Childhood Cancer Awareness

It is and should be a popular cause to support cancer research for children and children who endure the shocking ordeal of cancer.

No child should have to endure cancer. Ever. It is a tragic function of our scary, broken world.

But what if there were “better” and “worse” ways to get cancer?

And what if some of the worse ways had to do with enduring other things that children should not have to be exposed to? Second-hand smoke? Meth labs in their homes? Physical abuse? Or sexual exploitation?

The terrible truth is that some people do get cancer from being sexually exploited and physically abused.

People like Robbie Middleton.

Kids you will probably never see on a poster for cancer research because our society systematically marginalizes child abuse victims.

Imagine. Imagine the hell of that kind of abuse–that it could result in a boy’s death.

Then imagine you and I were the ones who looked away because it was too hard to bear.

Too hard indeed.

Social media games

The word games on Facebook drive me crazy. Really, people? Really?

You really don’t think I and 300 million other people cannot find a state, a drink, a dog’s name that doesn’t have “a” in it?!?

Yes. I know these games are just for fun, but their cloying recurrence on the Internet becomes a mild irritant to a reclusive evangelist with an ax to grind (me–a pronoun without an a).

The truth is there is a question we cannot afford to neglect and it has nothing to do with spelling.

It is this–name anyone or thing other than Jesus that can save you.

Yep. I said the j word.

Everyone is looking–money, sex, fame…combing our small and brief horizons for anything, anyone who can save us.

When like milk, Connecticut, and Rex, the answer is right there before us–


A savior with no a in his name. Only love in his eyes.


I don’t get out much.

And I doggedly refuse to watch Miley Cyrus videos.

So my only real encounter with twerking was at a quincenera years ago.

My husband and I were youth ministers at the time and when we saw a group of teenage girls doing this “dance” with their butts towards the center of gathering our jaws dropped.

What is this thing?

We asked incredulously. Back then–or at least in our corner of the hinterlands–they called it “booty dancing.”

Truthfully, not an attractive sight.

And these girls were doing it without the added “allure” of direct-contact partners.

We talked about it in youth group. I said, emphatically, that the litmus test for dancing needed to be–would you do this with your sibling?!

I thought this was logical and humane. Most of us would be grossed out by highly sexualized dancing with a sibling….

That was how naive I was then. It pains me now to know that what we adults may ignore as a fad of youth culture will one day come to back to haunt us.

I haven’t watched Miley Cyrus pimp herself out for a few hits. I already have enough scars on my soul. But if I could talk to her over some peach tea I would tell her to put her clothes on and dance like a lady and work on her poor little starved self-esteem.

I remember when every girl wanted to be Hannah Montana…


Good News at HEB

A number of years ago I contacted local grocery chains asking them to police/filter their magazine offerings.

My kids are often offended by the gauntlet of celebrity cleavage shots one has to camp in front of as one waits to pay for milk.

Not okay.

One story ignored me, the other store’s media rep said,

at least it is not full nudity.

Oh…ok, then…

So it is with great elation and relief that I report that HEB had entire aisle devoted to high-quality, reasonably priced children’s books.

Not a boob in sight.

Thanks guys.

Good Shepherds–a dying breed

There seems to be a new trend in excuses for rape–pastors who claim their illicit and immoral acts were somehow motivated by a desire to “cure” their victims.

This, of course, like so many of the insidious blurred lines of our debauched culture, is from the pit of hell.

These men, or anyone who uses the mantle of spiritual authority to harm children, should expect judgment.

But how about the antidote to wolves in sheep’s clothing? Where are the good shepherds?

I have read tragic stories lately about violence in Kenya and Chicago, about livestock suffering at the hands of people, about grief coming unexpectedly from a simple water accident.

Each story of violence and loss reminds us of the importance of good shepherds.

We live in a perilous world and we ourselves are the most dangerous element of that world–polluting, raping, murdering, and neglecting.

Yes. Neglecting.

Sometimes the worst thing we do is not direct harm.

Sometimes it is a terrible enough injustice for us to walk away from our flocks, our children when we know there are predators lurking in the fields.

