Christian Fantasy Author Lorilyn Roberts' Blog

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why Are Americans So Afraid of Orphans?

Why Are Americans So Afraid of Orphans?

Why do the marketers of the movie “Orphan” think it will scare people?

In this country alone there are over 500,000 children in the foster care system. Worldwide, the U.N. estimates there are more than 145 million orphans. To put this into a number easier to understand, my oldest daughter, Manisha, now 18, was adopted from Nepal when she was three. The estimated population of Nepal is around 28 million. That means there are over four times as many orphans in the world as there are people in her native country.

Expressed another way, the population of the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of July 21, 2009, is 306,969,874. That means the number of orphans in the world equals half the population of our country.

If the word “orphan” is searched on Google today, the first two listings are for the movie “Orphan.” What a lost opportunity to speak the truth in love! The Wikipedia definition is third: “An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of its parents.”

The real horror is not that the movie portrays orphans as monsters. It’s the number of children that will be hurt by this disturbing message. The movie "Orphan" is only going to reinforce in the hearts and minds of individuals that orphans are damaged goods at best, monsters at worse.

Those who have thought about adopting may have second thoughts, plagued with fears and doubts. Children and teenagers who have been adopted and hear about or see the movie might be tempted to question their own self‑worth or value. Orphans who might have been adopted may not be because of the ill‑conceived notion, perpetuated by this movie, that they are “bad.”

“Orphan” is a sad commentary on Hollywood, our society, and a tragic statement of the culture we live in. A world where money is the bottom line and sensationalism tickles the ears of gullible listeners—let it not be at the expense of those who are the least fortunate. Instead, as in the words of flight director, Gene Kranz, as portrayed in the movie “Apollo 13,” when everyone doubted that the space program would be able to bring those doomed astronauts home, he stood up and said, “With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.”

I challenge every American, particularly those who are Christians, to look beyond the movie at the real horror—the little one who has no one to call mommy or daddy; the baby who goes to bed at night with a protruding, empty belly; the 145 million children around the world who, through no fault of their own, have lost their parents to AIDS, malnutrition, poverty, and violence.

Although all orphans have needs, some more than others, they are not monsters. They are children with beating hearts, sticky fingers, and minds full of unleashed potential. They just need to be given a chance. They are children made in the image of Christ and loved by the heavenly Father.

Rather than attacking the movie, let's join together and rewrite the script of “Orphan.” Give an orphan a chance to worship in our church and synagogue. Invite one to sit down at the dinner table. Help all of them to be educated in our schools. Let us change the negative image of an orphan one life at a time. Let us encourage them to dream big dreams and become everything God created them to be. Most of all, let us show the world that they are loved, just as Christ loved us.

If it were not for God's unconditional love, we would all be orphans. If we unite, we can send a far different message to Hollywood. We can speak for those little ones that sit in overcrowded orphanages and wait. And hope.

Through God's love, let us love until we feel their pain. Only then can we make a difference. Let us not let Hollywood have the last word. Truly, we can become the hand of God as we touch one of His own. Let it begin with me. Orphans Deserve Better. Let this be “our finest hour.”

http://www.lorilynroberts.com/

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What do Beavis and Butt-Head have to do with Jesus?

Last week I took my ten and a half‑year‑old daughter, Joy, to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia, for a special overnight mother‑daughter trip. After spending the night in a comfortable hotel, we arrived shortly after opening at 10:30 in the morning with hot Georgia sunshine beating down and wet, humid air soaking our skin. As we lathered on the sunscreen and headed toward the gated entrance, I hoped there would be lots to do besides get sick on roller coaster rides. We were already dripping with perspiration by the time we got to the water park.

At Splash Island we found a haven from the heat and climbed up the voluminous steps to ride on the Kalani Blasters, two sets of slides that intertwined and lasted thirty seconds, dumping the rider into a large, cool pool at the bottom. As Joy and I waited our turn in the long line at the top holding an oversized inner tube, a little boy who couldn't have been much older than three forced his way through the crowded line and positioned himself at the top of the open flume. He wanted to be the next rider down.

I looked around and thought to myself, where is this kid's parent? What is he doing cutting in line? I wasn't sure whether to speak up as I was in shock at his boldness to ignore all the others waiting patiently ahead of him. After several seconds when it was obvious he wasn't leaving, several politely spoke to the young boy, "You must wait your turn. You can't break in line like that."

The same sentence was repeated to him several more times. I added my few words, too, just to support the others who had already spoken. The boy just stood there.

