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Senior Contributor

Re: Church Question

One way that could limit the free riders is to give notification of a youth party when a dirty job is finished. It motivates involvement and commitment since they will not know the details until the job is done. I've done my share of jobs, but I knew there would be a reward when I was through.

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Contributor

I apologize

I apologize if I brought up some bad feelings for you. I know our younger classes sometimes have attendence charts so they can be excited about coming back next week to get another star on the chart. I would hope that that was the other childs excitement but maybe not. You were there and I wasn't. Those people that seem to have gotten under your skin are no doubt not perfect. They will never know whether or not you forgive them. Personally I have had people in my life that made my blood boil also, unrelated to church. I have tried to forgive them for my own mental health but sometimes I find myself with those same old resentful feelings so I have to try again. Maybe one of these times I will get it right.

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Contributor

What do you think about this situation?

My younger two kids ride the school bus with a young man, he doesn't come from a very good place, on the bus he tries to roughhouse with the other boys and is lewd to the girls with sexually laden remarks etc. and has a hard time keeping his hands to himself.

 

Kids come home complaining about him and I tell them to just try and keep their distance and stay out of the drama.

 

DD goes up to youth group one evening and lo and behold there he is. The minister has invited him to join. He is sitting there like a cat who has just swallowed a canary and is really enjoying the attention that he is getting from the leaders.

 

DD comes home and tells us that he was there and that she is uncomfortable around him and doesn't feel comfortable going back to youth group. So now if she doesn't embrace him with open arms then he becomes the victim and she is the perpatrator. I call BS. This child [my daughter] was born with a guilty conscience. And while I understand the desire to help this young man, I don't feel that it should be at my daughters expense.

 

Maybe I'm just an arrogant jerk who doesn't grasp what I should do. I know that I sounded that way in my original post.

 

 

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Advisor

Re: What do you think about this situation?

Excerpts from what Cap said"kids ride the school bus with a young man, he  tries to roughhouse ... is lewd ... has a hard time keeping his hands to himself ... goes up to youth group one evening ... minister has invited him to join.  ... she is uncomfortable around him and doesn't feel comfortable going back to youth group."

 

Daughter should be concerned.  But by the same token, what if this young man's life could be turned around?  Maybe the youth group needs some more adult supervision and influence.  Maybe this young man who "doesn't come from a very good place" needs someone from a better place to show him direction.  I lead Jr Church (ages 3 to 6th grade) as well as help with a Jr High class. I know it can be difficult and uncomfortable. But changing people's lives is part of what being a Christian is all about.

 

The choices are be reactive (Did you see who is in that youth group?) or proactive (Young feller, do you enjoy going fishing?)  Which one do yo think will give God the most glory?

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Advisor

Re: What do you think about this situation?

To behonest, you did sound very "holier than thou." It greatly put me off, for one...let's just say it sounded WAY too familiar. 

The situation you describe is a difficult one.  I dealt with one young boy on a bus with my girls with similar problems.  He amde very threatening and sexually-laden remakrs to my girls and others.  He ended up with no ride to school at public expense for awhile, since his conduct violated several school policies.  Evidently, having to deal with him at home was enough of an inconvenience to make his parents finally exert soem discipline. 

My formal graduate education in School Law taught me that every child has to feel safe on school property, including on the bus, in order to learn.  Schools have had toi make policies ot address such incidents, since lawsuits have forced their hand, especially where sexual abuse is concerned. 

If it is a really importatn prolbem, you will follow thourhg with hanldignit, and if not, you won't.  If it isn't important enough to deal with five days a week, all day long, it isn't that big a deal on Sunday for an hour or so. 

Churches have not had to progress to this level of policy formation...being separate from the state.  Your overriding conference or other organizing organization in your faith  may have some formal policies to address such situations   It is certainly worth asking questions about this possibility.  Unless this is an independent congregation, if you have been a member of it for 18 years, you know the governing bodies, many of the policies and personnel, and their communications channels. 

Personally, I'd pursue the school connection  and his conduct in it,  to protect your children in a place where they HAVE to be. If he is using lewd language and placing his hands on female students, then he needs to be dealt with immediately.  Again, either it really is a concern, or it's not. 

Find out if the church has any policies to address this type fo concern.  There were boys who grew up in our church who had similar personality flaws...we girls just knocked the crap out of them, and they stopped. 

