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On Watch in Washington June 18, 2014

On Watch in Washington June 18, 2014  Plain Text PDF Version

HIS LAND, OUR LAND CONFERENCE  JUNE 26 – 29

His Land, Our Land conference at The Inn featuring speakers Lance Lambert & David Kubal June 26 – June 29 at the newly renovated and air-conditioned Christian Training Center International. Join us for this pivotal event in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Franklin, North Carolina. Contact phone number for more details (828) 524-5741.

Visit us on the web:  www.lifeisrelationships.com/

 

 

U.S. ORDERS EVACUATION OF MANY EMBASSY WORKERS FROM BAGHDAD

The American Embassy in Baghdad plans to evacuate a substantial number of its personnel this week in the face of a militant advance that rapidly swept from the north toward the capital, the State Department announced on Sunday.

The embassy, a beige fortress on the banks of the Tigris River within the heavily secured Green Zone, where Iraqi government buildings are also situated, has the largest staff of any United States Embassy.

The exact number of people being evacuated from Baghdad — the American government prefers to say they are being “relocated” — was not disclosed. But the embassy will remain open, and most of its staff will remain, according to the State Department.

The United States has a staff of about 5,500 at the embassy and at two consulates in the north and south of Iraq.

“Some additional U.S. government security personnel will be added to the staff in Baghdad; other staff will be temporarily relocated — both to our consulate generals in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman,” Jordan, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“Over all, a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place, and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission,” Ms. Psaki added.

An American military official said that fewer than 100 Marines and other military personnel had arrived in Baghdad to reinforce the embassy’s security. The embassy staff members who are being evacuated are leaving on charter aircraft or commercial flights. But the military has planes available if necessary, the Pentagon said.

Other Americans in Iraq, particularly contractors working for companies that had been training the Iraqi military on weapons systems purchased from the United States, have already left.

Last week, in quick fashion, militants seized control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and then moved south. But over the weekend, their advance seemed to slow.

In response to the crisis, President Obama has said he is weighing a range of actions to help the Iraqi government turn back the insurgents, including airstrikes and other military aid.

This year, when insurgents captured Falluja and other parts of western Anbar Province, the American government rushed guns, ammunition and Hellfire missiles to aid the Iraqis, but it has done little to stop the militants.

As American forces left Iraq at the end of 2011, the State Department planned to significantly increase its diplomatic presence in the country by establishing several fortified embassy branch offices defended by private security guards.

The Obama administration soon reconsidered those ambitions, chiefly because of the cost and feasibility. The consulates in Basra and Erbil remained open; another, in Kirkuk, was phased out; and a proposed outpost in Mosul was never opened.

After the troops left, only a small number of military personnel remained as part of an office of security cooperation at the embassy. They oversee a weapons sales program and provide limited mentoring for Iraqi forces. (Contributor: By Tim Arango and Michael R. Gordon for The New York Times)

IFA’s ministry is to encourage prayer and intercession, not to engage in political analysis. In sending these alerts, we know we are serving intercessors who are “on watch,” those who know how to read “the signs of the times” and how to pray. Only in very serious situations does the Department of State order embassy personnel to be evacuated. Clearly, this indicates escalating trouble and danger, and so we must pray. “Father God, work out your purposes, so that men and women will call on the name of the Lord and be saved.”

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

IRAQI CHRISTIANS FLEE HOMES AMID MILITANT PUSH

Over the past decade, Iraqi Christians have fled repeatedly to this ancient mountainside village, seeking refuge from violence, then returning home when the danger eased. Now they are doing it again as Islamic militants rampage across northern Iraq, but this time few say they ever want to go back to their homes.

The flight is a new blow to Iraq’s dwindling Christian community, which is almost as old as the religion itself but which has already been devastated since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. During the past 11 years, at least half of the country’s Christian population has fled the country, according to some estimates, to escape frequent attacks by Sunni Muslim militants targeting them and their churches.

Now many of those who held out and remained may be giving up completely after fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant swept over the city of Mosul and a broad swath of the country the past week.

“I’m not going back,” said Lina, who fled Mosul with her family as the militants swept in and came to Alqosh, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the north.

“Each day we went to bed in fear,” the 57-year-old woman said, sitting in a house for displaced people. “In our own houses we knew no rest.” Like other Christians who fled here, she spoke on condition she be identified only by her first name for fear for her safety.