The park attendant who had been monitoring the flume looked up and saw what had happened. He spoke loudly to the young boy, "You must go to the back of the line. You must wait your turn."

Everyone gently encouraged him to leave but he continued to ignore us. I looked around for his parents again who were no where. He had brought the entire procession of sliding down the open flume to a complete halt as he stood there defying the world.

Finally, the little boy got the point that nobody in the line was going to let him break in front. He dejectedly headed to the back to wait his turn.

I said to Joy, "He might be cute, but he's not that cute." We all looked at each other thinking the same thing. Something is missing from this picture—the parent.

Later that afternoon, when Joy and I had our full of the water, we headed over to the dreaded roller coasters. While Joy enjoyed getting dizzy and spinning and being centrifuged to oblivion—after all, she is a gymnast—I held on and tried not to die. My stomach screamed even louder. Fortunately I did survive to live another day.

Our final event was the Gold Rush, a smaller, family-sized roller coaster which Joy talked me into riding. I hope it will be my last one. Of course, I said that the last time at Disney when she talked me into experiencing the Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom. I will spare you the bodily details on that one. If you are curious, you can watch it on YouTube—the full three minutes and eighteen seconds worth.

I stepped through the car of the Gold Rush and exited out the other side to place our personal belongings in a holding compartment. As I returned to my spot behind Joy, two wide‑eyed blond‑headed young girls were sitting in my seat.

All the other cars were full and everyone was waiting for me. I spoke to the little girls who might have been about eight years old, "You have taken my seat. You will have to wait till the next time to ride. My daughter is in front of you and I'm riding this with her."

They stared at me but refused to budge.

So I tried again. "I was setting our belongings in the storage compartment. You need to let me have my seat back."

Unflinching they continued to stare. Joy stared, too.

I said it again, this time a little louder. By this time I had gained everyone's complete, undivided attention and felt all eyes glued on me, but I wasn't going to give in.

"I'm sorry, but you have taken my seat. That is my daughter in front of you and I am riding with her."

Then one of the little girls yelled at me, "You mean you're not going to let me ride with my sister?"

"No, I am not." I glanced over at the other people waiting impatiently, one lady in particular. Are those her kids, I wondered? Nobody came to my rescue. I said it again more loudly, "You are in my seat. I was putting my stuff over here and you need to get out of my seat."

Finally, they reluctantly got out. The Gold Rush ride attendant walked over and seemed to be happy that the confrontation had ended peacefully without his becoming involved.

Then he added, "And you can't ride the Gold Rush with only a swimming suit top. You must have a shirt on." The girls looked at him disgustedly and promptly walked away.

I took my seat and enjoyed the easy ride thinking about the famous comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, who used to say, "I get no respect."

After the Gold Rush roller coaster ended, the young lady who had been watching the conversation intently between us asked, "Do you know those kids?"

"No, I don't." She shook her head in amazement as she walked away.

I thought about these two incidents at the park later. Where were the parents? After all, these were young kids. I didn't let my ten and a half-year‑old out of my sight and these children were much younger than my own daughter. And how could these kids have such disrespect for authority and adults? Perhaps the answer is no further away than the Beavis and Butt‑head show I had captioned a couple weeks earlier that was broadcast on MTV-2. Let me share some script from the episode that aired on June 17, 2009. Brace yourself.

