Thursday, October 29, 2015

10 Reasons Halloween is the Worst Holiday Ever





Ok, if you already feel offended by the title...stop reading now. While you still like me and think I'm a good person. 

And the first reason to despise Halloween goes to.....

1) Expensive Candy!!! People who can't afford to buy their kids a lunch for school are spending $50 on a few boxes of miniscule chocolate bars. And by people, I mean me.

2) Girls Flooze-fest. 
Best excuse to look like a $2 hooker ever?? Halloween!! "Whatev. It's my costume! I'm in character!!" Yep, that you are sweet pea.  

3) Stranger Danger.
For 364 days of the year: Never take candy from strangers! 
On October 31: Tonight, in the dark, take all the candy from all the strangers!! 
Makes sense, right? 


4) Church Celebrations.
Not that they are all bad, I've participated in a few over the years. But a part of me was thinking, "Why are we trying to whitewash this? If something's wrong with it, don't do it. If not, go out in your community and participate. 
Otherwise the message to kids is really messed up.  "Hey kids! Halloween is evil and of the devil. BUT you're in luck!! Because this celebration that has the exact same components of dressing up and eating candy BUT is at the church...will blow your mind! And best of all, you never have to interact with someone who doesn't believe the same things you do!!!"

5) Calories. Excessive access to excess. 

6) Darned If You Do...
If you want to go out to dinner or a movie, or anywhere at all, and your windows are dark and candy-less, everyone will hate you. Kids might egg your house and call you a cheap spoilsport and maybe some other names. 
However, if you stay home and dutifully hand out candy, you my friend, are a prisoner. Think Will Smith in I Am Legend, blowing things up to keep zombies off his walls. You'll be desperately calling in favours from friends if you run out of candy, so stock up. It's like the night of December 31, 1999 and you're out looking for a generator, a flashlight, and a can of beans. Good luck. 


7) Headless Monsters!!
Say you live 15 miles out in the country, with small children, and no indicators of celebration whatsoever, a grown man will come to your house in a headless gore costume, lurch through your living room, scare the crap out of your wide-eyed littles, and take all the candy you were hoping to eat in peace after the kids were in bed. 
True story, bro. 

8) The "Decorations".
 So any other day of the year, a skull, headstone, and coffin on your lawn is pretty much a faux pas. But on October 31, it's simply Good Fun!!
(Didn't mean to rhyme there, actually..) "Woohoo!! DEATH and all his friends...I think I'll make a shrine to them in my front yard!!"

9) Driving is Hazardous.
 What if you have to drive somewhere?! It happens! And the streets and sidewalks are rabid with small zombies and princesses, darting in and out of alleys, wearing masks (so they can't see) and black costumes (so you can't see). Worst part is if you do run over one of the little beggars people will just assume it's part of someone's over-zealous lawn decor! 
Horrors!!

10) 50% Off Candy ...the Next Day
The 10th and final reason why I'm a Halloween grinch is because on Oct 30 the populace is busy handing over their arms and legs for candy and costumes.... And then, "magically" on November 1st the candy is half-price. And the costumes you couldn't afford are now completely affordable.  When I get my time machine, I will set it to November 10th, buy everything cheap-like-borscht, and then scoot back to October 31 and gleefully lay out scads of candy. I'll be the hero of the block. 

Also spiders. Ugh! Big black ones crawling up people's front steps, bouncing giddily from preschool ceilings, and suspended over grocery checkout counters.
Why is this a thing?!

Alas, I'm out of numbers. And there is apparently a holy, unwritten law about going past 10 on a list, so we're done.

And rest easy, I've decided to stay home this year and fit in to polite society, dutifully lobbing Skittle-sized chocolate bars into your kids pillowcases or their $10 orange plastic jack-o-lanterns.
  
Now, if I hand out toothbrushes and little things of dental floss instead, does that make me a bad person?
Or how about IOU's for a handful of candy on November 2nd? .......Not polite hey. Well alright then. 

By the way, if you have any items to add to the list, either serious or facetious, please feel free to leave a comment. Or if you think I'm out to lunch. Let me know! No problem. 


Ttfn! 







Monday, August 24, 2015

And Summer Ends




And so winds down the summer of 2015.     

