Two New eBooks at Amazon Kindle!

FacebookMySpaceTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponRSS Feed

Watching grandchildren take important steps in their lives is one of the joys of being a grandfather. Such was my privilege yesterday, Sunday May 22, 2011. I attended the morning worship service at Mars Hill Bible Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan and watched about one hundred people be baptized, including three grandsons. Grandma attended a different church where she presented an update on Women At Risk, International, for which she volunteers, hence one source of my desire to video this event.

Needless to say, it was fun. Mother Elizabeth and father Joe didn't know if the little guy, Jordan, might back out. He was worried about the depth of the water. But he followed his brothers, braved the water, nodded his head to all the pastors' questions, and held his nose.

Each of the boys had earlier at different times made personal professions of faith in Christ. They understood that the water and the baptism experience was simply a matter of obedience to God and a way of testifying to their faith already secured by trusting in Jesus.

At this time, we have one more grandchild, also a boy, and we hope to perhaps see more grandchildren some day if the Lord wills. Either way, I hope to be there to watch grandson number four be baptized when the right time comes.

In Matthew 19:14 it is recorded: "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'"

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

 

Much has been written about the decline and near decimation of the American black family. It’s not too strong to say the American black family is in crisis to the point of cultural suicide.

This is not to say that there are not many individuals and families who’ve done well, made significant contributions to American culture, produced leaders, or counted many notable achievements in every field of endeavor, including a current President of the United States. But still, the black family and particularly young black males are in serious trouble.

More than one-third of black children live in poverty. Upwards of 70% of black children are born into homes with an absentee father and an unwed mother. Black men are woefully far behind white counterparts in education, which undermines their employment potential. They drop out of school at almost twice the rate of white kids. Black children are three times more likely to live in single-parent households. Black males are imprisoned at a rate six and one-half times greater than white males.

The Black unemployment rate is 89% higher than the white rate (8.7% vs. 16.5%). The high school drop out rate for blacks in some major cities is close to 50%, some up to 75%. Blacks comprise 49% of all homicide victims and 35% of state and federal prisoners. All this simply scratches the surface of a set of social indicators very low and headed lower.

Something has to be done. Yet political leaders on both sides of the partisan aisle and on both ends of the ideological spectrum really don’t have any answers, assuming they pay attention at all.

Education would help, of course, especially in an age when employment depends far more on brains than brawn. But education won’t work if the black family culture remains in shambles. There’re not enough teachers or social workers to assure black children are in school, work hard, and are fed and clothed.

Leadership is gravely needed, and it’s needed most from within the black community. Blacks are going to have to do for themselves because it is eminently apparent others are not going to do for them. Black leaders, civic, business, education, religious, political, need to join voices and efforts and help black families pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Washington, D.C. is not going to do it and neither are state capitals--I'm not discounting how government may be helpful in reducing the impact of racism; I'm just saying there's a lot more to the story and black leaders must lead the charge.

What’s needed more than anything else is a spiritual revival in the black family. Politics, education, government programs, social work, all of these have their place but none can change hearts, value systems, and ultimately cultures.

If the black family is to survive and certainly if more of them are to thrive, a huge spiritual transformation must take place. They need new value systems based on who black individuals are in God’s eyes, not government’s. This can only come from religious, spiritual, and I’d say, Christian sources. Nothing else is going to work on it’s own, not even education, essential though it is.

Finally, another troubling thing about all this: the amount of time and money American churches put into international missions, which is good and appropriate, versus how little time and money is given to reaching and rescuing people across town. The black family needs the Church, red, yellow, black, and white.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

Recently I wrote about five things grandparents wish their grandkids knew. Now let's visit the other end of the teeter-totter. It’s a time for the grandkids to talk to their grandparents.

Usually we think about grandparents imparting advice to grandchildren, but we’ve learned that grandkids have something to say. Here are five things grandchildren wish their grandparents knew:

Times change and not all new ideas or practices are wrong or threatening. Sometimes grandparents lock themselves into only one way of thinking or doing. That’s good when it comes to unchanging moral matters. It’s not so good when it comes to cultural preferences. Youth need room to grow and grandparents should create the freedom for that growth, like taking the jar off a hothouse plant grown too large for its environment.

Life in community is just as pleasing to God as individualism. This youth generation, so-called Millennials or Generation Y, are more tuned in to relationships and connectivity than most of their forebears. Add the Internet to this and you have a worldwide phenomenon.

Not all young people are going down the tubes spiritually. If grandparents spend much time watching the nightly news you’d forgive them for thinking America’s youth are mostly thugs. But this is not true. There are thousands of youth who want to learn right, love right, and live right.

Environmental stewardship is not a liberal issue but a Christian issue. This generation is environmentally conscious like none before it, and they should be, for we are all God’s farmers.

Only authenticity is authentic. Millennial grandchildren are postmodern grandchildren. They’ve come of age in a chaotic, uncertain world. Nothing seems to make sense. They don’t trust institutions or even groups as much as their grandparents did. Millennials hunger for relationships with people of integrity. Godly grandparents may not understand everything about the latest techno-gadget, but they do know a great deal about living--and that wisdom is what's missing in many young adults' fractured family experiences, morally relativistic education, and highly materialistic culture. Some, maybe more than we give them credit for, are smart enough to know this and are looking for authenticity.

Grandkids may be young, but they’re not without wisdom. Listen to them, grandparents.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

Revised “Making a Difference” program #419 originally recorded September 28, 2005.