Must-See The Neighbors

Editor’s Note: I love the first 3 seasons of Arrested Development, but found the 4th unbearably discordant.

I love Better Off Ted and think it is a crime they cut it.

Which is why I am begging you to try The Neighbors airing on Friday nights on ABC.

It is an elegant, witty, kid-friendly alien sitcom and I want it to survive.

So please, try it out. George Takei would want you to. Trust me.

Obama, Rodman, and Kenneth Bae

I never thought I would think so highly of our former presidents.

I am a cynic and not easily impressed by politicians.

But the utter lethargy evinced by our current POTUS in the case of Kenneth Bae defies the ordinary perfidy of our elected o-fficials.

He has doggedly refused to send any emissary to ask for the release of this harmless and well-intentioned American citizen.

And while I privately hold with MIB on the original antics of Dennis Rodman–even a self-respecting extraterrestrial being would have the decency to parlay his coziness with one of the worst despots in modern history to pray for the release of Kenneth Bae.

Someone must pray.

Someone must.

Jesus Had Two Dads…

Ironically I first ran across this interesting “justification” of same sex parenting when I was researching the story of a young boy who was trafficked and sexually exploited by his “dads.”

I still grieve for him and the terrible tragedy of his life with them…and I ask who will pick up the pieces?

There are plenty of wretched parents of all sorts of backgrounds, and I do not–not think that homosexuality disqualifies a person from great parenting any more than I believe that heterosexuality engenders great parenting.

Let’s face it, most of us are just ok parents, and some of us are just plain lousy.

But back to the marquee statement–

Jesus had two dads…and he turned out ok.

When I read that statement my first reaction is–really?!?

And my second is–have you read the story?!!

Dying beaten and broken on a Roman cross is not ok.

It is the death of a criminal.

Jesus died with murders, thieves, terrorists.

He believed he was paying the ultimate price for a broken world.

Do you?

The Story You Won’t Read…

I have been haunted recently by this story.

Should not happen.

But here is the thing…

The neighbor should have been arrested and detained after the initial rape.

He should not have been free to try to murder a child he had already raped

Yet Robbie Middleton’s assailant was allowed to go free even after he tortured and attempted to kill Robbie.

Insufficient evidence…the police said.

I would say, try a little harder boys.

Only I understand this–the reason that Don Collins was not arrested, charged, detained, or tried for the rape and attempted murder of Robbie Middleton was because too many of us looked away.

We do not want to know these stories. We do not want to carry them with us.

When the system fails our children, we fail them too, by not demanding more.

How fast would you complain if someone cut off your wifi?

Pretty fast, I bet. I know I would. Because we paid for it.

We all pay a price for the years Robbie suffered before he succumbed to such unbearable injury.

Robbie paid in pain.

We pay with our flaccid and tarnished souls.

How to be a failure

First of all, let me restate for the record:

I am an egregious sinner and a (to quote my adopted daughter)–“failed parent.”

So yeah. Don’t be me:)

Second, a story…

When I first became a parent it was to a 12 year old boy who had been through hell.

He flipped out fast, threw rocks at our neighbors’ cars, and his caseworker told us our only option was to call the police.

Our next two charges we kept, despite the fact that they screamed at the top of their lungs 2-3 hours a day.

We lived in a cute little neighborhood. Imagine our neighbors’ chagrin when the howling started and their tremendous relief when we finally moved.

Imagine being young, reasonably cute and surrounded by a maelstrom of LOUD everywhere you went.

I still can’t believe we did it.

But we did.

Because we believed

In Jesus

Still believe, actually.

Before I wrote this I asked my oldest biological child how how life would have been different for this child and the family if I had followed advice we have encountered over and over about hiding our adopted son’s predations.

The answer was a chilling thing–

If I had, if we had, hidden the crimes against our children and supported their predator, we would have unleashed darkness on our children.

In other words–we had to tell the truth, be the failures in the eyes of family, church, and community to succeed in the one thing that matters–showing our children they are precious.

In fact I would say this to all of them the same–you are precious.

And if you are a threat to yourselves or others I will be the first person to call the police.

Because, my dear, we all deserve the law–it’s gravity and protection.

Beneath a grim and unavoidable Cross.