could have decided that this girl was not worth her son’s time. Only this mom was wise and understood her son was stubborn and talking to him about this unsaved girl wasn’t going to work. So she set out to do what she knew to do. She prayed. She spoke a word in correct timing. She loved her. She cared for her and she showed her Christ.

Eventually, her son and this girl did get married and the girl did find her way to Jesus in a profound way. When her son died, she looked at her daughter-in-law and said, “We are now Naomi and Ruth and we will find your Boaz.” This was probably the only time that the girl felt misunderstood by her mother-in-law but you see, her mother-in-law was wise and had insight that this girl didn’t have.

That girl was me and that mother is Doris Avila whom I love to this day. I’m writing this today because memories of those days are flooding through my mind. She has moved away and there are days I long to sit with her and talk about life and the love of Jesus. To this day, we remain close and she holds a place in my heart and in my life where she speaks and I listen!