In leaving, the Christians are emptying out communities that date back to the first centuries of the religion, including Chaldean, Assyrian and Armenian churches. The past week, some 160 Christian families — mosly from Mosul — have fled to Alqosh, mayor Sabri Boutani told The Associated Press, consulting first on the number with his wife by speaking in Chaldean, the ancient language spoken by many residents.

Alqosh, dating back at least to the 1st century BC, is a jumble of pastel-painted homes nestled at the base of a high craggy hill among rolling plains of wheat fields. The village’s population of 6,000 is about half Christian and half ethnic Kurds. Located just outside the autonomous Kurdish zone of northern Iraq, Kurdish fighters known as peshmerga have moved into the town to protect it.

Many Christians are deciding that the comparatively liberal and prosperous Kurdish regions are their safest bet.

“Every Christian prefers to stay in Kurdistan,” said Abu Zeid, an engineer. He too said he wouldn’t be going back to Mosul.

“It’s a shame because Mosul is the most important city in Iraq for Christians,” he added. Mosul is said to be the site of the burial of Jonah, the prophet who tradition says was swallowed by a whale.

Iraq was estimated to have more than 1 million Christians before the 2003 invasion and topping of Saddam Hussein. Now church officials estimate only 450,000 remain within Iraq borders. Militants have targeted Christians in repeated waves in Baghdad and the north. The Chaldean Catholic cardinal was kidnapped in 2008 by extremists and killed. Churches around the country have been bombed repeatedly.

The exodus from Mosul — a Sunni-majority city that during the American presence in Iraq was an al-Qaida stronghold — has been even more dramatic. From a pre-2003 population of around 130,000 Christians, there were only about 10,000 left before the Islamic State fighters overran the city a week ago.

Abu Zeid estimated that now only 2,000 Christians remain in the city.

Christians who have not left Iraq completely often flee their homes to other parts of Iraq when the danger is highest in hopes of returning later.

Boutani, the mayor, said this was the sixth time in 11 years that Christians from other areas have flocked to Alqosh for refuge. He himself fled here from Baghdad in 2009 after a church bombing in the capital.

This is the third time that Adnan, a 60-year-old Mosul shoe shop owner, has sought shelter in Alqosh. He came in 2008 after a priest in Mosul was killed, then again in 2010 after rumors spread of an imminent attack on Christians. Each time, he and his family returned after Iraqi security officials guaranteed Christians’ safety.

“They said, we will protect you,” he recalled. “But now — where’s the government?”

The Vatican for years has voiced concern about the flight of Christians from the Middle East, driven out by war, poverty and discrimination.

During his recent trip to Jordan, Pope Francis met with Iraqi and Syrian Christians and denounced the wars, weapons and conflicts that have forced them from their homes.

“All of us want peace!” Francis told a gathering of refugees near the River Jordan. “I ask myself: who is selling arms to these people to make war?”

In Alqosh, the newcomers and the residents united in prayer at Sunday Mass in the Chaldean Church of the Virgin Mary of the Harvest, held by Friar Gabriel Tooma.

On the church floor was spread a mosaic made of beans, lentils, wheat and other produce from the area, assembled to commemorate the upcoming harvest. Before the service, volunteers hurried to finish the images of Jesus and Mary, and were filling out the details of Pope Francis’ face, sketched out with white beans.

“People are afraid of what’s coming next,” Tooma said. “I fear there will be a day when people will say: ‘There were once Christians in Iraq.'”

As he walked with his wife and daughter in the 7th century St Hormoz monastery, built into the hill overlooking Alqosh, Abu Zeid said he went back to Mosul on Friday to see if his house was still standing.

Some of the militants in control of the city tried to show that Christians were welcome.

Gunmen stopped him and asked if he was a Christian, Abu Zeid said. When he nodded back, a gunman told him: “Welcome to your home.”

The Chaldean church in Mosul was looted, he said, and he saw gunmen drag the accused thieves to the church and order them to return stolen property.

He and other displaced Christians highly doubt the shows of goodwill. Still, some said they have no choice but to eventually return.

“I’m 60 years old,” said Adnan, the shoe salesman. “It would be hard to start over again.” (Contributor:  By Diaa Hadid for Associated Press – AP correspondent Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this report.)

