Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Happy 15th Birthday

Dear K_____
. Inspired by Jeff Jacoby,’m going to try and write a yearly birthday letter. Something smaller but more lasting than the presents you’ve already gotten.
. As fondly as I remember holding you and cuddling you, I don’t want those times to last!! Even if I recreate them briefly with a noisy kiss on your cheek, that’s all it is—a moment in the life of a wonderful young woman who is growing fast, just as her Loving Father intended. In this case, that’s God, who programmed your brain to be always changing—hopefully for the better!
Part of this change is the painful but necessary questioning of everything. You won’t really know what you believe until you’ve imagined what it would like not to have the Ten Commandments, for example. Many around you have decided they are old fashioned. You should think about this, too, really. Maybe they ARE out of date…
. What if people thought we were the only beings in the universe (No. 1)? I’d go crazy; what do you think?
. What if we never rested (#4)?
. What if we didn’t respect our parents (#5)? I know you and I disagree about chores and a few other things, but at night when we’re reading books we both adore, I know that I have your respect and that you are trying really, really hard to obey God in this and everywhere else.
. What if people had sex whenever and with whomever they pleased (#7)?
. What if people didn’t keep their promises(#9)?
. What if our lives were ruled by Lord Stuff(#10 and #1)?
. A while back, someone was feeding you the idea that Christianity is sexist. I think you should consider this seriously! [see Boring Footnote #1] I don’t have an answer as to why there aren’t more women in the Bible, or more of those "A hen shielding her chicks under-wing" images that help us understand God as both male and female. But imagine a world without Christians. No Ruth, no Joan of Arc, no Susan B. Anthony, no Condoleeza Rice[see B. F. #2]. Think of Pakistan—true, the daughter of a former Prime Minister ruled there for a while. But do any women want to live there just for that reason? No! Thousands of Muslims come here for our freedoms, based in large part on the dignity of each human, created male AND FEMALE "in God’s image" according to the Hebrew Bible. So there is enough of the female in God for all women everywhere. Don’t believe this ‘cause I said it, but think about it. Don’t just accept the images from TV & movies, and perhaps even from some of your teachers. Yep, Christians, or those calling themselves such, have done most of the horrible things done by Western nations. But Western nations have never had Muslim or Hindu leaders. So how could it have been otherwise??? Hitler is one exception, because he was not a Christian, but forcibly took over the State Church in Germany. After that, "Christians" were bad, and only "German Christians"—his code name for pagans—were free to practice their religion.[B.F. #3]
Well, I’m playing catch up here, almost 15 years’ worth—sorry my letter’s so long. But remember, I’m totally pleased that you’re smart enough to read and understand what I’m saying.
I want you to grow up to be a good person. Not a person like your Mommy or Daddy, whatever our strengths and faults, but a person like Jesus, who loves you an awful lot.
And I love you too,

Signed, Daddy

Really, really boring footnotes:
#1 I suspect the person who said that practices another religion, either "Secularism" or perhaps "Feminism without God."
#2 Technically speaking, Ruth was a Moabite and not Jewish or Christian! And I don’t know the others well enough to know how faithfully they practice(d) Christianity. But I know that their lives arose out of a Judeo-Christian culture, which is why they are good examples of feminists who DON’T hate Christianity in general or men in particular.
#3 As you may have noticed ;-) your daddy reads WAY too much about Hitler. Most of the above is from a book about Martin Niemoeller, a hero from the FIRST World War who dared to oppose Hitler. However, unlike Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he didn’t become a martyr.
OK, now go back and read the "I love you" part!

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