Deathbed Conversions and Gumball Machines

If you haven’t read my previous Happy Monday post, please do, this one will make a whole lot more sense.

I know exactly how that stupid vending machine made it into the front of my store.

During the conquest of the Americas many missionaries were sent out to “civilize” the savages and bring them religion.  Some of the native people really went for the Jesus thing, some gave it lip service to save their butts, and some didn’t buy into any of it.

But as some folks who were less than impressed by Christianity approached death, they would ask to see the priests and convert moments before expiring. While this pumped up the stats of the church, I’m guessing that most of the deathbed converts were merely hedging their bets on the afterlife.

It does make sense to cover all of your bases.  The Pagan Gods tended to be forgiving of their peers, and only asked that they be paid tribute in the areas they were responsible for.  Even when the Christian God laid down the law, he asked only that no other Gods go before him.  So waving the spiritual giant foam finger at the Christian God in final overtime probably made a whole lot of sense.

While the Pagan Gods still have their followers, most folks are more into the things that have replaced them these days.  You know, money, success, standing in the community, doing your own thing.  Even though most folks don’t have a God for these things anymore, they tend to ignore the Christian God in order to pursue them.  I don’t think they think much about it, until they fear that their soul might be in some peril.  All in all, the number of deathbed conversions hasn’t suffered much over the years.

I’ve always found deathbed conversions to be ass kissy and tacky.  I’m perfectly willing to go into the great beyond with all of my doubts worn honestly.  I’m not going to beg to be invited to a party that I’m not dressed for.

I’m guessing that it’s mainly fear that motivates last minute conversions.  I’m sure they see it as fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of eternal damnation.  Legitimate fears I suppose, if you believe in that kind of thing. I have a hard time thinking a last minute apology is ever going to make up for all the stuff that leads to those fears, but some still try.

Even waiting until the last minute, presumably after all your deeds are behind you, can still lead to trouble.  These things aren’t exempt from the no good deed goes unpunished clause.  Attempts at getting the Lord on your side can complicate things with the very folks you fear you’ve hurt, that lead to all this ass kissing in the first place.

Take orphans for example.  Helping them out would seem to be a good way to get back in good with the man upstairs.  And as long as you really don’t have to do anything, well more is the better.  No need to check anything out, just do your good deed and get spiritual brownie points. Easy.

Well, maybe not.

While spiritual matters are mainly the concern the individual and whatever God they are working with, I think that how ones actions effect others probably come into play.  I’m certain not even thinking about how your actions will effect others come into play.  That might even earn you demerits.

I have no doubt that this is a difficult thing to understand for those who see everything in black and white, or good and evil, but it’s something to think about.  Thinking about things is hard, some just won’t go to the trouble.  That makes me sad and explains the gumball machine.

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Happy Monday From the Southern Baptist Convention

I got a good nights sleep last night, felt well, and was looking forward to a typical day at work. I should have known it wasn’t going to happen. Mondays are never typical days at work. I had taken Saturday and Sunday off, leaving the store in the hands of my a-dad. As my regular readers know, he’s not typical. Guess what I found?

Yep, Buster is pretty scary, after getting over the initial horror of the machine itself,  I read the label on his belly.

Proceeds from this vending unit benefit SONRISE CHILDREN’S HOME and MEDICINE VALLEY COMMUNITY CHILDREN’S MINITRY.  For more information call 660-673-6023

Who are these people?

Sonrise Children’s Home is this outfit…

http://www.seethesonrise.org/

Mission statement is as follows…

Sonrise Children’s Home is a non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.  We were formed by a group of Christians that saw a need and believed God to use them to meet that need.  This non-denominational entity is operated by a Board comprised of Christian men and women who love God and want to please Him.

The number of children in the foster care system is on the rise while homes are limited.  Consequently, children are being placed hundreds of miles from their families, making reunification difficult.  They are growing up with insecurities as they are relocated to unfamiliar surroundings and often being separated from brothers and sisters during one of the most difficult times in their lives.

The mission of Sonrise Children’s Home is to provide children with a safe, secure, loving environment to grow and develop good moral character, to provide a moral compass through a relationship with God, and to be self disciplined in order to become a productive member of society through a model of Jesus Christ.

We must provide for the physcial need of the child with a safe, secure, and loving home.

We must give the child an opportunity to grow and develop good moral character.

We must provide a place where work ethic and responsibility are learned.

We must be good stewards and provide for God’s hurting children

We must model Jesus Christ and show the hurting children God’s love for them.

Ok, it’s a foster placement facility, that relies way too much on Jesus and discipline for my taste.  The thing is, as far as I knew it was shut down.  So I did some checking, and it’s reopening..

http://republican-times.com/modules.php?sid=18927&thold=0&order=0&file=article&name=News&op=modload

I was never sure why the place shut down in the first place, but I’m thinking it didn’t do a lot to ” provide children with a safe, secure and loving environment”, being thrown into another foster placement and all.

