Robin Williams…legacy of despair

Entertainer…humanitarian…will not be the first thoughts coming to mind when you hear the name Robin Williams from this day forward.  Instead, it will be suicide and the world will always wonder, why?  All the accolades and all the platitudes will be forever clouded by, “he took his own life.”

Inside the masterRobin Williams of performance was a piece we did not know.  The piece that is in all of us; the voice that whispers over and over and over that we just don’t measure up.  We are befuddled by the reality that someone that accomplished so much, who gifted the entire world with laughter and joy would surrender to the pain inside.

Somewhere in his life there was a moment, maybe once, maybe more when his heart was injured at its very core.  In that moment he believed he lost all value and from that day forward until yesterday he shaped and molded a master of disguise.  Innovative, spontaneous, masterful, brilliant are the terms used to describe his work while kind, gentle, and compassionate echo from those that knew him intimately.  But the legacy will be…”he killed himself”. He is not the first nor will be the last in the entertainment world.  Every day thousands of every day folk make the same choice without the attention.

It’s the pain we never see.  It’s the pain we never hear.  It’s the shame that began when someone wounded us in the heart and we forever believe we are worthless.  It’s in all of us.  We all have a moment in time.  All the laughs, all the accomplishments, all the eulogies will not replace the pain of a broken soul.  When hope is lost…despair enslaves the soul.  Robin Williams at last told the world what was truly in his heart.  He could no longer live with the pain.  His last message…grip hope with every last ounce you possess and never let it go.

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We are His Beloved

The recurring theme that underlies the devastation of childhood sexual abuse is shame. The initial trauma produces shame and communicates a lie that in time becomes a core belief. The belief is that I no longer have value or worth as a human being. As the journey of life continues the core belief determines behaviors. Sadly, many if not all of the behaviors are destructive to the individual survivor and the community at large.

Healing begins when survivors acknowledge that they were abused. The next step, the most important, is to tell the story and release all the poison that has collected over the years. The shame is shrouded in silence and it is often years before the point of release can be reached.

The lies must be addressed, confronted, and reversed. There must be a renewing of the mind and recognition of the truth that has been silenced. The original lie that I as a survivor have no value or worth is where to begin. Henri Nouwen in his book, “The Return of the Prodigal Son” helps begin the healing process by reminding us of who we are as followers of Christ. Nouwen says:Jesus Orphan

“Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests”—the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never-interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love whenever it is heard. When I hear that voice, I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the Beloved of my heavenly Father, “I can walk in the valley of darkness: no evil would I fear.” As the Beloved, I can “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.” Having “received without charge,” I can “give without charge”. As the Beloved, I can confront, console, admonish, and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved, I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as a proof of my goodness. As the Beloved, I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved, I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life.”

The most important truth to combat the lie of value is to hear from the heart that I am a “beloved son of God and on me his favor rests.” That truth may take many years to overcome the lie. It may come after years of silence, pain, and struggle. But it will come. With care and kindness from followers of our Lord, it will come.

AWARENESS is the necessity of moving this issue into the public arena. Holding onto Hope is working every day promoting awareness and walking with the courageous survivors that emerge from the silence searching for hope. Whether you are a survivor of sexual abuse or not, the issue of shame is common to everyone. Trust in our Lord and the truth He provides combats the lie in all of us that we are not worthy. The King made the way to restore us and one day we will be whole again. In the meantime, Hold onto the Truth and embrace more each day that WE ARE HIS BELOVED.

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The End is Nearing

It is now literally every day that I witness the slipping away of this great country. As discouraging as that is, I am energized by what it all means. We are living the results of what began over 100 years ago. This is not a surprise. Here is a brief reflection on what got us here today.

March 1925 The Butler Act Tennessee
Law designed to prevent the teaching of Darwinian Evolution in the public schools
July 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial
Led to ruling that evolution could be taught in the public schools which led to the 1987 Edwards v Aguillard decision that judged mandatory creation science to be an unconstitutional intrusion of religion into public schools.

Result: God determined to be unnecessary in American Public Education. Science replaced God
Consequences: Public Education became the bastion of Humanist Religion

Whenever you remove something in this case a belief in God, it is always replaced with a different belief. Man does not live in a vacuum. With the door now open in 1925 Humanism and its most influential advocates began to preach about the need to proselytize the new religion:

I believe that…it is the business of every one interested in education to insist upon the school as the primary and most effective instrument of social progress and reform…”
“I believe that…in this way the teacher is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.John Dewey 1940

“The coming phase of religion will reflect man’s power over nature and his moral courage in the face of the facts and possibilities of life. It will be a religion of action and passion, a social religion, a religion of goals and prospects. It will be a free man’s religion, a religion for an adult and aspiring democracy.”
      “The religion of human possibilities needs prophets who will grip men’s souls with their description of a society in which righteousness, wisdom and beauty will reign together….Loyalty to such an ideal will surely constitute the heart of the humanist’s religion.” Roy Wood Sellars 1918