It's a bitter-sweet symphony, this life...
We all wish there were more days to play, more time in the sun, spent with those we love. I finally forgot what day of the week it is, and stopped watching the clock. I think in heaven we'll have a big clock smashing party, and a big bonfire to throw in all our schedules, our calendars, and our phones. Woohoo!!!! Best party ever!

The summer began by celebrating my dad's 65th. That was wild and busy, and a very hot day I recall also. We did our best to bless dad and celebrate him, with 22+ grandchildren running through the house, eating everything like a swarm of locusts, sticky and sweaty and all huggable and sweet. 



Then Lauren and I had to say goodbye to two friends that take up a lot of space in our hearts...we had great fun together but it was sad, knowing it was the "last time". Love you, Jan and Brooke!!





I spent a lot of time on the road, driving back and forth to camp dropping off and picking up kids. I think it was 10 separate trips, maybe more? They had fun, and so did I, hearing the stories and knowing memories were being built. 




What else did we do?
A couple of trips to find hot sand and cool water: my favourite. I even forced myself to swim and splash around instead of watching everyone else from the safety of a beach towel. 

I took the kids to the river on a blistering hot day. Everything is an adventure when you haven't been there before! And they actually talked and laughed together, and goofed off, something that the busy rush and stress of the school year seems to prevent. (Have I mentioned how much I love summer?)




There were beautiful sunsets and walks in the evening. I miss the long sun-hours of the day stretching into the night!







There was a sad and sudden trip for my grandpa's funeral (dad's side of the family). 
It was a tough but poignant time, going through old pictures, remembering.... Seeing extended family members for the first time in many years brought back pieces of childhood I had forgotten. We walked through the graveyard and visited the tombstones of other relations and friends. It is important to do that, to honour those gone, to give meaning and space to the role they played in your life. It is healing to walk together with those who are alive, remembering those who are dead, loving them still from afar. No matter how many years it has been. 

Goodbye Grandpa Donald. 
(He's on the right holding the saw, circa 1980's)



*               *               *               *            *


We went to the mountains!!! Oh how beautiful. The trees, the flowers, the rocks, lakes, and glorious peaks! I enjoyed it so much I forgot to take pictures. And when I did take pictures my wonderful son kept making faces and hiking up his pants to his chest, looking ridiculous...I should post them anyway. That'll teach him!!
Should I..? 
Ah better not. I'll save them for his graduation or wedding slide show. 




Dylan was working all summer on a grader. It was a nice change for him, even with the early mornings and learning new things on the job. We were both really thankful for the work! I was grateful to be able to stay home and take care of things in the house, hang with the kids, and not be rushing out the door constantly. Here's Dylan in the Kneehill county grader. I brought him a coffee, just like I used to once in a while back in Edson, when he was working close by. 


Then, once again we were packing a few bags and heading up to Edson, this time to celebrate my grandma Bea's (mom's side) 90th birthday!! I love my grandma Beatrice Keyes so much. She is a gentle, caring, fun-loving, hard-working soul, of the pioneering sort from days of yore. She makes the best vegetable soups, so good for you, from her own garden. When I was a girl she taught me to milk a cow, took me for long walks to pick raspberries and find beaver dams, and showed by example how to use the hours in a day. 

It was a great time, getting together with the Carrot Creek relatives and celebrating   Grandma. I was nervous because I was singing, but it ended up being fun - and what a lovely, appreciative audience.

That's her, second from the left. Beside her younger sister who unfortunately fell the day before and got a black eye! My grandma Bea has 2 brothers and 9 sisters!! Pictured here are Isabel, Beatice, Edna, Dorothy, and Ruth. Lovely ladies with beautiful hearts and souls. 


On the way home the kids and I were able to do a little camping with my parents, which was a treat. We came down through Nordegg and camped beside the Brazeau River and then by Abraham Lake. It was breathtakingly beautiful at Abraham Lake, so blue and perfect. Thanks mom and dad! 








On the last days of summer, we took off for a couple of days and explored Waterton for the first time. Wow, an amazing place. It was at first very smoky from the U.S. forest fires, then stormy and raining, but we had a great time anyway. It's kind of fun hiking in a downpour, then warming up in the steaming car! We saw jagged mountain peaks, red rock canyons, sparkly waterfalls, and enjoyed strolling the quaint village of Waterton. Food! Books! Handmade jewelry! Paintings! Isn't there some way we could live always in the mountain parks? 
The lake was wild with wind and waves, but so much personality! It's wonderful how the weather and seasons transform the face of nature, and you experience it in a different way every time. 