Oh course they aren’t going to worry about the effects of multiple foster placements when they have the Lord’s work to do.  I’m betting they aren’t going to want anybody else to think about it either, especially when they are raising money.  Besides, there’s a whole new group of children who need to know Jesus’ discipline, if they like it or not.  And, they have a gumball machine.  God only makes nightmarish gumball machines available to deserving charities.

I did take a look at their 990 filings, the last of which was in 2007, and can be pretty sure that the reason wasn’t money, as of the last filing available they were still very much in the black.  Did they lose their management?  Did they have logistical problems? Did they just get tired of it?  I don’t know.  All I do know is that any children they had in their care at the time were thrown into yet another foster situation.  That ain’t good.

And is this Medicine Valley Community Ministry? According to official sources, the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, Guidestar, Charity.net, they don’t exist.  I’m not sure how they are soliciting donations.  I can’t tell that they do anything at all other than raise money. They do seem to be tied up with this bunch though….

http://www.northgrandriverbaptist.com/index.php

Who don’t seem to support anything but their own social gatherings, and a bookstore.

And they seem to be very close with these folks who we all know….

http://www.sbc.net/default.asp

Yep, the Southern Baptist Convention.  They seem to think that adoption is a mission….

http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=1194

Seems that they want to create an adoption culture.

Great.

I’ve got a gumball machine supporting a children’s home that I’m not even sure is open, or is going to stay open for any amount of time, and a ministry that doesn’t exist, scaring the heck out of children of all ages, with a gumball machine in the front of my store.  Oh happy Monday.

I guess I have a phone call to make.  Several phone calls.

I’ll keep you posted.

Update: I’ve just found this letter from a local paper dated September 23rd 2008, explaining the reason for the closure.  It seems that they closed down after taking in just one child.  Considering they have raised tens of thousands of dollars in the last few years, I find this very disturbing.  Combine that with the inability to find personnel and I feel that they shouldn’t be fostering children at all.  Their priorities seem to be much more about pleasing God than actually ever taking care of children.

In the effort of keeping the surrounding communities informed, we want to update you on the progress and setbacks with the Sonrise Children’s Home. On August 18th we welcomed our first child to the Sonrise Children’s Home. A very monumental day for all that has been involved since the conception. We give God all the praise and glory. It has been wonderful to see this building become the home for a child in need.
To our regret, we received a resignation notice from our house parents with a month’s notice. We are currently searching for new house parents. Unfortunately due to the current circumstances, we will have to close the home until we hire and train new house parents.
Although this has been a disappointing setback to all, we need your prayers and help more than ever. The only way the Children’s Home will be able to protect and nurture the children from the surrounding area is by your support. We will press on with our fall fundraisers and look at new fundraisers to help our income. We are seeking counsel from other children’s homes on how to bet-ter raise funds, organize and operate the home. We understand the challenges ahead, but we serve a great God. We will work hard to do our part so there will be children back in the home soon. The rest we will leave up to our Redeemer and Sustainer, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Terry Busker
Sonrise Children’s Home
Board President


What The Hell Was Going On?

Joy’s post about foster care got me thinking.  I was in foster care too, but I was with my adoptive parents.  I was about 2 weeks old when they took me home from the hospital on a trail basis.

I had known that I was a ward of the state until my adoption was finalized when I was 2, but I had not known it was a “trail adoption” until recently when my a-mother mentioned it.

What the fuck is a trail adoption?

A-mom really didn’t know.  That’s just what the social worker had told them.  They were pretty much under the impression that I was with them to stay.

I don’t know the date of my relinquishment.  All I have are my adoption papers and they only mention that my first mother had given up parental rights at an earlier date.  Not what date.

What the hell was going on for those 2 years?

Had I been relinquished immediately after I born?  Was I not relinquished until later?  Was my relinquishment voluntary?  Was I removed from my first mother because she was judged to be incapable of caring for me?

Were the concerns with my adoptive parents?  Had they not decided if they wanted to adopt me?  Did the state have concerns about their fitness as adoptive parents?

Was there some concern for my health? Were there questions about my mental fitness?  What?

I’d really like to know.

If the state hadn’t placed me, and I had grown up in foster care, I would be able to know these things.  But since I turned out to be a healthy little thing that somebody decided to keep, they won’t tell me.  As far as the state is concerned I’m a different person than the baby they were responsible for.  The foster child ceased to exist when I was adopted.

I ceased to exist.  I didn’t die.  I didn’t change.  I just ceased to exist.

That’s a pretty good trick, being able to make a person disappear.  Anything at all could have happened, then it’s all just gone.  Like it never happened.

But it did happen.  It happened to me.