Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kindess at the Checkout Counter

This was posted on a Yahoo group that I'm part of by a woman named Cath. It was originally in response to a younger military wife who has five children. The issue was that she was embarrassed at the commissary check out register because so many of the items that were WIC approved at the local Wal Mart were not okay at the commissary for some reason. Cath put out this post as a reminder to us all (and echoing the general support of this poor young wife) - I asked her if I could share her words here as we approach the holidays and as our economy continues to slide. Please share with others, so that all may be blessed.

(no pictures today while I am on a different computer - my laptop will be righted again soon as will my 2000 pictures therein!)

~ Melissa 

***And also this is a good reminder for those of us not in your situation
to POLICE OURSELVES. Stand up for the mom with a full cart, busy kids, and
a blur of coupons and/or WIC slips. They are not a nuisance, they are our
sisters in this military family. We should never get so old and comfortable
in our pay grades (which all started equally teensy) that we forget the
struggles of the early days of babies and military life. So how can I with
22 years in and kids who are 10 and over help?

Help a mom unload her cart. I get my kids to help the people behind us in
line often. Sometimes they have babies and busy kids, sometimes it's an
older person.

Help a mom engage a child in line. My oldest is a pro at playing peek-a-boo
with toddlers. She has even squatted down to floor level in long checkouts
and played finger games (itsy bitsy spider) to help keep the kid focused in

Compliment the mom! Do you remember how hard it is to carry a diaper bag,
chase a child with another one latched on nursing, and not lose your place
in line? Well, remember quick and offer the mom some loving affirmation.
Even or especially if she is doing an imperfect job! That mom whose
frustration level has her standing there yelling at her kids may well have
been up all night with a child throwing up and a husband deployed and the
rumblings of her own stomach getting the virus. Don't assume you know white
trash when you see it (or brown trash or Asian trash.....). You do not know
their life story but you can remember your own. Reach down into your soul
and affirm that girl: offer empathy, share warmth.

Reassure the person ahead of you in line with an issue that "it's just a
checkout line" and that you are in no hurry. EVEN IF YOU ARE IN A BIG HURRY
because ladies--- it's just a checkout line and scowling and muttering does
not make it go faster.

And finally, when you can, be generous. Last winter I was at the checkout
with a mom getting just bread, peanut butter, jelly, and milk. It didn't
even cross my mind that she was a WIC mom because she had a credit card.
Reading up on this, that is what Texas has is a card system. She must have
had the wrong bread or was at her bread limit or whatever -- I thought her
debit card was at its limit because she was handing the bread over to the
checkout lady to reshelve it. I butted in and said can I get that for you
and handed her a few dollars. For me it was no big deal. She hesitated and
I said, I would love to be able to help, I've been there, too. She looked
uncomfortable accepting but she did. If we can fund a federal government
program to support young families in need with our tax dollars, why can't we
also start even closer to home with our neighbors in the checkout line? We
can't always do this but when you can, people, be generous.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Christianity in Orthodox Countries?

I  haven't written in a while. Sometimes life gets in the way, and it has lately, but I aim to fix that. But I am also jumping on here quickly to Rant for a brief moment. 

I receive posts-by-e-mail of probably a dozen different blogs on various subjects: several "organizing" blogs, a few home school blogs, Thomas Jefferson education blogs, and, of course, several that are put out there as "ministries" of various kinds by Protestant women. I like some of what they write; in spite of having never met these women, I can say that they seem to be good and decent folk and I appreciate some of the points they make. However, one of the blogs I follow (and have only been following for a few months) has included a comment that hits a hot-button point for me. It is this:

(Note from the translator: In the Ukraine, there are two kinds of Christian… the orthodox church which is essentially pagan and just Christian in name only. The other kind is typically called “Believer” instead. There are only 0.4% Believing Christians in the Ukraine. To the Ukrainian being Christian reflects something on the outside but a believer is one who believes in Christ. Very Different Concepts. That is why there are very few believers in her school, even though Marina says 40% of people are Christians. There is a difference in the Ukraine between believer and Christian.)
She had done an interview of a 16-year-old girl in the Ukraine on her daily life as a Christian there, and this was a comment, as you can see, by the translator. Here is why it sticks in my craw:

I have heard many western Christian people talk about a need to go to traditionally-Orthodox countries and "teach" them about Christianity and "convert" them from their pagan beliefs. I have heard missionary types talk about how they need to "reach out" to the folks in Orthodox countries because "many of them have never heard of Christ." I respectfully (though adamantly) disagree. So I've responded to the blog post above (the rest of the interview was not worthless, so here is the original post) and share my response below - and open myself up for comment, question or criticism, as your own beliefs lead you to respond. I also see there is a need for more of my own posts to introduce Orthodox faith and practices down the line!

Here is my response:

To start with the positive, I want to say that I look forward to reading more interviews and sharing parts of the answers with my home schooled children. However, I must confess to being somewhat irritated. As an Orthodox Christian in America, I get tired of hearing people say that people in Orthodox churches in other countries (or even in our own country) are “pagan”. I have heard MANY Protestant folks talk about a need to go to these countries and “convert” them to Christianity, when they are practicing the Christian faith as the earliest Christians practiced that Faith. We are *not* pagans, our faith and love for God is real and abiding – at least as much as one finds in churches populated by humans everywhere, whatever your professed Christian following (Baptist, Catholic, ‘Non-denominational’, etc.) The thing of it is, because so few people know about Orthodox Christianity, they assume that because we use icons that we “worship” those icons (we don’t), because we have liturgical services (instead of services that are ‘non-scripted) that our prayers are not real or genuine (they are – and our use of ‘scripted’ prayers gives us a *starting* point for our own prayers), and on and on. I am fairly new to your blog and have enjoyed it thus far, but this is a sticky point for me because we do not need to be “converted,” we are Christian already. In fact, my husband and I were both raised in the Baptist church and the Church of Christ, respectively, and converted to Orthodoxy as adults after much research and travel – when going to Israel, the oldest churches look VERY much like the churches in which we Orthodox worship today, it is similar when traveling to Ethiopia – again, an ancient bed of Christianity.

I will not throw the baby out with the bath water; your interview here was an interesting one to read and I appreciate it, but had to address that one aspect and I hope you’ll forgive any offense if I have made any.

I'll make my own posts later about Orthodoxy, from my - still-being-educated - perspective.



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