Then we were looking for school supplies, backpacks, and discussing what on earth to pack for lunches. Really, we should have been nomads. Or that family that home-schools and travels across the world together. That's what we all really wanted. I guess that's what summer is for, and I know we were so blessed. To escape from routine is living! Even if we didn't have much time, and Dylan wasn't able to come with us very often, I'm glad I have the summer of 2015 to remember in the cold, scheduled days of winter. 







Friday, August 14, 2015

What I Really Think About Abortion

In the wake of the Planned Parenthood baby part sales videos, there have been some rabid facebook postings, some strong feelings, and by some, a disturbing lack of strong feeling. 

I'm positive that my constant 'likes' and links related to the issue of abortion have driven most of my facebook friends to drink or unfollow me, or both. 

This blog post is meant to explain why I can't shrug it off. 

When I was about 12 or 13, my mom brought me with her to a few meetings of the "TeenAid" organization. Designed to provide education for teens and adults, TeenAid was also about alternatives to abortion and help for teen girls and young single mothers. This was back in the late 80's, and I recall Planned Parenthood being discussed at length. Pp's agenda of population control and the elimination of especially black babies was a hot topic even then. Thirty years ago Planned Parenthood was suspected of selling aborted baby parts, but it was very difficult to fight against this large, tax-funded, government-shielded organization. 
I can't even start to think of all that's taken place behind closed abortion clinic and "women's health" doors in the past thirty years. I can't imagine what it took to get the evidence, at such long last. Balls, is what it took. And prayer. 

Everyone knows it's not about women's health. Give me a break. It's about angry fathers, silent mothers, scared spineless boys, shamed girls, all looking for a way out. It's about getting rid of the evidence. About saving future plans, protecting reputations. It's about shame, and removing it any way possible. More and more it's about hardened women and couples who aren't "ready", don't care, and aren't concerned about sex because if they mess up, it's easily and freely dealt with. 
And it's not about "well they will find a way to do it anyway, and it won't be as safe, as sterile."
"Butchery!" they cried in the past. And they were right, and abortion is still butchery. Well-said. 
We've all seen too many movies that make it seem like every second woman was having horrible, deadly abortions because there was no alternative. 
Anyone with half a brain knows the insane number of abortions performed yearly by sanctioned, clean, government-approved clinics is a tidal wave, a tsunami, compared with the drop of past back alley abortions. And guess what? Killing the innocent unborn is equally wrong in either situation.
The argument doesn't wash. It's not an argument. If I hear, "Well. We must provide clinics, or they will find another way, an expensive, unclean way!" I will throw up. 

Keep it clean, by all means. No unclean abortions for us modern men. 


Now don't get angry with me. I know very well that all of these stories involve people, individuals with complex histories, family situations, fears, and real needs. I know that. No one is trying to downplay the complexities of every woman's story, her fears, her feelings. 

HOWEVER, and this is where the rubber meets the road and the crap hits the fan, 
ENDING THE LIVES of the very young by crushing, dissecting, and pulling them apart either inside or outside of the mother's womb is desperately wrong and evil, no matter HOW COMPLEX the story!!
Do you hear what I'm saying?

No, we cannot address all the poverty and misunderstanding and rape and lust and then hope that will clear things up on the ugly abortion front. 

No, it won't work. It's not working.
Think. 
If there is water pouring out of a reservoir, running around trying to hold back the streams will never work. Bucket brigades will throw water back in today that will pour out tomorrow. Trying to stop up the spring is futility. No! Put up the dam, close the floodgates. 

Aborting babies needs to be illegal.   That's it.

Somehow we've bought the oft-repeated mantra that abortion is a "grey area", and that the black-and-white part is the ability of a woman to control her own body.
 No, it is black-and-white that abortion is murder. The "grey area", if there is one, is everything else. 

If abortion is not possible, then we will have to find ways of dealing with poverty and abuse and lust. As long as the gate is open, the sheep will run through. As long as killing humanity's smallest members is legal, we will keep doing the easiest thing. As long as the dam is open, the water will pour out. 

