Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at St. James's Theater in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae in order to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play's humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde's artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play.

The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, father of Lord Alfred Douglas, an intimate friend of Wilde, planned to present Wilde a bouquet of rotten vegetables and disrupt the show. Wilde was tipped off and Queensberry was refused admission. Soon afterwards, however, their feud came to a climax in court, where Wilde's homosexual double life was revealed to the Victorian public and he was eventually sentenced to imprisonment. Wilde's notoriety caused the play, despite its success, to be closed after just 86 performances. After his release, he published the play from exile in Paris, but he wrote no further comic or dramatic work. (Wikipedia)

In my husband’s life as a pastor, he has occasions to visit people in the prisons, and at times, I accompany him. Once we visited a young woman who was accused of assault and burglary. When we visited her, she gave us her side of the story, and was quite upset that her ex- husband was the one who sent the police to put her in jail  for entering his new girl friend’s house. Another young woman in jail was there because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people, who were caught with drugs. What were the steps leading to their incarcerations?

Oscar Wilde was a successful author, yet his private life was his downfall. When what he did in private was exposed publicly  it ended his career in 1895.  Fast-forward to 2012. Homosexuality is openly exalted and biblical marriage is openly criticized. Evil is called good and good is called evil. “Shacking up” has become accepted as normal, instead of commitment to marriage for life; and many Christians trust the public school to teach their children good morals.

When I was a young mother, I was distressed when one of the ladies in the church we were attending said she and her husband did not teach their children the Bible because they wanted their children to discover Christianity for themselves! That was 40 years ago! Even recently, my husband heard a mother say she did not use Scripture memorization as a tool in training her children because she wanted them to discover it on their own! How many families in how many churches believe the same thing? How many churches are “teaching Fluff and Stuff” in Sunday School? (See Answers in Genesis for chronological Sunday School curriculum for all ages.)

The Victorians in 1895 put Oscar Wilde out of business for his pagan, anti-biblical personal views. Where is the church today? Openly flouting God’s condemnation of fornication, adultery, killing the unborn and homosexuality! Sadly, we know non-church “Christian” groups that overlook fornication and adultery among their members and officers!

Some blame the change in our culture upon the government removing the Bible from public school. But where were the churches and pastors who did not teach God’s command for parents to teach their children about God and His commandments? Where were and are the Christian parents to teach the ways of the Lord?

Deuteronomy 6:4-8 ¶  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

Not only are parents to teach their children about God and His Word 24/7, they are even  to decorate their homes with God’s Word! They should teach God’s word not only to their own  children, but also to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Psalm 78:1-8 «Maschil of Asaph.» Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:  That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:  That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:  And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.

In the New Testament, Paul encouraged Timothy: But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;(II Tim 1:5  When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.)  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:14-17 

Sadly, we see even in homes where the Bible was taught morning, noon and night, far too many of the children of these homes denying God, turning to the world, and some even embracing homosexuality!

The Importance of Being Earnest , A Serious Command for Trivial Christians
“Earnest”– [noun] something of value given by one person to another to bind a contract;
[adjective] with sincere intent, grave, sedate, sober, solemn; one’s dearest wish, devout wishes for their success; purposeful, goal-directed.

Pr 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children:
1Pe 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1Pe 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Are we leaving a godly or an ungodly heritage to this and the next generation? Are we earnestly doing all we can to pass on practically lived out Biblical Christianity? Are we in the world but not of the world? Let us walk in the light as Christ, who is the Light; and may we walk in such a manner that there will be no mistaking who our Father is.

To God alone belongs the Truth and the Glory– let us pass it on to thousands of generations!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Why Are We Missing Opportunities to Make a Difference in the World?

This year has been one of great turbulence in our lives here in West Virginia! The year started out with the death by miscarriage of one of our grandchildren, and our lives went "topsy-turvy." Pain and sorrow can completely deprive us of energy and willpower, while at the same time make us deeply aware of the uncertainty of life and the need to live each moment with God's purposes in mind.

Instead of blogging on this site, my husband and I spent many days visiting our children and grandchildren in Pennsylvania and Ohio many times, hoping to make joyful memories that would last beyond our lifetime. We also made the decision to visit our ten grandchildren in Kenya before we got too old to make the trip so far across the world.