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

One of the great things about being in one’s 50s is the opportunity it affords to get to know your children as adults. God blessed us with four children, now in their 20s-30s, and my wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with them and their spouses. It’s a great deal of fun to go out to eat with another couple, including one who is your son or daughter.

With young marriages eventually and typically come grandchildren. We have four grandsons 8 years of age and younger. At this age they’re not yet forging their own paths, but I’ve thought about what I hope they learn and what I hope to have some hand in teaching them.

Here are five things grandparents wish their grandchildren knew:

God is faithful. Christian grandparents have lived long enough to see God’s hand in their lives, and they desperately want to impart this faith to the next generation. Strong faith is preparation for all life’s challenges.

Hard work never hurt anyone, and hard work + time + commitment + creativity = success. Grandparents don’t understand youth who think the world owes them something. Grandparents weren’t entitled. They were energetic, and they know this is the real path to a better future.

It’s possible to be married for fifty years and enjoy (almost) every minute of it. Grandparents have had marital difficulties, but most of the time this meant they needed to give the marriage and their spouse more attention, not run from them. Grandparents know marriage is worth the work it requires, paying dividends for a lifetime.

Many things matter to you now that will not matter to you later. Age provides perspective and one thing’s for sure: money, status, and possessions don’t ultimately mean as much as relationships. Learn this as a youth and you will know real prosperity.

It’s amazing how quickly “young turks” turn into “old turkeys.” Life marches on. Remember the Creator in the days of your youth and live your life for his glory and you, too, will enjoy getting older.

Grandparents want to bless their grandchildren with wisdom born of living. Television “reality shows?” Grandparents have lived reality. This may be a rapidly changing world, but grandparents still have much to offer.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

Revised "Making a Difference" program #418 originally recorded August 31, 2005.

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow Dr. Rogers at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

 

In the year since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other coastal areas of the American south, the birth rate of New Orleans has jumped an amazing 39%, May 2005 to May 2006.

Citizens, medical professionals, and counselors have said this increase in the birth rate can be explained in these ways: an inability to attain birth control support, a lack of electricity and television so therefore more snuggling and what comes with it, the fact that there are more younger people returning to the city than older people, a logical outcome of people seeking comfort in one another, the fact that people had more to worry about than contraception, sex is a stress reliever, or a conscious attempt to do something that restored direction and a future to a family’s life. Some people think it’s also a sign of the city’s renaissance. In any event, a baby boom of this magnitude is a very interesting phenomenon.

I don’t want to over-theologize or spiritualize it, but I do believe “life” in the face of death and destruction is a compelling expression of the human psyche’s deep seated understanding that human beings are or should be eternal. Experiencing the loss of many human lives is an affront to this sense of ourselves. Whether or not people are religious, they know that human beings matter.

We want to scream, “No,” in the face of something like an overpowering hurricane that seems to suggest that human beings are no more significant than flotsam and jetsam. Babies are one way to scream “No.”

I salute the new little ones, and I salute the people of New Orleans and the coastal region in their efforts to rebuild. New life is about hope, and human beings are lost without hope.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.

Teen techno-savvy is outpacing their moral, ethical, and intellectual maturity. The kids are online with friends, but they don’t understand what it means to simultaneously be accessible to a worldwide web of strangers.

Chat rooms, social network sites like MySpace and Facebook, blogging sites like Xanga and LiveJournal, and their own websites all give teenagers affordable access. No problem—unless there is a problem.

Teenager online social networking is the topic of the lead article in today’s USA Today, entitled “What You Say Online Could Haunt You.” This article is a good overview of a newly and rapidly emerging cyber phenomenon, the amount to time, the type of content being shared, and the relationships being developed by teenagers online. Much of this article, though, focuses upon how what one posts online might someday threaten one’s professional prospects. That’s a real issue, but to me it’s less important than how teens can become entangled in downward moral spirals.

Just in the past month in West Michigan where I live, a local high school has been embroiled in a blogging and drinking controversy that has pitted parents, students, and school officials against each other. It all started when the teens posted their activities online. From another local high school a young man now faces criminal charges for having taken digital pictures of teen friends having sex and then posting these pictures online. This young man potentially faces years in prison.

Organizations like WiredSafety are dedicated to educating parents and teens about safe practices online. This is a good start but not enough. The real key to teen protection is increased parental online responsibility and sophistication. It’s past time for some parents to learn how to access the Internet, how to surf the net, and what’s harmless, helpful, or harmful within it.

Universities know the problem of college age youth “cocooning” in their rooms, locked away from relationships with professors and peers only to focus on escapist relationships with unkowns in cyberspace. Some of these late teens are playing computer games for unwise and unhealthy amounts of time, some fall into pornography, and some develop human connections over the wire that are not generally productive, spiritually or otherwise. Everyone needs a little space sometimes, but cocooning is not typically something we want to encourage.

Pornography is a major and growing problem among teenagers. So much of it is free online that lack of credit card funds is no obstacle, and pornography—always a male problem—is now a female problem too. Perverts, predators, pedophiles, pornographers, thieves, con men, rapists, all of this evil is online, available to and at times seeking teenagers.

Parents need to talk with their teens about online use, not only what websites they visit but how much time they spend online. Schools can help, but they’re typically limited by legal boundaries protecting individuals’ privacy. Parents rightly enjoy greater entrée to their children’s lives and should employ it.

Parents must educate themselves technologically and educate their teens spiritually. This is a challenge of our age.

 

© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.