- - -

THIS IS SEX EDUCATION WEEK.
THAT'S RIGHT, SEX ED WEEK.
WE'LL BE TALKING ABOUT THE PENISAND VAGINA.
DO YOU THINK THAT'S FUNNY?
DO YOU FIND IT AMUSING THAT WE'LL BE TALKING ABOUT THE TESTICLES?
WE'LL ALSO BE TALKING ABOUT VENEREAL DISEASE, SEXUAL INTERCOURSE, AND WE WILL DEFINITELY BE SPENDING A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT MASTURBATION.[LAUGHTER]
NOW THAT THAT'S OUT OF THE WAY LET'S TAKE ROLL.
BUTT HEAD?
HERE.
[BELL]
[LAUGHING]
PENIS.
HE SAID MASTURBATION.
HE SAID VAGINA.
COOL.
[LAUGHING]
GIVE ME THAT FART KNOCKER.
CHECK IT OUT.
DAMN IT.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
I ERASED YOUR UNIT.
DAMN IT.
THAT'S NOT FUNNY.
I NEED MY UNIT.
RIGHT.
HE TAKES THE PENCIL TO THE –
BUTTHEAD IS DOWN BUT NOT FOR LONG.
HE'S GOING BACK INTO THE TRUNK.
WHAT THE HELL IS THIS CRAP?
KID, I THINK – OH. BROKEN.
LOOK AT IT.
THE DEHYDRATED BALL GOT SO –
AND BUTTHEAD IS SQUASHED LIKEA JUNE BUG IN JULY.
YOU DUMB ASS, QUIT SCREWING AROUND AND HELP ME OUT.
HEY, I WANT TO DIP MY BALLS IN IT.
[YEAH]
WHAT IS IN IT?
OATMEAL.
I WANT TO DIP MY BALLS IN IT.
WHAT IS IN IT?
ANY HORS D'OEUVRES.
WHO GIVES A DAMN?
I WANT TO DIP MY BALLS IN IT.
CHEER UP.
I WANT TO DIP MY BALLS IN IT.
I WANT TO PUT IT ON MY SANDWICH.
YEAH!
YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY?
NO, YOU DON'T.
YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY?
NO, WE DON'T.
YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY?
NO, WE DON'T.
YOU KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY.
NO, WE DON'T.
I WANT TO DIP MY BALLS IN IT.
YEAH!
[APPLAUSE]
THAT EXTINGUISHER HAS GIVEN HIM A WHOLE NEW DIMENSION.
I'M NOT DOING YOU, ASS-WIPE.
DO YOURSELF.
DAMN IT.
BEAVIS,YOU'RE LIKE FAT.
IT'S MELEE DOWN THERE.
EXPLODING FARTS ARE COOL.
WHOA.
THAT'S PRETTY COOL.
DAMN IT.
BEAVIS, YOUR BALLS ARE FILTHY.
GO TO THE BALL WASHER NOW.
I FEEL LIKE I HAVE THE FULL ARENA OF EXPERIMENTATION.

- - -

In the 1960's there was a hit song with a profound message, where have all the flowers gone? I wonder today, forty years later in 2009, where have all the parents gone? Where has all decency gone? Where are our children and teens learning their values—from MTV 2's Beavis and Butt-head? I hope not. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:15: "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child." If parents don't teach and guide their children, they will get their values from somewhere. Opportunities abound for the evil one to snatch up our precious little ones and hurt them.

The words of Jesus are vastly different than the script of Beavis and Butt-head. His words do not degrade our bodies created in His image, diminish our self-worth for whom He paid the ultimate price, or tear holes in the fabric of our hearts that need healing. Jesus is our ultimate example of love. He admonished his disciples in Mark 10:14: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Mark 10:16 tells us, "...and he [Jesus] took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."

These references and many others translate into "time." Jesus took time. We must take time to be with our children. Not just take them somewhere and drop them off for a day and leave them to their own devices. As a single mother, if I don't take that time, who will?

I don't want to leave the reader with an uninspired view of today's parenting world. As Jesus often did in His parables, I want to give "the other part of the story."

It was Mother's Day morning and I was on my way into the adult class for Sunday school when I received this text message: "I want to wish you a happy Mother's Day."

I did not recognize the name or the phone number. I sat through the entire Sunday school class reminiscing about who had sent me such a wonderful text message. My two daughters had already made me feel special but to receive a message from somebody I didn't know wishing me a happy Mother's Day lifted my spirits even more. I felt very special to have been remembered by an unknown person.

Later that afternoon my curiosity got the better of me and I text messaged back the person, "Who are you? I don't recognize your name."

As it turned out, a young girl had tried to text message her aunt and had mis-entered the number and I received her text. We sent many messages back and forth sharing the blessedness of Mother's Day and how much we appreciated our mothers and aunts and how we had quite so unexpectedly met in cyberspace. My daughters were quite amused at the flurry of words that were exchanged. I was sad when the text messages finally ended. A parent had taught their child how to love and the blessing had been "text‑messaged" to me.

I want my children to be a blessing to others. I don't want someone to look at my children and say, "I get no respect." It's wonderful when a parent unabashedly tells you, "Your child is a joy to have overnight at our house."

After a day at the Wild Adventures Park and seeing three children who did not know the meaning of respect, I am convicted of my need more than ever to be a loving mom. That translates into time. That might mean riding more roller coasters and flumes. Hopefully, at another time and place, a person standing next to one of my daughters won't be thinking, where is this kid’s parent? More importantly, I will be where God wants me to be, and it won't be captioning Beavis and Butt-head. I look forward to pushing the delete button and sending those nasty words to the recycle bin. That show needs more than recycling. Our children deserve better.