No one understands why God allows His Church to suffer anguish, deprivation, and, at times, violent persecution, but such hardship is a way of life for millions of Christ’s followers. Men motivated by evil have perpetrated such heinous crimes since Cain rose up against his brother Abel. So, while God doesn’t promise to protect believers from evil-doers, He does promise to be with them in the midst of trouble, and to welcome them at the end of life on earth to their eternal home in heaven.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God . . .” (Isaiah 43:2-3a)

 

IN TEXAS’ RIO GRANDE VALLEY, A SEEMINGLY ENDLESS SURGE OF IMMIGRANTS

The call went out on Border Patrol radios just before sundown one day this week: 31 immigrants spotted illegally crossing the Rio Grande on a raft.

No sooner had the migrants been found hiding in the mesquite brush than another report came in: A woman and boy were walking up the riverbank.

The Rio Grande Valley has become ground zero for an unprecedented surge in families and unaccompanied children flooding across the Southwest border, creating what the Obama administration is calling a humanitarian crisis as border officials struggle to accommodate new detainees. Largely from Central America, they are now arriving at a rate of more than 35,000 a month.

Anzalduas Park, a 96-acre expanse of close-cropped fields and woodland that sits on the southern bend of the river, has turned from an idyllic family recreation area into a high-traffic zone for illegal migration.

The number of children and teenagers traveling alone from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador is expected to reach up to 90,000 across the Southwest border by the end of the year, along with a surge of families with children seeking safe passage into the U.S.

“This is the hottest spot in the nation for crossings,” said Hidalgo County Precinct 3 Constable Lazaro “Larry” Gallardo, a valley native who said he had never seen a migration wave of such a scale during his 14 years in office. “Something’s got to be done because the numbers are just too high.”

Detentions along this stretch of the river have gone from up to 50 immigrants a week to as many as 300. On Tuesday night, constables captured 100, on Monday nearly 200. Authorities are comparing the onslaught of homeless detainees to the displacements brought by Hurricane Katrina.

“The basic difference is that the vast majority of those people were here legally, whereas the current group has come here illegally,” said Donald Reay, executive director of the Southwest Border Sheriff’s Coalition. “You end up with a double-edged sword. You want to deal with the humanitarian side but also have to deal with the rule-of-law side.”

Many of the migrants are young women with children who tell authorities they are fleeing unrest in their homelands. Not long ago, a Honduran woman barely made it across the river before giving birth among the park’s red and blue picnic tables and signs warning “Children at Play.”

Some migrants cross on weekends and try to blend in with picnicking crowds in the park. But many willingly give themselves up, driven by reports in Central America that immigrants who arrive with children are being allowed to stay in the U.S. indefinitely. (Officials believe smugglers use some families as decoys to divert authorities’ attention from other migrants crossing elsewhere.)

We can stay temporarily and get money, and if we have to go, we go. – Honduran woman, who arrived in Texas because her 9-year-old son needs an eye operation she cannot afford

One woman walking up the park riverbank this week with a boy made no attempt to flee when Sgt. Dan Broyles, a Hidalgo County deputy constable, approached. She toted two purses, as if headed to the mall — a stark contrast to migrants of years past, who girded themselves with survival gear to endure harsh treks through the desert.

“Did you come on a raft?” Broyles, 51, asked in Spanish.

Yes, the woman said, after traveling by bus from Honduras.

“He’s your son?”

Yes, she said, 9 years old. The boy’s left arm was in a cast, the result of falling out of a tree before their trip. Around his neck he wore a black-and-white cross woven from plastic lanyards.

“Did you pay someone to cross?”

She said she paid $1,000 — 10 times the going rate before the recent influx.

Her son needs an eye operation she could not afford. She had heard that they would be allowed to stay in the U.S., at least long enough for her to find work and pay for the surgery.

“We can stay temporarily and get money, and if we have to go, we go,” she said with tears in her eyes before Border Patrol agents loaded them into a van headed for a station already overcrowded with migrants.

Moments later, a Guatemalan woman walked up to Broyles out of the darkness, with her 15-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. The boy carried his sister, who wore a frilly green dress and patent leather shoes.

They had been hiding in the marsh, which was filled with tarantulas and lizards. Signs nearby warned of snakes.

