Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sex Education

Though admittedly I haven’t seen it, whatever the teaching modules on sex education in our public school’s curriculum contain, I personally believe the teachers won’t use FHM or Playboy magazines as visual aids. Sadly, the steamy debate over the implementation of the Department of Education allowing these modules to be taught to students as young as 9 years old seems to cloud rather than clarify the issue. One petition for a restraining order filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court made this bold accusation: “For being baseless, DepEd Memo 261 is unreasonable and arbitrary unless DepEd is candid enough to admit that its real agenda is to transform the sex behavior of our kids towards being sex-obsessed.” (Source: http://inquirer.net/) But, the editorial chides the petitioners, “[Their petition] reveals the lack of reasonableness, the breathtaking bad faith, of their position… To impute such unreasonable, indeed immoral, conduct to the country’s education officials, all the while assuming a monopoly on public interest and good intention, is not only outrageous; it is unchristian.” (Ibid)

Truly, we can see that such extreme position creates a narrow-minded caricature of all moralists (that includes us) that harms rather than helps. Yes, it’s a cause for concern. But, I caution parents like me to be careful not to confuse the issues. Instead of cringing, I challenge us to catch this chance to coach our children about sex. Even our constitution calls for that parental guidance: “The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government.” (Ibid)

We can comment and criticize. But ultimately we parents, not the school system, are the ones God had put in charge of teaching life’s principles and skills to our children. The school just complements our task. He commanded us, “So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Memorize his laws and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7, CEV) We cannot and should not cede that commitment to their teachers. We are to carry it out faithfully.

Brethren, we parents are in charge.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Will to Obey

He already smelled rotting flesh.

Financial manager Jonathan Metz, 31, of West Hartford, Connecticut, feared the worse. It could be the onset of gangrene. About three days before, he went down to his basement to fix a broken furnace. But, somehow, his arm got caught in the furnace. Bleeding from a severe injury in his arm, he ripped his shirt and twisted it around his trapped arm as a tourniquet. No one knew he was there.

He knew he had to do something drastic to live. To free himself from the death trap, he decided to cut his arm with a saw blade. Dr. Scott Ellner of St. Francis Hospital said, “He nearly did it, but not completely.” He passed out before he could completely amputate his arm. Noticing that Metz had not reported for work, his friend Luca DiGregorio decided to check on him. When Metz did not answer his frantic knocks and hearing the incessant barking of the dog, he immediately called 911. The rescuers had to use heavy equipment such as a spreader (usually used to take the door off a wrecked car) in prying open the furnace to free Metz. Even if he lost his arm, Metz is reportedly in high spirits! Ellner added, “His first thought was to get free, and somehow, get the arm re-attached, that was his first motivation. Then when he knew the arm was gone, because he could smell the gangrene, his motivation was to live and get free.” (Ibid)

I don’t think Metz had Matthew 5:30 in mind when he did it: “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (ESV) But I admit that when I read Metz’s ordeal it actually crossed my mind. No sacrifice is too great to live the Christian life. Whatever it takes to follow Him, we ought to do it. If something or someone is keeping us from obeying the Lord, we are to take a radical step (or steps) to remove that hindrance. We may not just lose an arm in following Jesus. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:23-24) That’s the cost of pursuing His cause. As my best friend Pastor Jesse Dedel once said, “It doesn’t really take much to obey the Lord. It just takes all of you.”

Brethren, do we have that will to obey?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Rewind

Changing the past seems to appeal to a lot of us, as evidenced by two latest movies from Hollywood. (Don’t worry! No spoilers here.)

In “Shrek Forever After” (Dreamworks Animation), Shrek sorely misses his “scary ogre” days. So, Rumpelstiltskin offers him that once-in-a-lifetime deal. Shrek could once again wallow in the mud, belch all he want and scare the wits out of the villagers for one day. The catch? “Rumpelstiltskin, in return, will take just one day of Shrek’s life—a day from his childhood, a day he wouldn’t even remember. How much trouble could that be?” (http://www.christianitytoday.com) But the crafty Rumpelstiltskin took the day Shrek was born. Thus, Shrek “exists, but doesn’t… Thanks to time-travel movies, we all know that changing one day in the past changes everything in the future. (Ibid)

Then, in “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (Walt Disney Pictures), Dastan our hero got hold of a mystical dagger with somewhat like an hourglass as a handle which contains (what else?) magic sand, “allowing whoever wields it to rewind time by a minute and change events.” (Ibid) That dagger could really come in handy when we got hit by buyer’s remorse after splurging in a mega-sale or when we blurted out things we weren’t supposed to blurt out or when we committed a blunder we wanted to wiggle out from.

But just as we can’t fast forward to the future, so also we can’t rewind to the past. This back-to-the-future stuff is mere fiction. Instead of attempting (in vain) to change the past, we can only accept it. We cannot correct the past. We can only come to terms with it. We cannot live in the past. We can only learn from it. We cannot rewind back to the past. We can only review its lessons for the present and the future. I just thank God there’s Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV) Whether we had a good or bad past, it’s all in the past. Though we cannot change what happened, we can change ourselves. God allowed those things to occur for our good. And what is good for us? His purpose! Verse 29 tells us what that purpose is: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”. So, whatever we went through, let us ask, “How can I become more Christ-like in view of what happened to me?”

Brethren, God doesn’t waste an experience.