In the days of slavery in the US (yes I know we still have many horrible forms of modern slavery), those who didn't speak out against slavery were silent because they didn't really believe the negro slaves deserved to be free. People didn't really think they were equal. Because if they did ...they could not help but fight slavery.


Those who are silent or "conflicted" about abortion don't speak up because they aren't sure it's really murder. They aren't really sure that the baby is a live human being who is being killed. I'm not sure what more evidence is needed to convince people, quite honestly, but they don't or won't believe it.
Because if they did, if you did, you could not help but fight abortion!! Why the silence?

The historically documented arguments against ending slavery were at once compelling and ridiculous. 

"What will happen to our plantations?"
"What will become of the slaves? Where will they go?"
"Our lives will be ruined."
"Our economy will be in shambles."
"Some slaves don't even want to be free! They have good masters!"
"How will America support the weight of all these freed slaves?"

Compelling because these were real questions about real people. Complex, human, emotional, fraught with meaning and the weight of decision, the course of lives.
Ridiculous, because no people on earth should be slaves, end of discussion. Slavery is never right, it is always wrong! The enslavement of a human being to another needed to be ended, come hell or high water. And in many ways both came. But the slaves were FREE. FREE! It was finally over, and nothing else mattered in the face of that hard-won freedom. 

Yes it's like Auschwitz. All the whispered stories, the cattle cars, the neighbors who covered their ears as their friends were dragged from their houses. There were pictures smuggled out, people who actually escaped...And Yet, the camps were not shut down until the Allied armies were physically upon them, until they came face to face with death staring through the bars. 


"Work makes free." 
Not even close. But they had a hell of a lot more chance to work for freedom than the unborn babies at the end of a scalpel. It's our job, to work. Until they are free to be. 

Can you hear the shades of the arguments against slavery? "Will there be room for them." "My life will be ruined."
"What about me."
I'm convinced that the real reason we are so slow to challenge abortion is white-hot selfishness. "With those potential children dead, there is more room for me." More jobs for me. More for ME. 
Let that echo off the cliffs of the world! We, the living, are breathing the air. The dead make way for us. 
Thus the emptiness of the human heart. 

*  *  *
The Right vs Left debate is bent on destroying all hope of change; don't get me started on that. The Republican/Democrat/Liberal/Conservative posers are using this issue as a prop for their inconsequential mud-slinging, making it seem like there is another side besides right and wrong. "Take my side!" Leave the party bandwagons broken in the ditch. We can walk faster toward truth and freedom for the unborn without them. It's not a party issue, it's a life and death issue. A human issue. 

May life prevail, may silence end. 
I challenge you to not be silent. Speak for the freedom of the children that will be, and may we never ever again profit upon their fragile bones. 



 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What Life is Like Now

What's Up, Grahams?

For everyone who has been pestering me for an update on our life (not one solitary person, actually, but that has never stopped me before), here is what's been up. 

Last summer, already, was when we changed our collective lives completely and moved. About this time last year we were living at my parents, our stuff all over and mainly in a big container in the yard, waiting to move into our Three Hills house. 
Moving to Three Hills, Alberta was a pretty big adventure for us. Dylan was taking a huge leap of faith in taking the pastoral program at PBI. It was exciting and exhausting putting all the pieces in place.  It wasn't exactly fun though, as these things go, and as the Fall and school/work for us all began, things got less fun. 


Fall

 It looks like we are having a ball of laughs here. And we are! Dylan's 39th birthday, complete with lame store-bought cake and no presents...better make up for that this year... 
We always have fun when we're together, because the four of us are certifiably nuts. Not even kidding.


The trouble with all of us having so much going on, each swamped with our own stuff, is time together became less and less as the year wore on. 
For awhile I had three different jobs, and I was distracted and miserable trying to keep up. Dylan was working hard at school and tying up loose ends I was unable to get to or forgot about. The kids were working at understanding a new school situation, figuring out schedules, friends, and what there was to do in Three Hills.

Keegan has had an easier time than Lauren, which I'm pretty sure was related to her being in grade 10 and he in grade 6.  
Look how beautiful they are.
My heart aches for the stress they've had to go through. And yet I know they will be alright; they know we love them and have their backs, so to speak.   