Border facilities in Texas and Arizona have quickly become overloaded. The McAllen Border Patrol station near here, which has space to detain 250 immigrants, instead houses 1,500 daily, according to Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera, vice president of the agents’ union’s local chapter. Other smaller stations in the valley are housing twice or three times their capacity, he said.

Emergency shelters have been opened at military bases in Texas, Oklahoma and California — and at another facility in Arizona — but immigrant advocates and border agents have described the initial intake facilities on the border as badly overcrowded and ill-equipped to handle the onslaught.

Mayeli Hernandez, a 12-year-old Honduran girl who made the trip with her 8-year-old sister, said the journey with smugglers wasn’t as difficult as her four days in detention in McAllen last July.

“We were there for four days without showering, without brushing our teeth,” Mayeli said. “The guards were always angry. They told me that I was asking for too much water to drink.”

In a complaint filed last week with the federal Department of Homeland Security, five immigrant rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union Border Litigation Project, alleged that children in custody between the ages of 5 and 17 faced physical and sexual abuse, overcrowding, freezing temperatures, inadequate water and spoiled food.

Their 25-page report documented accounts of sexual abuse, strip searches, a child who had to drink from a toilet tank, filthy restrooms and children forced to sleep on floors.

Border Patrol officials have said they will look into the allegations. Cabrera said agents are also concerned about unsanitary conditions, such as the practice of quarantining sick immigrants behind a piece of yellow tape, strung across the room, that does little to protect agents or fellow migrants.

Cleaning crews wipe the holding areas down regularly, but agents still fear contagious diseases, Cabrera said. “It’s not just the disease issues, but the sheer amount of filth that’s floating through the air.”

President Obama has directed federal agencies to address the widening crisis in the Rio Grande Valley, with new stopgap measures announced almost daily. Yet another temporary detention center is scheduled to open in McAllen, Texas, in a 55,000-square-foot warehouse, Cabrera said.Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they don’t have room to detain parents and children long-term.

Children detained by immigration authorities are supposed to be held a maximum of 72 hours, then moved to temporary shelters, where they spend about a month on average before being placed with relatives or sponsors while their immigration cases are pending.

But senior Obama administration officials who briefed reporters this week acknowledged that they haven’t been able to meet the 72-hour requirement: There is simply not enough staff to process all

Once they are processed, the Border Patrol has been flying many families to other states and releasing them en masse at bus stations with notices to appear in immigration courts at their destinations.

At the McAllen Greyhound station this week, volunteers set up tables of donations, then moved to a nearby church hall that was soon overwhelmed by immigrant mothers.

Among them was Blanca Isabel Cruz, 36, who had brought her daughter Xenia, 13, across the river on a raft with smugglers after traveling north by bus from El Salvador. They planned to catch a bus to join relatives in Fredericksburg, Va. The family had migrated in stages: first her 15-year-old daughter with cousins; then her husband, a fisherman, with their 6-year-old daughter; then Cruz with Xenia.

Cruz, a petite woman in a ponytail and a pink T-shirt, said they came because gang violence had worsened in their coastal city of La Union as a 2-year-old truce disintegrated between the country’s two largest gangs and a new government failed to help.

“There are gangs and delinquents all over the place,” she said. “Here, it’s safe.”

At 11:26 p.m. Wednesday, nearly half an hour after Sgt. Broyles’ shift ended, a woman and three boys approached his truck out of the dark.

Belkin Rivera Hernandez, 24, said she’d heard television reports that single mothers would receive permission to stay in the U.S., and decided to try to cross with her son and two other boys from Honduras, hoping to meet her mother in Virginia.

“The situation in Honduras is only getting worse,” she said as Broyles handed her a chilled bottle of water, part of a supply deputies buy themselves for the migrants.

Border Patrol agents arrived and loaded the family into a van with half a dozen other women and children. (Contributor: By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Cindy Carcamo for The LA Times)

Consider the Scripture. In one New Testament verse (Acts 17:26), we hear two fundamental truths. The first is that the entire human race came from “one blood” (or one man), and the second is that God has appointed boundaries for dwelling places for each people group. Sheer logic indicates that all of Central and upper South America’s people cannot find a “better life” at the expense of the U.S.  Pray, then, that political juggling and border irresponsibility will give way to reality, and that a just solution will be applied.

