Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The Disturbing Truth about Our Teens Chastity and Evangelicals by Charles Colson
September 18, 2007
Sometimes we would rather not face the truth. It makes us far too uncomfortable. Recently, Mark Regenerus, a sociologist and a Christian, has put an unwelcome truth right before our eyes. In his new study called Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teens , he shares disturbing statistics that reveal evangelical teens may be engaging in premarital sex at younger ages and more frequently than their non-evangelical counterparts.
For pastors and youth leaders who have labored hard to see their young people sign abstinence pledges, this study is a blow. But as author Lauren Winner pointed out in an op-ed in the New York Times last year concerning similar studies, we ought not to be surprised. As she explains, "Pledgers promise to control intense bodily desires simply by exercising their wills. But Christian ethics recognizes that the broken, twisted will can do nothing without rehabilitation by God's grace."
This, of course, is no less than what the Apostle Paul teaches us in Romans 7. Winner further proposes, "Perhaps the centrality of grace is recognized best not in a pledge but in a prayer that names chastity as a gift and beseeches God for the grace to receive it." She also rightly draws our attention to the brash individualism of such pledges. Quoting Methodist bishop William Willimon, she writes, "Decisions are fine. But decisions that are not reinforced and reformed by the community tend to be short-lived."
To that I say, "Amen!" The Church has all too often forgotten this truth: True transformation requires God's enabling grace. And because of the way God created us to reflect the relational nature of the Trinity, transformation happens best within the context of community. Now more than ever, we need this nudging reminder that the community of believers must be indeed just that, a community, supporting and enabling that counter-cultural commitment to God's ways.
Unwittingly, Winner's arguments also point to the lessons we have discovered in working in some of the most difficult trenches of transformation the prisons. Simply more education or a pledge before the parole board will not help prisoners stay out of prison. True change of will requires God's enabling grace and power.
And for that change to seep down deep, prisoners need a community of support. They need volunteers who will open up the Word of God and show them how to live, mentors who will come alongside and share their lives, and most of all, they need the open arms of a church community to embrace them and support them when they return.
The new statistics on the sexual activity of evangelical teens as well as the statistics of current numbers of prisoners returning to prison each year are deeply disturbing. There is no way around this. But these are disturbing truths we must face head on. Clearly, they show us the stark need facing the Church.
It is not easy work, but congregations must step forward to engage in the difficult work of becoming grace-filled communities that support and undergird the values central to a biblical worldview.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
One visit to Lois' Lodge is all it takes for you to know what that place is all about. I volun-
teered at LL for about a year and everytime I walked through the doors I felt like I was in my own home. The warmth, kindness, and hospitality of everyone affiliated with the Lodge is absolutely genuine. All of the staff and volunteers make sure the Lodge is a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere for women experiencing crisis pregnancies. I can't speak highly enough of Debbie and of all the wonderful volunteers I met at LL. Every home should be as full of God's love as Lois' Lodge is. It's such a special place...and I miss the wonderful times I spent there!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
My name is Emily. My son's father, left us early on when he found out i was 2 months pregnant, 2 days after my 17th birthday. It was a hard time, but i knew i needed to change my life and get away from the environment i was in. I came to Lois' Lodge and started a new high school. I grew soo much and made soo many lifelong friendships( hehe...SHIRLEY!!) leah, alli, and amanda became soo much more than friends. I, to this day consider them sisters and would do anything for them. It was a hard decision, but i placed my son for adoption. HE is sooo precious! he looks like the charmin baby! even though my heart sometimes hurts, i know it was right decision, and i thank Lois' Lodge for supporting me and guiding me. When i saw him with the adoptive parents, during a recent visit, i was amazed! I created a FAMILY!! and they looked awesome!! THANKS LOIS LODGE!!
Emily is currently in college studying to be a Social Worker.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Facebook is a social networking website which was launched on February 4, 2004. Initially the membership was restricted to students of Harvard University. It was originally based on what first-year students were given called the "face book" which was a way to get to know other students on campus. It was subsequently expanded to other Boston area schools (Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Tufts), Rochester, Stanford, NYU, Northwestern and all Ivy League schools within two months. Many individual universities were added in rapid succession over the next year. Eventually, people with a university (e.g .edu, .ac.uk, etc.) email address from institutions across the globe were eligible to join. Networks were then initiated for high schools and some large companies. Since September 11, 2006, it has been made available to any email address user who inputs a certain age range. Users can select to join one or more participating networks, such as a high school, place of employment, or geographic region.
As of July 2007, the facebook website had the largest number of registered users among college-focused sites with over 34 million active members worldwide (also from non-collegiate networks). From September 2006 to September 2007 it increased its ranking from 60 to 6th most visited web site, and was the number one site for photos in the United States, ahead of public sites such as Flickr, with over 8.5 million photos uploaded daily. It is also the sixth most visited site in the United States.
In May of 2007, Facebook introduced an opportunity for Nonprofit organizations to launch a social networking–based fundraising drive for their cause, promote it to their friends and network, and raise money. That in a nutshell is what a new mini-application within Facebook, called Causes, is all about. Launched by Project Agape, this new service extends the “group” features and allows users to create causes, take donations, and recruit members.
Facebook now has over 39 million users. An average of 150,000 new users create a free Facebook account every day. And who are these users? They are mainly high school and college students. This group is the primary demographic that Lois' Lodge seeks to reach with our message promoting "Life" and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want girls and women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy to know that there is hope and we are there to help them. The Lois' Lodge Facebook "Cause" has been operational for several weeks now and we have 52 members from as far away as Wisconsin. These are young people that have joined our cause to let others know that they support what we are doing. And they are inviting their friends to join. What an exciting way for us to get the word about our ministry out to those that need us most. There is something else exciting that is happening through the Lois' Lodge "Cause". Girls are sharing their stories about how they have been helped by Lois' Lodge and have overcome the challenge of an unplanned pregnancy. As this occurs I will share these postings through the blog so you can hear from these girls also.
Young people today are very technologically inclined. Lois' Lodge seeks to stay up to date with that technology so that we can reach young people with our important message of HOPE. We hope that you will invite your friends to learn more about this important ministry by inviting them to check out the Lois' Lodge blog, the Lois' Lodge Facebook "cause" and the Lois' Lodge website at http://www.loislodge.org/.