Winter



This year, I'm going to be more prepared for winter. Now, a winter in the country, near lots of snow and things to do, is a far cry from winter in town, with icy sidewalks and a landscape so boring it makes your eyes water. In the upper level of a small house, with single-pane windows and a non-stop, biting wind...it's dang cold. This winter, I don't care if I have to rob a bank, we are taking off to the mountains at every opportunity. If you hear of mysterious bank robberies you'll know where to find me. I'll be that receding dot on the wide, west-facing horizon; just smile and wave. 


When the days are short and dark, everything seems dark forever. All that new life under the cold ground -  but when we can't see it, it's hard to imagine even. (It's a METAPHOR!!) The colors, sounds, and smells as the great thaw begins remind us that inevitably, Spring comes. 


Spring


Busy, busy, too busy. I hate that word. So much movement with too much friction and not enough meaning. May and June seemed like the whole year of activities and commitments compressed into about 6 weeks. It happens everywhere and I haven't met one person who loves it. Can we not figure something else out? Seriously!? 
See, this is why I don't believe in evolution. Well, reason #109, actually, but who's counting. 

So far I've been Incredibly Negative. Yikes. I was trying to get it out of the way, at first, and then glow with Positivity and Light, but it doesn't seem to be happening. I mean, there have been lots of good times. It takes a long time to adjust to a new life, though. The whole theory of adjustment and change is easy to discuss; however the reality evades explanation's grasp. It's a thousand little things.


Dylan's year one of college was finished at the end of April, and he had a few days to organize and relax before starting his seasonal grading job. This job was a wonderful answer to prayer, because it meant we could all stay in Three Hills, together, and save for the next year's tuition. 

In spite of all the work and rushing and change, some great stuff happened this spring. There were recitals, and baseball games. My voice students had separate recitals, college first then community. Keegan was in baseball, and sports day at school, and had a final band performance. Lauren had a beautiful violin recital, an instrument she's wanted to try for years. She seems to know intuitively how to make the instrument sing, even after only 4 months of practice.



There was a choir performance and band events and performances. I loved it! One of the best moments was the senior drama production, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". I couldn't wait till it started the third night!
 
Lauren played Charlie's dad and the Candyman, and also was a journalist at one point, running around with our ancient video camera on her shoulder. She was great at it! So much fun.I couldn't believe the work that went into it all, and how all the actors pulled together as a team, and made it funny and wonderful.
  



Summer

Every year I gasp like a goldfish on the carpet for SUMMER! Ahhhh.............And then, day one, and I remember. It's just a different brand of crazy. But this year I'm purposely keeping my schedule as open and relaxed as I can, so I can save energy for September.  

Right now I'm not sure what year 2 is going to bring, and we are all feeling like the reprieve and hope that summer brings is slipping through our fingers. We could really use a holiday, honestly, but I don't know how that is going to happen. And couldn't everybody!

If I think about things too hard I start to hyperventilate a little...it's not attractive. 
God has a plan.
It's not in my hands, thankfully. 
I want life to be full, and meaningful, and exciting. Not exciting like a bee's nest just dropped through your sunroof, exciting like ...hopeful. 
I'm so incredibly bored of conventional life. 
I want to Know Him more, so I can Love more.


 

It's very easy to get distracted. I'm trying to keep my eyes fixed ahead. The Author knows what is in the next chapter, and I have faith that He will see us all through whatever comes. 



 


 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Jumping Ditches

I was driving somewhere today and thinking a bit about life, and the paths we choose. Now when you are driving there is generally a road (and there was) and ditches on either side (there was). It is early June, and everything is green and lush. The sun was gloriously streaming around dark grey storm clouds and it was a simply beautiful time to be alive and contemplating the world. 



(I took this picture on the way home)

Ditches have been used to illustrate similar concepts, such as not wanting to be a strict, controlling parent and so becoming a permissive, syrupy one. Or having a bad experience with schools and vowing to homeschool all of your kids and their kids. Or not wanting to be a church-going hypocrite, and so doing the exact opposite of everything a Christian would approve of for the rest of your life. 

But who are you, really, inside? What road would you be on if you were honest with yourself? If you took the time to think  things through, not just giving two thumbs up everytime someone posts about What a Great Ditch This Is?