“And He has made from one blood [or man] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord. . . .” (Acts 17:26-27a) 

 

NEW RESEARCH REMINDS US WHY FATHERS MATTER

Award-winning journalist Paul Raeburn notes in his new book, “Do Fathers Matter? What Science is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked,” that we acknowledge a father’s “authority and economic stability” in children’s home lives, but we don’t always take into account all the many other ways that dads contribute to the well-being of their children. As we approach Father’s Day this weekend, it’s a good time to look at new information social science is teaching us about the value of fathers.

According to Mr. Raeburn, most of the research about the importance of fathers is buried in scholarly journals from several fields — anthropology, neurology, sociology, psychology, etc.; as a result, even family scholars lack an overall perspective on the importance of fathers.

Mr. Raeburn has spent the past eight years bringing together this disparate research, and the result is a new book that is astounding in its scope and perspective on fatherhood, with some of its revelations being downright shocking. He indicates that the death rate of infants when the father is not around prior to their birth is nearly four times higher than when the prospective father is present helping to support the pregnant mother.

The more involved the father, the better. When a father plays with, reads to, or takes his children on outings, those children have fewer behavior problems in elementary school and less risk of criminal behavior when they become teenagers. On the other hand, fathers who are depressed during pregnancy can increase the child’s risk of depression throughout his or her life.

One very surprising advantage of fathers cited by Mr. Raeburn is their influence on language development. Most people think of mothers as being the ones who shore up the right-brain activities — reading, creativity, talking — but Lynne Vernon-Feagans, of the University of North Carolina, found that in several important ways, fathers matter more than mothers in language development: language skills, success in school and vocabulary.

Taking a longer-range view, an American Enterprise Institute report in April found that teens with involved fathers were 98 percent more likely to graduate from college and those with “very involved” fathers were 105 percent more likely to graduate. While the author, Brad Wilcox, of the University of Virginia, cites father involvement as a likely cause, Naomi Schaefer Riley speculates that it’s because fathers grant children more independence than mothers typically do. That freedom means more risk-taking in safe environments, thus preparing them for the real world and giving them the experiences that they need to mature.

Frayser High School in Memphis, Tenn., made headlines in 2011 owing to the high pregnancy rate. Everyone assumed that the new television shows — MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” — were to blame for the sudden epidemic, but numerous studies report the strong influence of fathers on their “daughters’ sexual behavior during adolescence.” Psychologist Sarah E. Hill, of Texas Christian University, for instance, presents data showing how a father’s absence is associated with “accelerated reproductive development and sexual risk-taking in daughters.” Now, it is generally accepted by scholars that father-absence or father-inattention has a strong negative influence on adolescent girls’ sexual risk-taking.

Given the mass of accumulated evidence that fathers play specific beneficial — even vital — roles in their children’s lives, it is surprising that the president’s recent initiative, “Opportunity for All: My Brother’s Keeper,” to address fatherlessness does not, according to the Daily Caller’s White House correspondent, Neil Munro, mention a single time the words “marriage” or “married,” even though the report admits that the lack of fathers “doubles the failure rate among African-American and Latino kids.” Instead, the new program calls for the “government to arrange substitute fathers for the huge numbers of fatherless boys and girls instead of binding fathers to their kids via marriage.” The program will, instead of encouraging fathers to accept responsibility for their children, encourage long-term mentors to get involved with fatherless children.

The report goes to great lengths to define “family” very broadly, with an end result that “government-managed communities” are elevated above the “autonomous two-parent family.” Instead of the family being the “core American value” that is central to society, the president promoted the idea that “community” performs the family function. Mr. Munro cites the following figures: “Community” gets 34 mentions, “government” gets 15 mentions, “federal” gets 54 mentions, “state” gets almost 60 mentions, and “local” gets 32 mentions, but there is not one mention of “marriage” or “married.” Of course, Hillary Clinton long ago tried to tell us that “it takes a village to raise a child.”

The research is very clear that children definitely do need a father, and preferably their biological one, and not just any man. They need involved, hands-on fathering that cements the connection to the man responsible for their birth. There’s nothing new about this need, of course, but recent research has shown us some fascinating wrinkles on the old themes. Fathers, the new research reveals, bring certain factors to parenting that are irreplaceable. Mentors and father-figures are needed, but they are not sufficient to meet a child’s need to experience the touch of their dad’s hand, his unconditional love and his voice reassuring him or her, “You are my son, you are my daughter … and I love you and am proud of you.” (Contributor: By Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D. for The Washington Times – author of Children at Risk and Marriage Matters, is Executive Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.)