We make a religion of our education, we profess unbounded faith in its possibilities, we point with pride to its advance, we term instruction an art and school management a profession. Faith in education signifies nothing less than belief in the possibility of deliberate direction of the formation of human disposition and intelligence.Dewey 1922

“Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching. “
Charles Francis Potter 1930

A significant portion of the two generations following the Scopes Trial were influenced by the proselytizing of the new belief system. Just thirty-four years later there was a significant achievement.
1962 Engel v Vitale The Supreme Court ruled that the “Regents School Prayer”
“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee, and we beg
          Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country.” was inconsistent both with the purposes of the Establishment Clause and the Establishment Clause itself. It is no business of the government to compose official prayers.” Justice Hugo Black

1963 Murray v Curlett    Not a single Christian organization filed a brief in support of school prayer, so the case went virtually uncontested before the Court. The Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of abolishing school prayer and Bible reading in the public schools.

Consequences: Since God was determined unnecessary in 1925, it was now incumbent to remove him from the public square. Atheism was declared a religion.
June 17, 1963 in the Wall Street Journal:
“…atheism is now the one belief to which the state’s power will extend its protection.”

Ideas have consequences. The purveyors of a society without the stifling control of absolutes went into overdrive in the 1960s and 70s. For Fifty years they aggressively used the public school to develop the core of societal transformation which led to the laying of the final foundation block:

January 1973 Roe v Wade The Supreme Court Rules in favor of the legalization of abortion on demand.

Result: Sixty million children destroyed. God removes his hand of blessing.

Consequences: Recognition of a Higher Power and absolute truth is determined to be the enemy of the new order. God is dead. Long live man. The destruction of the family, gender confusion, rise of sexual immorality and abuse. The crumbling of a people and country.

I have been blessed to live during the coming of the age. Roe v Wade was a warning. September 11, 2001 was a warning. The economic collapse of 2008 was a warning. There are warnings going on all around the world. It is 2014 and I am observing every day the collapse of the most powerful country in man’s history. It is over 100 years now that this county has attempted to eliminate the creator. We are living the consequences out every hour now and the signs are clear. It won’t be long. The King has removed his cover on this country. Either there is individual and national corporate repentance or there will be final judgment. As much as I desire repentance for the safety of my children and grandchildren, I welcome the return of truth. Only then, will “righteousness, wisdom and beauty reign together”…with peach, joy, and love.

Don’t lose hope. Don’t give in. Stand with all you have. We win.

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When the HAND is removed….

Remember in the Old Testament how every time God removed his hand of protection from the chosen people bad things happened. I have now lived long enough to see it happen in real time. One of the promises to Abraham a few years ago was that any nation that blessed Israel would be blessed by God. It is a covenant; it has never changed and will never be broken.
America began with one purpose. A place where people that desired to worship the God of Abraham without restraint could do so in safety. For three hundred and eighty years God kept his promise. America has grown and prospered like no other nation in the history of man. Chance or divine providence? “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.” I have lived under this blessing in the greatest country to ever exist.
I have also lived long enough to see God remove his hand from this country. “And the one who curses you I will curse.” We are witnessing two paths. First, the intentional move to eliminate God from this culture and second to turn our backs on God’s chosen people. The consequences of both decisions are taking form rapidly, like every day.
America is declining on a daily basis both internally and as the most influential country in the world. Internal strife, greed, lust for power, and immorality are bringing this country down right before our eyes. Israel is moving daily toward having to go it alone against what seems to be insurmountable odds. They are surrounded on all sides. Confrontation is imminent.
Angel WarI hope I will live long enough to see God’s promise to Abraham fulfilled. Israel very soon will destroy all of its surrounding Arab neighbors in a show of force never seen before on this planet. America will decline to a weak has been incapable of influencing again with any credibility. Then the King will return and put this place back the way it was in the beginning. I hope I live to see it….I just may.

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Can you name the most prolific serial killer in US history?

Kermit GosnellDo you recognize this man?  He is the most prolific serial killer in the history of the United States.  Put all the murders of all the serial killers in the United States combined and it won’t come even close to the number this man slaughtered over thirty years.

In January of 1973 this country turned its face away from the creator.  It opened the door to this monster Kermit Gosnell.  After years of ignoring the known facts this man finally came to justice and is now in prison for life.  But he murdered thousands before he was put away.  Here is a quote from the grand jury report that led to his conviction:

The neonatologist testified… If a baby moves, it is alive. Equally troubling, it feels a “tremendous amount of pain” when its spinal cord is severed. So, the fact that Baby Boy A. continued to move after his spinal cord was cut with scissors means that he did not die instantly. Maybe the cord was not completely severed. In any case, his few moments of life were spent in excruciating pain.   (Report of the Grand Jury) 

The Grand Jury report is beyond horrific.  Several jurors changed their worldview of Pro Choice following the report.  I graduated high school in 1973 and have watched and become active in the Pro Life cause over the years.  Millions of children later and a monster like Gosnell sickens me to the soul and renews a desire to fight for the defenseless. 