You see, I believe it's possible to be real and find the road that is in between. Because ditches aren't great for driving. It's hard to get very far very fast, and there's a lot of garbage in there. If you want to move forward, if you want to have some hope about your destination, get out of the ditch. Stop reacting to what you don't like, and just be who you are. 

We become reactive out of anger. Someone hurt us who was a certain type of person, and we vow we will never, ever be like that. So we become a negative of that picture. It feels right, for awhile, because it's different. But we need to stop letting the bad experiences of our lives define us so much. I totally get it, "easier said than done". You may say, "I'm not choosing anything. I'm simply trying to survive here. That's it."
I understand survival mode; I've been there. When you have better days, think about what it might take to crawl out of the ditch. Before you get too lost in there.
I bet you can do it.

I'm personally on a journey of trying to figure this out. It's not going all that well so far, to be frank, but at least I'm in the thinking stage; I've engaged a part of my brain even though the rest of me is floundering. It's difficult, because when you start to change people might not like it. They might not recognize you, and try to put you back in the place that makes sense to them. 
So you have to keep the goal in front of your eyes. 

I could jump out of the people-pleasing ditch and right into the "I can't stand anyone" ditch. But then that would be sad and lonely, and not who I am either. 

I remember learning to drive and over-correcting my steering all the time, going slowly, trying to keep the wheels following the road. Eventually my hands stayed relatively steady in the middle, after a long time of too far right and then left. You can't drive fast until you figure out that you will drive toward what you are looking at. So I learned to keep my head up and eyes forward, and driving stopped being a nightmare and became fun. 


If you find yourself, like me, reacting to life by jumping into ditches, take a minute and think. Is this who you are and where you want to go? There could be an interesting bend in the road ahead. I truly hope you find what you're looking for. 














Monday, June 1, 2015

Dead Men's Bones


"All that glisters is not gold; 
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life has sold 
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold"

- Wm. Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

As has happened before, this blog post began as a Facebook post that was deleted because it needed, well, more "fleshing out". Yes, pun intended.

*disclaimer
This Post is Not About You, or Anyone You Know. This post is about general, universal truths that play out in various ways in all of our lives. 
*end disclaimer*

If you call yourself a Christian - 
-and a teen or young adult, and you're sneaking around trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes: 

Guess what - you're not fooling anyone. 

If you are a Christian -
-and a parent, answer me this: 

How do we help our kids avoid becoming Pharisees? 

Matthew 23:27
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.


White-washed
The practice of mixing lime and water and applying it to walls and stone surfaces to make them smooth, appealing, and to cover up dirt and grime  is called white-washing. Looks nice on the outside...but it is rotten, dead and stinky on the inside.
 
How do we end up with some teens and young adults who put on their "super-christian" mask every time it suits them, but in their private life and with their friends are downright vile?


One reason is the practice of "application theology". The Biblical Pharisees were great at this. They put a heavy yoke of laws around the neck, weighting people down with a long list of rules to keep up outward appearances. Act like this, do this, say this. Then we will know you are a good Christian. Apply whitewash here, here, and here, hang out with those people from "good families", sit up straight, and for crying out loud, SMILE!!!

Church, youth group, culture and media, schools, teachers, etc have all been blamed, but it always really comes down to the parents. Home is wear the proverbial road and rubber meet. 

How do presumably well-meaning parents stray so far off from what is real and true and actually helpful when it comes to faith and living with integrity?

Saying to their kids ....not "how are you really doing these days?" but, "have you read your Bible today?"

Not "I care about you and I'm here for you" but, "why don't you act more like so-and-so?"

Not "you've made a mistake, let's talk about why that happened" but, "you're ruining your life. Worse yet, you're ruining my life!"

Because you know what?? These kids are going to mimic just what we parents are doing. In order to tamp down the shame and sin on the inside, they are going to start putting on this whole "holier -than-thou" act, telling their friends and family what they could be doing better. 
When weighed down by guilt, they raise their spirits by looking down the nose at everyone else. 
Christians make me physically sick sometimes. Hiding behind our doors, gossiping about how others don't have it quite all together. 
Groan.
"Amazing grace...that saved a wretch like me."