To me, the worst thing that happens is that you skip a few services and Sunday school classes until he gets tired of the novelty of things.  He will either slip up, or he will learn better and fit in.  Churches are like family in the respect that you do not usually get to choose who is at the table when you get there for an event. 

You other obvious choice is to take on chaperoning the youth group, and watch his tailfeathers like a hawk.  More than one way to skin any cat....

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Senior Contributor

Re: Church Question

I have not took time to read all the post, but I have been active in a church for 55 years. I did not go one time in 2010, I told myself I had to much going on. What a mistake. I started 2011 in church, will it make 2011 a better year, not sure, but for me I am so glad to be back. I know the people in church are not perfect, but I know they will be there if I need them. I am so glad to have my faith to help me with this crazy world. We also have children that come on nights just to eat, but after all if we can help, that's what we are there for.  I just hope that our church would welcome any child, any time.

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Advisor

Re: I apologize

You do not need to apologize to me...I was not the one offended by the nasty kid, my very young daughter was...ans it was NOT a "look at all my stars" thing, it was a "look at how many Sundays you haven't come to church!"   Well, if that little snot-monster can count to however many Sundays are in twenty years, it's been at least that many since we've bothered with that place. 

Her mother and grandmother were exact genetic and social matches for her in terms of having a lack of grace.  Grandma told me when I was nine, and she was my Sunday school teacher, that my fathre was going to Hell for raising tobacco.  Nice, huh? That did not keep her and her family from moving into our basement uninvited every time there was a storm warning, though, keeping my family up all night, regardless of our school or work the next day.   

It takes distance to see soemthing clearly.  Whenever I've separated from an organization - which has been relatively rare - I eventually ask myself why I wasted so much time and energy there. 

I will say two things about this situation at hand, though: I would have my own eyes on this one until yoiu know if it's safe for the girls, or being exaggerated.  You started talking about "drama" and now clarify that  you evidently meant sexual harassment.  I do not use 'drama' as a eupheminsm for sexual abuse.. 

 Say what you mean to start with, please...makes it much simpler for peole to know what color horse we are talking about from Square One.  As you can see, most of the board regulars took it the same way I did from yoru first post. 

Probably also a good moment to teach your girls how to get rid of unwelcome attention..it is a skill they will need in college and the world of work, if not much sooner.  Statistics say that one iin four America is the victim of rape.  Maybe this is "God' s way" of warning you to prepare to avoid that in your family.  Better to know how to disable a jerk and not need it, than to need it and not know how. 

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Re: Church Question...I actually prayed over my response

As a "cradle" Catholic I might bring a slightly different perspective to this discussion.  

 

I see your situation as one that offers an opportunity for incredible personal growth in your faith journey.  You have a wonderful opportunity to teach the children who are blessed to be raised with good values and morals and families that not everyone is blessed as they have been.  There is an opportunity for gratitude.   

 

THey can learn to recognize the gifts of the Holy Spirit that they can share with these less fortunate kids.  Because they are Christians, they have been given the gifts of wisdom, understanding, good judgement, reverence, courage and fear of the Lord.   They can model and share these gits with the other kids.  Kids who may not have them modeled in their home life.  There is an opportunity to truly live their faith. 

 

They can begin to see these other kids as children of God, created in His image and likeness.  If they look hard enough, they can see the face of Jesus in each of the new kids.  They are called by Christ to model Christian behavior to those who don't.  That is what being a Christian means!  There is an opportunity to show compassion and justice. 

 

You can love the sinner even if you hate the sin!  I would go so far as suggest that when they see these kids acting in ways that are not in line with their Christian values that they PRAY FOR THEM instead of condemming them.  They don't have to join into bad behavior but they could practice what they preach and PRAY for them.  If they truly have faith, then they must believe that God can move the hearts of the "bad" children. 

 

Adult leaders have an obligation to make all children welcome.  If they are going to recruit these other kids into a youth group, they have an obligation to show leadership in creating an atmosphere of inclusion and respect.  I remember putting my 14 year old daughter on a bus to Steubenville for a Catholic Youth Leadership Conference many years ago.  When I looked around the group of kids boarding the bus I saw very few who resembled my white middle class daughter.  I was nervous but she was the one with the open mind.  She was the one who gained so much from the experience.  She was the one who saw the face of Jesus in kids very different from herself.  How humbled I was when I saw how she grew in faith from the experience. 