I encourage you to go to http://www.gosnellmovie.com and consider contributing to a project that will expose to the world who Kermit Gosnell is and the failure on the part of this country and its media to shed any light at all on Kermit Gosnell.  Two generations have now grown since 1973.   There is a lot of blood on our hands if we refuse to do what we can to fight back.

 

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Bill Gothard = AWARENESS…Awareness = HEALING

Child Abuse 4A March 1, 2014 conference, “Sanctuary for the Sexually Abused: An Introduction to Pastoral Care, at the Duke Divinity School provided current and future pastors and other spiritual care providers with an introduction to the pastoral care of survivors of sexual abuse.

Organized by student Adam Baker, M.Div. ’14, a former child and adolescent therapist the conference addressed the prevalence of sexual abuse, its effect on the mind and body, it’s  impact on one’s relationship with God and others, and how to care and advocate for survivors of sexual assault.

“For current and future pastoral care providers, it’s not a question of if one will encounter a survivor of sexual abuse; rather, it’s a question of when,” said Baker.  “This conference was intended to begin a conversation about the necessity of knowing how to support, walk with, and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse.   Survivors are likely a part of every congregation, and frequently, they are also preaching in the pulpit.   The church doesn’t talk about sex well, and we certainly don’t speak well concerning matters of sexual trauma.  That needs to change.  Thu church needs to be a safe place for survivors.”(1)

AWARENESS of the prevalence of sexual abuse is gaining momentum.  The news media is drawing attention to the issue with more frequency and the Duke Conference highlights the alarm that is growing in the faith communities.  Just last week, the well-known Christian leader Bill Gothard resigned his position after over 35 years at the helm.  While it is a crushing blow for the Christian community time may well demonstrate that this needed to be addressed many years ago and the shame surrounding this intimate issue perpetuates the silence.  I am encouraged that AWARENESS is growing and gaining legitimate attention.

With AWARENESS comes the next important step in addressing sexual abuse, HEALING.  Jillian and I have learned that the HEALING portion demands time and patience.  The damage from sexual abuse goes to the very core of who we are as image bearers of God.  Our sexuality is God’s greatest gift and the silence enveloping this must cease.  The HEALING process is long, arduous, and painful.  There are no models out there that adequately address the intervention it requires.  One on one survivors and advocates will travel the course mourning the losses, changing the thinking, and acknowledging the pain.  It is wonderful to experience the movement of AWARENESS…it is frustrating to know that prepared advocates will be woefully inadequate to intervene for the wave that is coming.

Child Abuse 9Keep spreading the word.  It is now acceptable to admit there is an issue.  Encourage your community to address this in their churches, Sunday schools, and youth groups.  Holding onto Hope is determined to keep sounding the alarm, and we are committed to continuing to develop a HEALING model.  Walk with us.  www.holdingontohope.org.

1. https://divinity.duke.edu/news-media/news/20140306sanctuary?nopaging=1

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Legacys

Jillian and I traveled to Iowa last week.  The word that kept coming to my mind during and after the trip was, LEGACY.  Legacy; something passed on to those that follow.  We were invited to Iowa to share with three communities about the Prevalence of Sexual Abuse.  Through some amazing circumstances and direction of the Holy Spirit and  wonderful friends Jeff and Becky Neu, Holding onto Hope Ministries has a whole host of new friends.

IMG_0832At Des Moines Christian School we observed the legacy of over 30 years of faithful commitment to the development of Christian Education.  Dr. Bob Stouffer leads a community that is flourishing and unafraid to address the difficult issues of the day.

Thank you Mrs. Augustine and the Amazing Choir

Steve and Karine Miller introduced Jillian and I to “Main Stream Living.”  Their daughter Sinee is part of an incredible care facility for adults with disabilities like our daughter Joree.  The Baker House is building a legacy of compassion and care for the broken among us.

photo (1)We also shared at Valley Church in Urbandale with men willing to address the difficult issues of our time with compassion and an earnest desire to see change and growth.

I had the great joy to visit with a friend I began my teaching career with nearly 40 years ago.  Bill Bird is a director and mentor photo(3)for new music teachers in the West Des Moines school district.  Bill and I were energetic rookies back in 1978 in Rockford, Illinois eager to teach children the truth.  What a joy to spend a little time with Bill and reminisce.

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Finally, Jillian and I spent two days with lifelong friends Earl and DeDe Taylor the directors of Hidden Acres Camp in Ogden, Iowa.  DeDe and Earl have spent nearly thirty years laying the foundation for the best family youth camp in this country.

It is our duty as followers of the King to be establishing a legacy for those that will come behind.  Jillian and I continue to speak out about the legacy of abuse that must be broken.  While in Iowa, we learned that a well-known leader in the Christian community resigned after years of alleged sexual misconduct and abuse.  The silence surrounding this issue must not be the legacy for the years ahead.  Speak out with us and help begin the healing that is emerging as awareness grows.

THANK YOU Des Moines Christian, Valley Church, Mainstream Living, and Hidden Acres for the Legacies you are building.  Thank you for sharing some time with Holding onto Hope Ministries.  Keep up the fight.

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