Reputation
Sometimes I think Christian parents paint these masks for their kids because they want to keep the family reputation intact at all costs. Any action or problem that may tarnish the reputation had better get swept under the carpet ASAP. And dealt with. By which they mean never, ever talked about again.

Shame
Other times the reason can be the parents own sense of shame. Shame is like a gaping, seeping, raw wound. It makes people do hurtful things in order to protect themselves and their pain. Let's say two Christian parents have an enormous sense of shame over their own previous immorality or promiscuity, and they haven't ever brought that out into the light of forgiveness and freedom. And so it festers. As their children grow up and become sexual beings, parents may subconsciously project a sense of shame onto their kids. The kids never understand why, but they carry this weight of shame into their lives. Yet it wasn't theirs to carry.

Status Quo
Another reason parents may unintentionally prepare their kids to be hypocrites is simply "monkey see, monkey do". Meaning this is what their Christian parents said and did, and so this is what we say and do. It seemed to work, at least OUTWARDLY (ahem, cough), and so let's do the same thing with our kids. And the cycle continues, adding layers of self-righteousness each time. 

Matthew 23:24
You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

There's a point, however, when it ceases to be about the parents and what they may or may not have done in the interest of self-preservation. 

There's a point when young Christians realize they are being fake and hypocritical. When they say to themselves, "What am I doing and who am I trying to impress?? This is exhausting."

Some might respond by being up front and honest. "I actually don't believe in all this stuff. I don't get it. I'm not going to pretend I do." They haven't had a transforming heart and soul encounter with the living God. Nothing has changed inside, they aren't a new creation, and they aren't interested in gluing on leaves and branches to make it appear that they 
are growing. This honesty is refreshing. Sad, yes, when you know what new life in Christ is like, but at least you know where they stand. Prayer Here.

Others might keep the masks painted and close to the bedside table, and hide behind whichever one works for today. There hasn't been regeneration here either. They are just trying to make the good Christian facade enable life to go on as smoothly as possible. They know how they are expected to act. The inner life is where they actually hang out, for real. There may be less prayer here, because this one seems to have it together. 

Some, through the love and grace received from God and others, will turn away from this fake lifestyle. They may get some grief from family and friends who are confused or insecure or feel let down, but soon enough they will be fine. Free to be real, these ones are truly willing to face the struggle and wrestle through problems in an honest way. There is a soft heart that has been turned over to God. 


Then there are those who push on recklessly down a path of pain. They know Jesus, have a personal relationship with Him, but they love their own way more. They continue to play church, but anyone who really knows them can't believe that they call themselves a Christian. This situation is a time bomb that must go off because it is on a trajectory to self-destruct. Unfortunately the damage is often far-reaching and affects many lives besides their own.  

Matthew 13:4,7
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up...
...Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.             
 
Teens suffering from Whitewashed Tomb Syndrome: Guess what? This is your life. Is this the person you want to be? This fake, plastic, smiling, self-absorbed caricature of yourself?! What or who is choking you out, cutting you off from life? 
Stop it. 
Make things right before you can't anymore. The teen years are not a dress rehearsal. You won't suddenly change and get a new start when you are an adult. This is it.
The things you do now will affect you for the rest of your life.  
The curtain is up - the show is on. 

Parents attemping to parent well: Do you think you are helping your child by explaining to them, through your words and your example, that being really good will get them to Heaven? Because guess what, they aren't going to be really good, and then they are going to think they are a lost cause. 

Another news flash, if you think those cherubs ARE being really good you'd better give your naive head a shake. I'm very sorry to break the news. Don't hate me (see previous post). Also, don't be intentionally blind and stupid. Open your eyes and deal with it the best you can. 


Parents, churches, and other organizations can encourage young people to be hypocritical when they don't value truth and relationship above status and appearance. 
 We can all be hypocritical. Me included. This post is for teens who have made it a lifestyle, and for parents who are unknowingly enabling this lifestyle. 

If you happen to be a young person who is posing as a sheep while actually being a very different sort of animal, it can't last forever. The pleasure of doing your own thing wears very thin very fast, and you are left trying to fit pieces of your life back together. Throw off the mask now, while you still have your life ahead of you. God knows, anyhow. It's only a matter of time until everyone else does, too.