Is Christianity dying in the US and Canada?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Traps and distractions for today's youth

I understand. It's an easy trap to fall into, I'm constantly struggling to avoid being caught in the web. As a 16-year-old, I can't help but look around at the distractions. Teens my age are throwing caution to the wind, and exchanging worthwhile activities for meaningless entertainment.

When you're not focused on the future, it's easy to lose a desire to find fulfillment in a job well done. It's a cliche I know, but successfully completing a tough job satisfies a thirst leisure fails to fill. Without a passion and concern for their future, my generation is heedlessly rushing towards disaster. God, family, and friends are what really bring fulfillment in life. Hard work brings lasting satisfaction and purpose in life, not an endless chase after more and better entertainment.

Video games are controlling our nation's youth. Unlike books, writing, art, and other activities, video and computer games have little or no value. You don't learn much except how to push buttons faster. If kids and teens continue to ignore the future and spend their lives on worthless video and computer games, our country is hurtling toward disaster.

Video games aren't the only menace distracting youth from improving their futures. Many movies and TV shows are completely meaningless, highlighting and encouraging fun but idle activities. Recreation is an important part of every kid's life. But too much time is spent on activities that fail to impact the future. More effort needs to be made by parents to get kids involved in positive projects that prepare teens to succeed and impact the real world.

Two excellent activities for many teens are reading and writing. I love to read, and I learn important lessons from books without even realizing. A vibrant vocabulary is also acquired from reading. Writing all styles and subjects is also a great teacher. I've been writing since I was 6 or 7 and now I'm able to make a little cash with Helium. Artistic exercises like writing grow the brain and enhance your ability to think and speak. I've also benefitted from running small businesses. My past ventures include making and selling hand-stamped greeting cards, mowing lawns, other miscellaneous yard work, stripping and recycling copper wire and other aluminum materials. The possibilities for a teen business are endless.

Sports are also a great way for kids and teens to have fun. Too many children and teens are obese due to a lack of exercise. I'm don't play organized sports, but I'm always in the mood for a game with my Dad, little brother and sisters, or a rousing basketball game. Vigorous exercise improves the health of children, teens, and adults.

Art, writing, business, and sports all impact a kid's future. Spend more time on activities with a purpose, and minimize time wasted playing video games or watching worthless TV.

Kids and teens: We are the future of our country. Start caring about life 10, 20, 50 and 100 years from now. Leave your mark on world, and make sure it's a good one.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Changing Charity

Changing an impersonal disaster: applying lessons from the past to today's world

Government assistance has become an impersonal disaster. Distributing handouts without caution or care, Washington is discouraging self-sufficiency and wasting resources. At the same time, we're failing to provide the poor a way out and helping dig a deeper hole.

Successful charity depends on careful distribution and a pointed perseverance. To help the poor help themselves is the ultimate goal, not distribute handouts that demean the recipient and encourage idleness. "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."

The way charities did it over 100 years ago provides a guide for today. If we learn from the past and apply our knowledge to a changing world, we're one step ahead. Ignoring the past will force us to learn the same lessons all over again.

Earlier in our country's history, a good charity has several methods to maximize resources, save money, and provide the best help possible. First, they would determine if the person requesting assistance was one of the helpless poor (those that cannot provide for themselves). If so, they would support the person, and help the recipient find ways to help the charity and others.

If the poor person did have a capability to work, he or she would prove their ability and desire to work and provide for themselves and their families. Usually, a man would split wood for the charity (providing fuel for the mission and the helpless poor). A woman would go to the craft room and sew clothing and material for the Red Cross.

If the person demonstrated that they worked hard, the charity would help them find a job and give them room and board until they could get back on their feet.

Personal care and looking at a person's attitude can determine if someone wants to change. If the individual doesn't want to change, it's useless to try to help, and encourages idleness. Aiding others is helping them help themselves, not distributing free gifts. Most poor people want to change, they just need a hand to get back on their feet. That's what real charity is. Misguided giving is more dangerous and worse than not helping at all.