Please note the importance of this article by Janice Shaw Crouse and of Paul Raeburn’s book, “Do Father’s Matter?” Mrs. Crouse says the book “is astounding in its scope and perspective on fatherhood.” Let us pray for a wide distribution for the book and for the truth it represents. Today’s culture has marginalized the vital and irreplaceable role of fatherhood in the home, but the evidence speaks for itself. While not neglecting single mothers, may the Church come forth with strong ministry to strengthen the role of fathers and of two-parent homes.

“[God] created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.” (Gen. 5:2)

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:1-4)

 

AMERICAN FATHERS ROUTINELY MIMIC THE ROUGHHOUSING OF MALE MONKEYS

Is the child playing Candyland being asked to sit still and follow the rules? It’s probably Mom doing the teaching.

Is the toddler is squealing with joy as the scary monster lumbers toward him? It’s probably Dad doing the chasing.

Differences in male-female parenting styles are not imaginary or based on stereotypes, according to an extensive survey released Monday.

Instead, differences are rooted in biology. From an evolutionary perspective, men and women share a strong interest in their offspring’s survival but pursue that goal in different ways, say the authors of “Mother Bodies, Father Bodies: How Parenthood Changes Us From the Inside Out.”

“Evolutionary success is not based on whether you survive — rather, success is measured by whether you are able to produce offspring who survive, reproduce, and carry your genes into future generations,” said Dr. Kathleen Kovner Kline and W. Bradford Wilcox, co-authors of the study, released by the Institute for American Values, the Center of the American Experiment and the Institute for Family Studies.

For mothers and fathers, that can mean starkly different strategies.

A parenting report like this is needed, they said, because the American family is coping with dramatic social change.

“In the past, the culture used to give us the recipe” for how men and women can best navigate marriage, work, family and home life.

But for many people, that “shared script … no longer exists” because of social trends such as mothers working outside the home, greater flexibility in sex roles, and delays in marriage and childbearing.

With more freedom, choice — and uncertainty — in family life, “it is more important than ever to help men and women understand the profound internal and external transformations that accompany parenthood,” wrote Dr. Kline, an affiliate faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school and chief medical officer of a Philadelphia community mental health center called The Consortium, and Mr. Wilcox, an associate sociology professor and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

Exciting fathers

The paper stems from a 2008 conference, partly funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that gathered scholars from natural and social sciences to discuss the sexes and parenthood. They found evidence that mothers and fathers can be affectionate and caring, resourceful, adept at problem-solving and firm disciplinarians.

An especially important finding is that men, like women, are changed by parenthood. Men even undergo physiological, hormonal transformations during pregnancy and as they raise their children, Mr. Wilcox said.

But mothers and fathers also display some basic, intrinsic differences, and in the best of circumstances create a “parental synergy” that benefits their children.

Consider playtime

Fathers are known to tease and play in ways that are exciting and unpredictable — a biological characteristic. “Male monkeys show the same rough-and-tumble, physical style of play as American human fathers,” the study said.

This kind of play helps children understand that the world is surprising, is competitive, has risks and can be destabilizing, and that children have to learn to stand up for themselves. There is even evidence that children who play with their fathers a lot are likely to be popular with their peers.

Fathers are also likely to help establish a climate of order and self-control in families. They are more likely to act unilaterally, directing their children to do things without inquiring about what they want. They also can be firmer disciplinarians, spending less time reasoning or explaining their decisions to the miscreants, and children are more likely to comply with paternal demands than maternal demands.

As a result, boys who are close to their fathers are less likely to become delinquent; girls with fathers at home are less likely to become pregnant as teens.

Stable mothers

If the father’s style is geared to “push children out of the nest,” mothers tend to be the “more verbal, affectionate, predictable, comforting and affectionate parent … geared to make children feel at home in the nest.”

Taken together, “these two diverse parenting styles supply children with a varied parenting diet,” the report said.

Mothers are viewed as having a superior ability to regulate emotion, allowing them to establish strong attachments with their children. This in turn gives children a “secure emotional base” from which to navigate the emotional and social challenges of life, the paper said.

This persists in adolescence, when mothers, more than fathers, are more likely to try to “take their teenagers’ emotional temperature” and provide support and problem-solving tips for the ups and downs of life.

