Monday, March 14, 2011

Have you ever had "Whupping?" Did mom go to jail?

Have you ever received a whupping with an extension cord?

We don't say, "Whipping" because that conjures slavery flashbacks, but whupping reflects on punishments received with the purpose of helping us as we matured.

Our memories of whuppings differ.

Many who have lived a few years can remember whuppings with extension chords, switches, fan belts and razor straps. It was just an understood rule that the consequence of breaking a family rule could mean stiff punishment using one the above or a long of others that could also be added to the list.

It's cultural thing, I guess, because very few on our side of the track called whuppings child abuse, even if was with an extension cord.

Last week a Monroe woman, Stephanie Banks, was arrested for cruelty to a juvenile after she gave her teen aged daughter a whupping with an extension cord. It appears that the daughter ignored her mother's rule about staying out late. When the daughter came home around near midnight to their 103 Georgia Street home, she met the extension cord.

In response, the daughter called the police, and the mother was arrested after police saw marks on the daughter's arm and chest. There is no doubt that sparks will fly on Georgia Street once mama gets out of jail, especially after mom had to post a $3000 bail, will lose work time going to court, and may pay fines of several hundreds of dollars.

Suddenly, mama becomes the victim and the disobedient daughter gets to watch the woman who birthed her carried off to jail. There is no punishment available for the disobedient teen.

Many in our culture have our definitions of cruelty; extension cord whuppings of tough, defiant, children rarely make the list. What is cruelty? Burning a child with a cigarette, nearly smothering a child with a plastic bag, holding a child's head in a toilet and forcing them to drink are examples of some real cases that went overboard. These methods are called cruelty even on our side of the track.

Laws have changed, but our culture has been slow to adopt the changes. We still follow what we learned in church when we heard the preacher read, Proverbs 13:24 that says, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

In our culture it is still believed that parents who love their children must chastise them. If talking to them and taking away privileges don't work, then they use methods that are proven to work.

Many are having difficulties understanding why parents are punished for cruelty for punishing unruly children, but are also punished for neglect if they don't discipline them.

Many have chosen to err or the side of correcting wayward children, even if that means going to jail. Many have heard mama say, "I brought you into this world, I will take you out." -It was a threat made in love, that didn't mean mama would kill her children, but that she would do anything necessary to keep them safe and alive, even if she had to use tough methods that might land her in jail.

One part of our cultural practice has changed however; modern switch and extension cord mamas are learning new techniques to side step the law. It gets tough to prove what mama did if there are no marks. So, the modern extension cord mama has learned to --make sure the marks don't show.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Is today, it's OK to sin day?

Is there a day of the year that a person can live wild, loose and crazy and God will look the other way? Some believe today is that day, it's called Fat Tuesday or in French Mardi Gras.

As the Catholic church spread around the world it encountered many wild customs that were traditional. Some included drunkenness, sexual orgies, nakedness, provocative dancing, costumes, masks, and revelrie, all performed in the open.

No matter how much the church spoke against it, the people did it anyway, so the church decided to try to put limits on all the wickedness it encountered. To remain blessed, believers were allowed to party wildly as long as they waited until after the Christmas Holidays and stopped before Ash Wednesday which begins the 40 days of lent leading up to Easter.

So, people who live in areas with a heavy Catholic influence celebrate Mardi Gras-They party hard from January up to Ash Wednesday (which changes each year). They cry out Laissez les bons temps rouler" which is French for Let the good times roll. Very few church leaders speak against it because "he who speaks against a party OK'd by God must be of the devil."

Today, is the last day before the party stops. It's called Fat Tuesday -There will be more parties, drinking, public lewdness and sexual activity, homosexual and lesbian displays, and public nakedness than the eye can see. Police officers will look the other way, unless someone is physically threatened.

Church leaders won't speak against it, in fact if you look in the crowd many church leaders, pastors, deacons and otherwise holy folks will be laughing, dancing and indirectly endorsing the activities with their presence.

Tomorrow it all stops. Catholic churches will be filled with believers who will attend special worships to get ashes placed on their foreheads. For the next 40 days they will give up something they like, such as coffee, colas, or sweets to do penance for all of the sins they knowingly committed during Mardi Gras.

After that, they will return to their regular lives, frowning on public drunkenness, homosexuality, wild parties, lewdness and ungodly activities. Until next year, anyone who does most of things that are allowed today will be arrested for disgraceful displays of unlawful activity.

Those who are not Catholic or not Christians at all, watch at a distance and probably think God is a conflicting deity. He condemns wild living most of the time, but then gives everyone a free one-day pass, if they give up something for 40 days.

Somehow, I find it difficult to picture Jesus, the apostles, or the millions of martyrs who died for the kingdom of God participating in, endorsing or supporting what appears to be a mockery of the faith.

Over the shouts of the Mardi Gras crowds I hear Galatians 6:7-8 which says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

A free chicken sandwich did the trick

A free chicken sandwich did the trick.

This week a new branch of Chick-fil-A opened in our city. To promote the opening the branch went to many businesses and with bags of chicken sandwiches, fruit, sauces, potato nuggets and other assortments. Our staff waited for the catch; nothing is free without a catch, we said. To our surprise the company wanted to welcome us to their new branch and provided piping hot samples for everyone.

The samples were great. They were tasty and filling. They also achieved their purpose because the next day I was in line at the restaurant to get more. So were hundreds of others; the line wrapped around the corner.

What a way to promote a new business...give away samples to hundreds, order to reach thousands.

Doesn't God do that, too? It seems that every now and then God gives us a little sample of the heavenly life while we are here on earth. Those are the times that the weather is perfect, your health is fine, you are surrounded by friends with great food and entertainment. Those are the times when you pinch yourself and say, "It's almost like heaven."

Days like that are God's appetizers. When we get finger food blessings, its a precursor to larger blessings that will come. The appetizers make us want more; and there are millions just like us who want the same thing.

There is a bible passage in Psalm 34:8 that says, "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him."

I tasted the chicken sandwich and it drew me to the Chick-Fil-A front door. I've had a taste of God's blessing, too; it draws me closer to the front door of heaven!

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