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There is a story being shared on Facebook that is intriguing. Since the “local college” isn’t named I’m fairly certain that it isn’t a true story. The other flag is that I couldn’t find the original source quickly. But the perspective presented is thought provoking.

As I think about what is attempting to be said, I have to wonder if it might be possible that those who naturally work hard would care enough about themselves to work harder if they knew their work would make up for the slothful ones. Isn’t that what usually happens in a school or marketplace group project or athletic team? And if those hard workers truly cared about other people, as the Christ follower should, then shouldn’t the hard workers try to share their joy in working hard. After all, what are they working hard for? Is it really just so they can have more stuff? Stuff can disappear pretty quickly.

The best “rewards” (be they grades, money or a sense of living for something greater than yourself), in my opinion, don’t come from the result of our efforts – proof of that is in the guilt or embarrassment that often accompanies achieving something undeserved. The reward comes from the internal satisfaction of doing it because we are doing the right thing to the best of our ability. That is a peace that passes understanding every time. And it is a reward that every single human being can achieve. It might be a reward that neither idea of socialism nor capitalism can address. It goes beyond my understanding but when I experience it, it is far greater than a new car or a pat on the back or even doing my own thing to be comfortable. The tough part is not getting distracted by comparison with the results of others.

Here’s the story. What do you think?

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little..

The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that.

Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

  1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
  2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
  3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
  4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
  5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

It seems the final statements are the biggest flag that this is purely political against Obama rather than a true story or even intellectual debate over socialism verses capitalism.

When it comes to election campaigning messages, let’s try to think through ideas rather than just being for or against people and labeled concepts. Do you really want to make a difference? Challenge every message – even from those you plan to vote for. Try to see the possible outcomes that are not being pushed on you. In every statement, ask, is that true for all or is it just one possibility for those who think like you? Let’s encourage our leaders to think less about individual net worth and more about the net worth of mankind.

Instead of casting judgement on people we think are slothful or those we think are selfish materialist, let’s get to know them personally. Find out the deeper reasons why someone is out of work, homeless, in prison or just doesn’t contribute as we think they should. Find out why, deep down, the high-paid executive or the brainy kid in class seems to keep striving for more. I think we’ll find people are pretty much the same wherever they fall on the economic spectrum. We just can’t see all the options for ourselves or for others without getting to know each other personally.

Seek the peace and prosperity of the city…. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7

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“We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NLT

A plethora of thoughts continue to run through my mind with the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death. Some of what I read seems to be the reporting of a big win for a favorite football team. Others seem happy that an evil has  somehow been justified by the death of one man.

Is that what we are to call victory? If so, I guess I’m misunderstanding why Christ came.

I thought victory over evil occurred when Jesus, a perfect sinless man, was put to death and rose again. I thought the taste of victory was when good prevailed in the life of a person, not just when evil was crushed through their lifelessness.

There have been people throughout history who thought they were crushing evil to achieve victory. If I’m not mistaken, I believe there were several who hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001, who thought they were somehow crushing evil according to their religious beliefs.

Please don’t get me wrong, I find it difficult to mourn his death but I think there might be some who are alive who are mourning. Some who don’t see this is as a sporting event or a political action. And, yes, I recognize there are many  from our own country and allies of the US who have given their life to fight the evil. But the evil is not just in one man. How many deaths (friend or foe) will it take to conquer every evil person?

I know our military is necessary and I am so very thankful for those who serve. I strongly believe they and their families deserve far more than they receive. Because of the evil carried out in this world, we must fight people with deadly weapons. But that this not where the victory comes. It is not in death but in life. Isn’t it? I’ve not carried a military weapon or entered a war zone, but I imagine that most of those who do, do so for the sake of life not death. We may think that death of an evil person provides life but ultimately all people die (good and bad) and evil continues as much when a bad person dies as it does when a good person dies.

So, I think – I’m not sure on this but I think – that evil is destroyed by good. Honestly, I’m not sure what that looks like in political, global reality but I’m pretty sure Bin Laden’s death is not victory over evil. It’s just the death of an another destructive man. In God’s kingdom, I think that is a loss, not a win.

Go ahead, shoot me down. This is just my way of processing with you. May God continue to bless all of His creation with the patience that brings salvation.