In general, and despite workplace and cultural changes, fathers tend to earn more money and mothers still tend to invest more time in parenting, especially when children are very young.

This means mothers typically take the lead on parental duties such as monitoring the children’s health, child care and shopping for clothing.

Mothers are also more likely to take steps to ensure their children have positive play experiences and introduce toys and games that have a predictable nature and are played by the rules.

In this sense, mothers are often seen as the responsible parent, setting limits and imposing penalties, even though the ultimate authority is the father, the report said.

A caveat is that such benefits are most robust when fathers live with the mothers of their children, which is why strengthening marriage is wise, Mr. Wilcox said.

Both children and men benefit when fathers are engaged with their families, day in and day out, “and arriage is an institution that more than any other” connects men to that, he said.

Fathers are known to tease and play in ways that are exciting and unpredictable — a biological characteristic. “Male monkeys show the same rough-and-tumble, physical style of play as American human fathers,” the study said.

This kind of play helps children understand that the world is surprising, is competitive, has risks and can be destabilizing, and that children have to learn to stand up for themselves. There is even evidence that children who play with their fathers a lot are likely to be popular with their peers.

Fathers are also likely to help establish a climate of order and self-control in families. They are more likely to act unilaterally, directing their children to do things without inquiring about what they want. They also can be firmer disciplinarians, spending less time reasoning or explaining their decisions to the miscreants, and children are more likely to comply with paternal demands than maternal demands.

As a result, boys who are close to their fathers are less likely to become delinquent; girls with fathers at home are less likely to become pregnant as teens.

Stable mothers

If the father’s style is geared to “push children out of the nest,” mothers tend to be the “more verbal, affectionate, predictable, comforting and affectionate parent … geared to make children feel at home in the nest.”

Taken together, “these two diverse parenting styles supply children with a varied parenting diet,” the report said.

Mothers are viewed as having a superior ability to regulate emotion, allowing them to establish strong attachments with their children. This in turn gives children a “secure emotional base” from which to navigate the emotional and social challenges of life, the paper said.

This persists in adolescence, when mothers, more than fathers, are more likely to try to “take their teenagers’ emotional temperature” and provide support and problem-solving tips for the ups and downs of life.

In general, and despite workplace and cultural changes, fathers tend to earn more money and mothers still tend to invest more time in parenting, especially when children are very young.

This means mothers typically take the lead on parental duties such as monitoring the children’s health, child care and shopping for clothing.

Mothers are also more likely to take steps to ensure their children have positive play experiences and introduce toys and games that have a predictable nature and are played by the rules.

In this sense, mothers are often seen as the responsible parent, setting limits and imposing penalties, even though the ultimate authority is the father, the report said.

A caveat is that such benefits are most robust when fathers live with the mothers of their children, which is why strengthening marriage is wise, Mr. Wilcox said.

Both children and men benefit when fathers are engaged with their families, day in and day out, “and marriage is an institution that more than any other” connects men to that, he said. (Emphasis added) (Contributor:  By Cheryl Wetzstein for The Washington Times)

Although this research is filtered through evolutionary theory, the observations are valid. Why? Because they are based on observing the Creator’s design and intention for “normal” family function, which is for a mom and dad to live together, both active in the development of their children. Pray that spiritually blind eyes will be open to give God glory as His truth overrules human theory. Read again the next-to-last paragraph of this article. You will give God praise for His “intelligent design.” Because man excludes God, he can look at truth and not see the God of truth.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27)

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24; also quoted in the Gospels and in Eph. 5:31)

 

HIGHER GROUND: LOVE BUT NOT ACCEPTANCE

The Southern Baptist Convention this week passed a resolution extending “love and compassion” to transgender people, but stopped short of supporting any efforts to claim a transgender identity.

The more than 5,000 registrants who attended the SBC’s annual meeting in Baltimore voted to “regard [their] transgender neighbors as image-bearers of the Almighty God,” condemning any form of bullying or abuse against them.

Within the same resolution, however, the SBC determined that because every person is created in the image of God, identifying as transgender is “contrary to God’s design” and any effort to physically change oneself is not condoned.

“These cultural currents run counter to the biblical teaching that ‘Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation,’” the resolution states. “Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every heart.”

