QUESTION: Nations are divided politically and there are wars and terrorism all over the planet. I think these things are happening because of a deterioration of faith and trust in God. The Bible tells us Jesus healed because of his faith and he said, “These things and greater ye shall do,” and yet, no one is doing those greater things.
Is religion so watered down that most people have lost touch with the Kingdom of God within? What would it take for faith and trust to be renewed for the citizens of Planet Earth and Peace on Earth to be a reality?
~ God Loving Grandmother
Dear God-Loving Grandmother,
I feel [for] you. We talk about these issues in our weekly Bible groups often, but it usually takes the form of “I remember when I was a kid…” I think if we look at this issue more historically and globally, we might not get quite so depressed. The fact is, when Jesus roamed Israel, he led but a modest group of disciples and his inner circle was only 12. Both religious and civil leaders did their very best to eradicate early Christianity, and they crucified its namesake.
Spring forward two millennia, and Christianity has become the number one religion on the planet, with a couple billion claiming the faith. That’s “billions!” Now Jesus healed lepers, cast out demons, and raised the dead (including Himself). You can’t do any “greater” thing than that, if you mean, to out-miracle God-incarnate. Jesus meant greater things in “quantity,” and that has been fulfilled in spades, yet we still suffer political conflicts and so it shall be till the Second Coming. Remember, Jesus said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed” (Mat 24:6 NIV). Also, there are five billion other people globally who want nothing to do with Jesus, and they and we both are all infected with sin.
There was a time when I think America felt more inclined to Jesus and unfortunately we are seeing a watering down and deterioration of that important part of our cultural blessing. But our loss is another’s gain; if we look toward Asia we see the Kingdom of God growing like wildfire; the same in South America and Africa.
If the U.S. no longer sees itself as a Christian nation, then perhaps God doesn’t either. But He’s got the whole world in his hands. Trust that.
Rev. Bryan Griem
Montrose Community Church
Dear God Loving Grandmother,
I understand your frustration in seeing the divisions, wars and terrorism around our world. I can agree with you that you feel there are deteriorations of faith and trust in God in the lives of many, especially, in our nation. We are truly living in a broken world as a broken people.
However, I believe churches are pressing on doing the “greater things” that Jesus talked about. Gospel had spread to far more distances now than it was in Jesus’ time. The history making that the church has participated in is far greater than His time here on earth.
In around 400 A.D., the church built the first hospital. It was a place where those who could not take care themselves were looked after. Today, we are the largest single provider of healthcare in the history. The church was also first to stand up for the rights of children creating the first and largest orphanage system in the world. The church has influenced our education, arts and music and we continue to participate in shaping the culture of this world. Every day, the church brings food and water to millions of people across the world. We stand passionately to help orphans and widows, we fight for the justice to free slaves in every corner of the world. We are there for relief victims of disasters as the first respondent. We, the church, are doing “greater things” in this world here and now than Jesus’ time.
Our work continues on for it is far from being done. Yes, there are Christians who have lost touch with the Kingdom of God and need renewal in their relationship with God. I believe that we Christians need to remember the grace of God and return back to our Lord in repentance. Worldly pleasures, modern idols and selfish interests are greater in them and have blinded their spiritual eyes. As God repeatedly spoke to the Israelites to repent and turn from sinning, we must do the same – put God first in everything that we do and ground ourselves in the living Word of God and “follow them carefully.”
And this will have to start somewhere. I think that’s you, God loving grandmother! Then, each little light of ours will soon spread to brighten this world.
From another God Loving Mom
Rev. Elaine Cho
United Methodist Church
QUESTION: We have a great family – there is just a glitch that really bothers me. My wife is the perfect wife and mother. She keeps our house nice and clean, cooks nutritious meals, joins us in family events like our son’s little league games and our daughter’s dance recitals; however, every bit of free time she has is spent playing video games. Now I’m aware of teenagers spending a lot of time on those kinds of things, but an adult woman with a family and children??
Although she is a stay-a-home mom, for now, she had a college degree and plans to go back to work when our children are out of high school and attending college. I’m concerned that she is wasting her intelligence.
I do nag her about her obsession with video and computer games. Am I wrong?
~ Family Man
Dear Family Man,
First of all, I’m glad you love and appreciate your wife. Many men do not, I’m sorry to say. Now about those video games … this is a generational thing I think and, since I’m of an older generation, I cannot figure the addictive attraction of those things! I think I’ve played video games once or twice, perhaps in a penny arcade when those electronic amusements were not yet called video games. I remember when my 40-year-old nephew was hooked on those things some 25 years ago, and I couldn’t figure what the attraction was then, either.
But to your perceived problem … as long as your wife still continues to be the good wife that you say she is, let her have her fun. My wife works, but when she’s home sick or just taking a “mental health” day off, she watches her favorite (and only!) soap opera and I used to kid her about that interest. But not anymore. If my wife likes the soaps and your wife likes video games, what’s the problem? It may irritate you, and I agree with you that it’s a waste of time – but if it’s how she chooses to recreate (ever notice how “recreation” is spelled? “re-creation”), that’s her choice, not yours.
Now after your kids are in college and if she is still addicted to video games and doesn’t go back to work as planned, write the paper another letter and I’ll have a more severe comment! But right now, let her have her fun.
The Rev. Skip Lindeman
Dear Family Man,
Your wife is really holding up her end of the deal in your family as far as taking care of all by cooking, cleaning, shopping and participating in those things that the children need support in. That is a great deal to be thankful for and I am sure her efforts are appreciated, at least by you her husband.
You did not mention your personal relationship. Does she play these games when you are wishing for couple time together? Is there some way that you are feeling personally cheated by her zealous love for the video? Have you given up some activity you loved to support and care for your family, which would intensify your resentment? Is your wife unavailable to connect with you or the children due to the games?
As far as wasting her intelligence, she is keeping certain parts of her brain extremely active in this pursuit. True, it isn’t feeding her knowledge of words and concepts.
Surprise! Your wife fits a growing demographic of those obsessed with video games. In fact, game makers have targeted women with colorful candy crushing games and the like.
You admit to nagging her to stop. This is not a great way to end her obsession; in fact it might be a great way to perpetuate it because it makes the pleasure she receives into a guilty pleasure that is even more enticing.
Perhaps you could approach her by asking for what you need in the moment. If she is gaming and you want to talk with her, you might say, “Hey darling, meet me in the kitchen in 10 minutes. I am making tea and cookies and I want to be with you.” What wife could resist that sweet offer? If tea and cookies aren’t your thing, feel free to substitute anything that will work in the context of your life.
Think hard about what you are missing and why this upsets you so much. Try to be proactive to reclaim the things you are missing as a result of her gaming by bringing them sweetly and positively into your life. Instead of trying to correct this “glitch,” offer alternatives that will enhance your life together making it much more satisfying for all of you.
Rabbi Janet Bieber
Jewish Community and Learning Center of the Foothills