For a more intellectual perspective, I recommend Nicholas Kristof –  http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/after-osama-bin-laden/?src=tptw

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he·do·nism: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life

Yesterday I posted a link on Facebook to an article titled Why Men Go To Prostitutes. The article came to this conclusion: “Learning that women were trafficked, pimped, or otherwise coerced would not be so effective” in deterring the men surveyed from buying sex but having their activities made known publicly would be a deterrent. So, I suggested that those convicted of buying sex have their pictures put in the newspaper like those who are charged with DUI in some areas I’ve lived.

The first response surprised me.

“DUI affects the public at large. Prostitution (via brothels and escort services) does not. Unless there is a detriment to the public at large, no need for a law to hurt legitimate business practices. Legalize brothels as they have in specific counties in Nevada and tax it as a business.”

My friend’s response assumes those providing the pleasure and those receiving the pleasure are adults with the mental/emotional ability to make decisions on what they consider pleasurable for themselves.

My initial comment to the article assumes the illegality of prostitution. His comment is a valid argument if legality of prostitution is the issue. I wasn’t expecting that type of response because in my mind there is a far greater issue than whether or not prostitution should be legal for consenting adults.

As with many issues argued in this country, we tend to argue results of actions rather than causes of actions. I’m beginning to think this must be due to the rampant acceptance of hedonism.

For example, I’ve never understood why we argue so much about abortion. The choice should come at the point of becoming pregnant, not after the result of sex. If we spent as much effort helping people understand consequences as we do trying to provide or argue solutions after the fact, I think we’d all be better off.

Human trafficking is another such issue. We can’t solve the problem of human trafficking simply by punishing the victims. By the way, there are much stronger laws in place (than a public picture) for those who receive profit or pleasure from sex with a minor.

Human trafficking is a broad issue. For this post I will focus on the element of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. I will not deny that there are a number of women and men who willingly prostitute themselves. I will not pretend to be able to think like one who finds pleasure in paying to have sex with a young person – and paying more if the child is very young.

As one author put it, you don’t hear little girls saying “I want to be a prostitute when I grow up.”  My guess for those who willingly sell sex, the money meets their needs but not their dreams. For some it may be a desperate matter of survival. And this is where we must ask again, when we argue for legalization of prostitution, what exactly are we arguing for?

What is the mindset of one who says if I want to have sex then I should be able to pay for it or if I want to make money I should be able to provide whatever pleasure a person is willing to pay for. The mindset is that “pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life.” How does that mindset affect the public at large?

The pleasure of hedonism is determined by the individual
With hedonism, each person is free to determine and receive the pleasure they desire – some might try to make this sound better by adding “as long as it doesn’t harm someone else.” But at what point do you know that it is harming someone else? How is “harm” defined? Only physical harm? What about emotional harm that isn’t obvious immediately? Is no harm done if they don’t know it is hurting them (see info on Stockholm Syndrome)?

The individually determined pleasure creates a society of distrust in the same way that most of us have encountered friends that are around only when it is pleasurable or beneficial for them. That is hedonism.

Hedonism emphasizes pleasure more than character

When pleasure overrides integrity, honesty, and hard work, our society becomes weak and unproductive. Do you know someone who fits this description? When enough individuals accept this mindset, the same result is reflected in society at large.

Hedonism is not containable
As much as we may want to act like we can live for pleasure in one area of our life but live with concern for others in another area, I don’t think it is possible. Nor can we say only certain people should have a specific pleasure while others should deny themselves of that same pleasure. Most of us may try to pull that off with our children by telling them we are allowed to do something because we are an adult but they aren’t allowed because they are too young. Without proper perspective of pleasure and goals, what does this teach them to look forward to as an adult?

Hedonism is never satisfied
This may be the greatest tragedy of hedonism. This is where the hedonism issue ties legalizing adult prostitution into minor sex trafficking. The mindset that believes life is about pleasure will always be looking for new pleasure and greater pleasures. The mindset that believes money brings pleasure or satisfies struggles, will always be looking for more money.

As my friend pointed out, Nevada has legalized prostitution in some counties. Las Vegas is not in one of those counties yet children under the age of 18 are trafficked into Las Vegas from 40 different states.