I think the US government needs to follow a similar plan to reform welfare. We need to help those who are ready for assistance and really want to change. Don't want to work for a better life? Then you shouldn't be rewarded for idleness. Health care, welfare, and other government assistance programs would greatly benefit from personal attention to and selection of the worthy, hard working poor.

Obamacare: A Good Idea?

"The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total healthcare bill out here." This is President Barack Obama speaking to the media.

This statement comes in the context of the Obama administration's nationalized health care proposal. Everyone agrees, the health care system needs change. The question is how? I am concerned that Obama's proposal will lead to big problems. With the government providing health care, they would decide who would receive medical assistance.

The U.K.'s National Health Service recently denied a drug to nearly 100,000 Alzheimer's patients simply because the drug was not "cost effective."

Nationalized health care could easily translate to a mindset that the "chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives" should be deprived of health care to save money. Should those "without quality of life" be neglected? Is that a good idea? Obamacare is one step closer.

Charlie Wedenmeyer, the high school football coach who coached Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards has ALS (commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease). 80% of ALS patients die within five years of getting the disease. Miraculously, Wedenmeyer has survived for 33 years.

The symptoms of ALS start with progressively weakening or stiffening muscles, followed by paralysis, and increasing loss of speech. For Charlie Wedenmeyer, ALS also caused the kidney failure that has led to dialysis.

Hooked up to a ventilator, Wedenmeyer coaches from the sidelines by whispering to his wife Lucy, who relays the instructions. That's also the way he fulfills speaking engagements. Wedenmeyer regularly coaches, is a motivational speaker, and his encouraging story has been featured on CBS and PBS.

The 69-year-old is very concerned about the nationalized health care proposal. Should the government decide who receives health care? Charlie Wedenmeyer's medical treatments have astronomical costs, he's wheelchair bound, and can barely speak audibly. Will he fit the government's definition of "quality of life" or will his health care be neglected?

It's not just Charlie Wedenmeyer. Thousands of people are diagnosed with ALS and a host of other debilitating diseases each year. Obamacare can only lead to the government deciding who gets health care, and who is worthy of the cost to keep them alive. Why should that be Uncle Sam's choice? It's God's, and not Uncle Sam's place to decide when anyone should die.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Christianity: Dying or growing in strength?

Is Christianity dying in America? Every time I turn my TV on, it's filled with poison and self-glorifying trash. Newspaper articles and pole indicate a decline in professing Christians. Magazines and books of all kinds mock Jesus and His followers. At first glance, it's seemingly obvious that the US is exchanging its Christian roots for an atheistic future.

But are there other possibilities? Maybe the millions of nominal Christians who only professed belief are gone, leaving a stronger, more vibrant community of dedicated followers of Jesus. As it has become less popular to be a Christian, the church is now filling with passionate believers in word and action.

Professing atheism was much less acceptable 80-100 years ago. It was socially expected that you call yourself a Christian and go to church. That's just what everyone did. The few exceptions were looked down upon by most of the populace. Now, it is the fanatical follower of Jesus who is disdained.

As a result, the so-called "Christians" who actually speak and act more like atheists and agnostics are a much smaller group. If it's not trendy to be a Jesus freak, why would anyone boldly follow Jesus just to be popular? This would decrease the percentage of Christians in polls and other statistics, but strengthen the church and increase dedication.

We see this magnified in China and other nations where Christians are reviled and persecuted. The more the body of Christ in despised and rejected, the stronger and more passionate the Church becomes. People see the love and joy real Christians have, and they want that too. But who wants the lukewarm life many "Christians" have?

This is one reason the numerical decline in Christians is really a positive. Even more important to the future of Christianity in the US is the number of young people who have a zeal and fire to do great things for God. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life recently noted that there's a "strong and ever-growing involvement of young people in all aspects of the fight to end abortion."

Other pro-life groups, including Bound 4 Life-a group made up of mostly young people-are also growing in leaps and bounds. The Christian youth of our nation are no longer lukewarm, nominal believers! We are developing a zest and fervor for Jesus Christ. Passionate Jesus freaks, young an old, predict an exciting future for Christianity in America and around the world.