 

I would encourage your church to open its arms and hearts to these kids.  Make sure the adults keep activities safe and wholesome for all.  So what if they only come for the party or the meal.  When they are in the company of your good kids, they are not out doing something harmful.  When they are surrounded by your good kids they will have wonderful role models to emulate.  And guess what?  As your good kids begin to see the face of Jesus in these kids, THEY will become better Christians.  Your kids stand to gain a whole lot more from including them than they will gain from turning away from them.

 

Remember, Jesus said that "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me."

 

 

 

 

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Re: Church Question...I actually prayed over my response

I hesitate to reply because I fear I have said too much already.  But I see a couple very different situations I want to address. 

 

Kay has had a church experience that I suspect may have been somewhat common.  The more inward looking a congregation becomes the more you see the behavior she experienced.  Bouncing the other way you see folks with a "social gospel"  that is very inclusive and possibly more about doing good than doing right.  That probably deserves a much longer explantion than we can give it here.   I believe both are somewhat correct and somewhat in error.

 

On another forum we frequently refer to the fine line a salesman must walk in that group between sharing his knowledge and experience and blatantly promoting himself and his product. In the same way the members of a church must walk the narrow and difficult line between bringing others in and exposing the innocent to harm and danger.  This is not just an issue for the leadership or the parents.  It is a responsibility for everyone in the church. it presents several issues that need addressed.

 

At the risk of side-tracking the thread let me get very personal for a bit.  I think I can tie this together.

 

20 years ago we had a young man attending our church entirely on his own. His background was really non-church.  His family typically moved 2-3 times during a school year.  His mom's current husband at the time was not a lot older than he was.  it was a very disfunctional family.  he was attending church, he got his personal appearance cleaned up, became a member of our church about age 19,  he did a few odd jobs for me, I thought he was making progress.  his family moved again and we kind of lost contact for a while.  The next thing I knew he was arrested for ... I'll just say sexual misconduct with a minor and avoid all the details.  He ended up spending abut 17 years in prison.

 

Fast forward 20 years, he has paid his debt to society, he is back in the community.  He is having trouble finding a job (high school drop out with a sexual predator record, imagine that), living in a camper on some rural property a family member owns, living veryhand to mouth.  And he desires to come worship with us

 

It has been the topic of a lot of quiet discussion.

 

How does a church respond to a need like this?  How does it respond to the kid from a poor family environment needing guidance? Looking from a long ways out I see how the situation Cap finds his family and church in to be very similar to the situation our church finds itself in.  If we had done a better job of caring for the kid the man might not be in this situation.  But we want to protect your daughter as well.

 

The Bible tells us the believers were known for their love.  The solution is we are going to have to be some men who are willing to demonstrate their love by taking time to be active in the youth activities, to be willing to spend one on one time with the kids involved especially the ones with a good background.

 

As for our problem, the preacher and elders talked with him.  It is not for us to say someone can't worship God,and it is not for us to say someone cannot be redeemed.  But he has to know that because of his past sa lot of opportunitities to serve are not open to him and he will be watched carefully.

 

I better pause here and let everyone catch up.  This could go on for days.

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Re: Church Question...I actually prayed over my response

Precisely, mike!  This young man needs some MENtors, guys who will give him a short rein and sufficient oversight.   

If he's involved with a typical youth group with moms as sponsors, he is not going to get the supervision and role modelling he needs, and that the other kids-especially the girls - need for their protection. 

The male attention will either work and help him, or he will get gone. 

I will say this:  Kids now can have way worse propblems than we ever imagined in our younger days.  There is so much porn- some of it very violent - and sexually-deviant material available right at the keyboard now.  It is way too overstimulating, and confuses young people without adults helping them to set proper boundaries. 

When general society operates on an "anything goes" principle, there are going to be conflicts like the one that started this thread. 

As for my experience and the attendance issue...I always realized that peopel talked trash about families that didn't attend every Sunday.  My family all had the best attendance in the congregation...and I think it was a lot because they knew that if you didn't show up, everyone who did gossiped about you.

Like I said, a great, spiritually-enlightened bunch!

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