Legalizing a pleasure doesn’t make it safe. Legalizing a pleasure that is intended to build trust and intimacy between two life-long partners destroys families and creates a desire that is not safe for any of us.

Men seek prostitutes for a variety of reasons. The most common reason named was to satisfy an immediate sexual urge or for pleasure (32%), followed by a need for variety (21%), not having their needs met in their current relationship (20%), convenience (15%), the thrill (8%), and an addiction or compulsion (3%). (Why Men Go To Prostitutes, A New Study)

Pleasure as a goal will never satisfy. Pleasure that satisfies comes as a result of seeking good for all people. I personally have found the only way to do that is to trust in the one who created this world. Do you want to experience satisfying adventure? Participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” ~ CS Lewis

Additional Information
headonism
child victims of human trafficking
stockholm syndrome

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Operation Freedom

I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands. Psalm 119:166

My husband has inspired me to watch his favorite series, Band of Brothers. Earlier this week I attended a deployment ceremony for the 16th Engineer Brigade, Ohio Army National Guard. Perhaps these activities are why the verse above created a picture of a military unit in battle, ready to engage at the word of the commanding officer.

According to New Bible Dictionary (3rd edition, IVP), salvation’s “basic meaning is ‘bring into a spacious environment’ but it carries from the beginning the metaphorical sense of ‘freedom from limitations’ and the means to that; i.e. deliverance from factors which constrain and confine.”

One of the speakers at the deployment ceremony pointed out that every one of those men and women who were headed for Iraq had chosen to enlist or re-enlist since 9-11. Their goal is Operation Iraqi Freedom. Most likely none of them were born in Iraq or have any natural relationship to those who are suffering there. Yet they have volunteered to limit their own freedom for the purpose of providing “freedom from limitation” to the people of Iraq and ultimately the world.

I can’t help but picture Jesus in the same way.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8

Thank you to all soldiers – current, past, and future – who being in very nature a US citizen, did not consider your liberty here something to cling to, but made yourself soldiers and being found in appearance as such, subjected yourself to a potentially brutal death for the sake of freedom for all.

Thank you, Jesus, for choosing to be our commanding officer in Operation Humanity Freedom. May we each do our part to bring justice – freedom from limitations – both in the natural and supernatural world we live in today.

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“…to be able to minister to both sides of the problem, is the only way that this will ever end.” Season of Light

What’s bothering you today? Do feel you’ve been treated unjustly? Did someone cut you off in traffic? Did a friend or co-worker hurt your feelings, damage your ego? I invite you to check your priorities and attitudes as I have done today reading through the blog posts listed below.

Season of Light is one of my favorite bloggers on the issue of human trafficking. She has posted difficult to describe commentary of her trip to southeast Asia with Love146.

I suggest you read them in order (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3). They are lengthy and you will most likely need to take a break between posts to allow the emotional impact to settle. If you read them too quickly, you may become immune to what you are reading. Please don’t do that. But please do read all the way through them even if it takes you a few days.

Love146 Partnership Trip: Day 1
Love146 Partnership Trip: Day 2
Love146 Partnership Trip: Day 3

The reality for me is this, most of the stuff I get upset or stressed about in my daily activities is extremely insignificant. Whether it is combating human trafficking or making a decision on  a work or church project, the significant issue is not my perspective verses the other persons. The significance is working together with God to bring His kingdom (his reign – his way of doing things) right here, right now. That’s what Jesus did and if we profess to be Christ-like, that is what we are to do.
Our Father in heaven, forgive us for making such insignificant things a priority in our lives. Open our eyes to your kingdom here and now. May we do only what we see you doing so your reign will break through in the midst of This evil Age.

“your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

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Please read this Season of Light post. It is an extremely well written visual of a life many would like to ignore.

Jesus Christ gave up his divine life to walk among us, to change our life. Are we following His ways or are we choosing to remain in the comfort of our own self-fabricated “divine” life? Will you at least weep for the condition of mankind of which you are included?

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

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Check out these success stories on the Human Trafficking front. 


FBI, police rescue child prostitutes around U.S.

Together, we can make a difference.

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