A 2011 study from the Williams Institute at UCLA showed that there are about 700,000 transgender people living in the United States. The SBC reported its membership at nearly 16 million people.  (Contributor: By Meredith Somers for The Washington Times)

In a day of moral compromise in major branches of the broader Church, give thanks for the stand Southern Baptists have taken to “love the sinner” while not condoning the sin of transgender identity. As the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., this decision will have repercussions and a price to be paid in the “marketplace.” Let us stand with our Baptist brothers and sisters in Christ. These issues have divided some denominations, so pray for a return to God’s standards in the Church.   

“For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar . . .” (Rom. 3:3-4a)

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isa. 40:8)

 

 CALL2FALL

The Basics

Q – What’s involved?

A – The Call 2 Fall is nothing fancy.  No slick program.  No big production.  Just setting aside a definite time during worship on June 29, 2014 when you call your people to get on their knees and faces before the Lord in repentant prayer for God to reshape our lives and renew our land.  Click here for free church resources that may be helpful.

Q – Who can join?

A – “Call 2 Fall” on our knees is for every Christ-follower in America.  Specifically, there are multiplied millions of believers who realize that America is in trouble and that neither Washington nor Wall Street has the answers.  We are hoping that at least 40,000 churches will join in a corporate act of humility, repentance, and desperate prayer on our knees before the Lord.

Q – Where will we do it?

A – “Call 2 Fall” on our knees will be happening in the many places Christians meet on Sunday. We realize that the church gathers in worship centers, store-fronts, homes, and various other places all across America.  We are encouraging believers to kneel at least 3 to 5 minutes before the Lord wherever they may gather that day.

Q – When will it happen?

A – “Call 2 Fall” in corporate humility before the Lord is set for Sunday, June 29, 2014. Why that Sunday? Because on the day before we celebrate our “Independence,” we should also express our “Dependence” upon the Lord. Throughout this special day, we encourage believers to spend time on their knees in crying out to God to heal our souls and our land.

Q – Why a Call 2 Fall?

A – First, the Scriptures teach it.  The key verse is 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

The first requirement on the path to renewal is to “humble ourselves,” to fall on our knees and faces before the Lord in repentant prayer.  Over and over the Scriptures teach this.   Click here for examples.

Second, our history records it.   Our founding fathers sensed the need for a “Call 2 Fall” in view of the monumental struggle we were engaged in with Britain.    The First Continental Congress called for a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer throughout the Colonies on July 20th, 1775 just after war broke out.  James Warren wrote Samuel Adams:

Three millions of people on their knees at once, supplicating the aid of Heaven, is a striking circumstance, and a very singular one in America . May the blessings of Heaven follow in answer to our prayers…

In addition, colonial America and the early years of our republic experienced what observers have called Great Awakenings, which began with God’s people humbling themselves in repentant prayer and led to others becoming followers of Christ.  Click here for more examples from our Founders.

Third, our nation needs it. Ponder the past decade.  From 9/11 to war to natural disasters to financial and moral collapse, we are witnessing what happens when a nation turns away from God.  In view of the monumental challenges of our times, do we not find ourselves in a similar situation as that of ancient Israel and early America?  Consequently, we are sensing the need to return to simple but powerful truths like:

God is sovereign.  He is holy and He is love.

We are sinners.  We are saved from His severity of His wrath toward sin only by the fierceness of His love in Christ.

When we drift away in disobedience, we experience His discipline.  His judgments are just.

The pathway back must begin with:

A humility and brokenness before the Lord.

A desperation to find the face of God.

A heart cry for the mercy of God.

A desire to turn from our sinful ways.

A resolve to return to the ways of God.

This is what the ancient words of Scripture are calling us to do when we speak of a “Call 2 Fall.”  Click here for testimony from people who sense this great need.

This is a powerful initiative that IFA welcomes. Pray that the full complement of 40,000 churches, and perhaps more, will respond in faith as church leaders call faithful members to participate in these moments of unified prayer. The power is not in the act of kneeling but in the heart attitude of humility and surrender to God. Believers will declare, in unity, that America’s hope is in God alone. Consider asking your pastor to lead your church to join in. May thousands of Christians pray and participate. Sadly, the Church of Jesus Christ is divided. May this be a step toward unity.

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10)

 “. . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” (Eph. 6:18)

On Watch in Washington June 18, 2014  Plain Text PDF Version

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