Thursday, September 26, 2019

You May Not Want to Read This

As you probably know, the book of Proverbs is full of wise sayings.  They aren’t promises nor are they necessarily threats.  They are just words of wisdom gained over time by the world’s wisest man.

That being said, we should pay attention to them and not ignore what is said.

Today this verse stood out:   Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.

Because of my role in our Vision 30, I have the opportunity to be directly connected to many organizations who are spending time daily with the poor.   I have noticed that for most folks in the church, the poor are far away from their thinking and their willingness to respond.  I am perpetually wrestling with my own role in this big picture.

I think it is interesting that Solomon says “those who shut their ears” instead of “those who don’t hear”.   Those are two very different things.   What Solomon says is that this is a very intentional act.  It’s not just a matter of not paying attention, or being unable to hear them, but it’s a purposeful choice.

Most middle/upper class Americans, even those in the church, are doing just that.  Shutting their ears to the poor.  You may say, “ NOT ME!  I have never shut my ears to them.”  But there are ways that we creatively do that:

1)  We live in neighborhoods where there aren’t any poor people.  Not being judgmental, because I’m doing the same things.  The only people living in poverty (based on the guidelines of a poverty wage) in our neighborhood are the adult children living in our house who, because of us, aren’t really living in poverty. 

2)  We keep our car windows rolled up when we see a person with a sign at a stop light.

3)  We know of volunteer opportunities that would put us in touch with the poor, and yet we are always “too busy.”

4)  We go to churches too far away from neighborhoods where the poor live to actually worship with anyone who isn’t like us.

5)  We hear appeals all day long to support folks in poverty all over the world, and yet our money is spent on things that are luxuries.  I won’t list them, but you know it’s true.  Do I NEED my water to be flavored?  Do I NEED to go through a drive through and get a Starbucks iced tea?  Do I NEED a fit bit?  Do I NEED an iPhone.  You get the picture.  I’m preaching to myself right now.  (and by the way, I could argue my need for an iPhone).  :-)

I didn’t write all this to provoke guilt.  But it appears that we have found a way here in the good old USA to shut our ears to the cries of the poor.  More times and in more ways than we want to admit.  

If Solomon is right, we may all be in trouble.  Just sayin.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

An Update on The Fletchers

I know it has been forever since I blogged, but today I found myself doing something I haven't done in a very long time and it reminded me of those days when I used to blog all the time.  I looked at the AdoptUsKids Website.   And that made me remember so many things.

But before I dive into that, let me give you an update on how we are doing as a family for those of you who are wondering, and then I will rant on about waiting kids at the end.  :-)

We recently returned from a trip to Minnesota for our son Leon's wedding.  We were there in April for Mercedes wedding as well.   For those of you who are on Facebook, there were plenty of pictures, that's for sure.  We are thrilled with the choices that these two have made and love their spouses as our own.    We also were thrilled to share the engagement of our son Rand this past summer -- he has found an amazing girl as well.  We are so blessed.

We also welcomed Camilla Mae into the world.  Our daughter Salinda and her husband Mike, are now parenting three children full time -Gabby will be 10 in December (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT-- she's growing up way too fast). and Carlos celebrated his 5th birthday about a week ago.  He and Camilla were baptized on September 15th.   We also get to see Mike's son from a previous relationship often.  His name is Jy and we claim him as one of our 9 grandchildren.

The rest of our children seem to be doing fairly well.   Everyone who lives with us here in Virginia (Dominyk, Jimmy, Wilson, and Salinda) is employed full time (or close to it) and we have developed a routine.  I am enjoying not commuting.

Kyle and Christy and their three children (Silas is now 6 and the twins are 3) continue to do well.  We enjoy visiting them and watching Kyle be a great dad to his kids.   It's a pure joy and blessing.

We visited John in jail a few weeks ago in MN -- he is anticipating release in August of 2020.  We hear from Tony regularly (he is in MN as well).   We don't hear from Mike and only occasionally from Ricardo.

At this moment in time (knock on wood) we are all fairly stable  and we are grateful.  We love our new home, our new church (we moved in June), and are finding ourselves at a more stable way of life.  Until the next thing happens :-)

So, what am I all worked up about today?   There are still too many of them.  There are still too many kids who are legally free for adoption and nobody is doing anything about it.

Where is the church in caring for these kids?  Even if someone isn't called to adopt or foster, God calls ALL of us to do something.

Check out this new resource I found out about....   It's called Care Portal and maybe your church would like to participate.  We are hoping to bring it to our region within the next year, but maybe you already live in a place where you can get your church involved.