In order to be able to travel by mid-September, we had to plant our garden early and pray for the veggies to ripen quickly so we could preserve them for next winter before we traveled. God supplied an abundant harvest and we worked over four months almost non-stop, getting everything done in time for our flight to Kenya.

I had briefly thought about taking an online course in Swahili so I would be more prepared to interact with Kenyans, but that did not happen! As it turned out, Kenyans go to school and learn Swahili and English, thus speaking at least three languages, including their tribal one. And we think it is hard to learn to speak (poorly) one extra language in the US, if we even do that!

We thought we were prepared for what we would see in Kenya, but we were surprised. We expected that being about one hundred miles below the equator the land would be very tropical, but Nairobi city is on a plateau 6,000 feet above sea level with a very temperate climate. Traveling there during their spring time was not much different than being at 2000 feet in West Virginia during the autumn! We had wonderful sunshine for two weeks until the spring rains came during our last week, when we had to put on our sweaters and even light a fire in the fireplace!

The most surprising thing to us, however, was how we had unconsciously stereotyped the people. Contrary to our idea of poor people without work depending on others for their sustenance, we found there were indeed poor people, but they were very hard working people, finding whatever they could do to support themselves and their families, even if it meant using a hammer to reduce stone blocks into gravel for sale! On either side of most roads we traveled, there were people making furniture, weaving baskets, making jewelry, carving wood and making metal garden ornaments like birds, giraffes, frogs and other animals, and selling pottery and foods. Along the edges of the main roads even, there were "nurseries"-- rows and rows of plants in black bags, blooming profusely, making me wish I lived there to be able to purchase every flower I fancied!

Our daughter and son-in-law have staff, employed to help them clean, cook, do laundry, plant gardens and drive their van. The staff are lovely people we adopted as part of our family. They are Christians who love working and serving our children and grandchildren, and for that, we bless them. I spent hours with many of them talking about their lives, families and goals for the future. The van driver told me he and his wife pray for our children, and thank God for the opportunity to serve them!

We were surprised by the many churches we saw, and by the many buses and other vehicles with Bible verses and Christian sayings painted on them. When Kenyans say they are Christians, they mean it. Many Kenyans were proud to claim President Obama as one of their own-- until he proclaimed to support gay marriage. Then they were shocked and said, "But he said he is a Christian! How can he support what God condemns?"

My husband and I spent some time with a missionary couple who have ministered in Kenya over 40 years. They are so dismayed and discouraged that churches in the U.S. do not care enough about the wide open opportunities for the Gospel in Kenya and Sudan to come and help plant doctrinally sound churches throughout Kenya and Sudan. There are many churches who do not preach and teach how to live out God's Word, but are content to just give the people a "superficial" religion of piety with no passion for putting the Bible into practice in their lives.

We felt the deep sorrow the missionaries expressed. They have spent 40 years training new pastors, but they feel alone in doing that, and they seemed frustrated that they may not have much longer to work toward a vital Christian Kenyan nation. By knowing English, the Kenyans have so much theological material available to them, but so few pastors to train them. Why are churches in the U.S. not investing in building Christian nations in Africa? Pagan China is spending time and money building the roads in China, but there are few Christians taking advantage of those roads to spread the Gospel.

Needless to say, Ovid and I came away with renewed purpose to support in whatever way we can, the growth in biblical living for Africa, and Kenya in particular. We do not know how many years of life God may have for us on this earth, but this year He has opened our eyes to the possibilities of many things we may be able to do in the time left to us.

The death of our grandchild at the beginning of the year was the event that has stimulated our thinking that short as life may be, there are still many opportunities every day to use our remaining energies toward Christianizing the nations for the glory of God. We must work toward the future! "Work, for the night is coming!"

Please pray with us that God will send workers into the fields, for the fields of the world are ripe for harvesting!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Never Again is Happening Again

Never again is happening again - savethenuba.com

Please pray for all the men, women and children who are being exterminated by Northern Sudan. There is power in the collective prayer of Christians! Pass the word!