April 4, 2011

The Church Role in Child Abuse Issues



With The Rev. Monte W. Holland

     The trend of modern times is toward specialization in dealing with life issues. If there is a physical ailment, go to the health care professional, and further, to a specialist in the specific type of ailment that is exhibited. If there is a spiritual problem, go to a pastor or pastoral counselor. If there is a family problem, go to a family counselor or therapist.

     This has its advantages in many cases, because the expert has a deeper knowledge of in a very small issue. Yet there are disadvantages. Many physical and relationship problems cannot be boxed into a narrow category. What ails one segment either emanates from or affects another segment. It can take a well-rounded, multi-knowledgeable person to see the interconnections and resolve the issues. Secondly, persons are often reluctant, or financially unable, to go to the specialized person for help—at least over the long term. Thus, the generalist has a strong role to play in resolving many family issues.

     The first line of encounter with family problems is the lay person—a friend and/or a neighbor. The church’s first role in dealing with a troubled family or individual is one of preparing (more…)

April 2, 2011

A Theological Perspective on Child Abuse



With The Rev. Monte W. Holland

     Some important questions arise when speaking of theology and violence, abuse of children, spouses, family and friends. Below is an attempt to answer some of them.

  • Children must be MADE to OBEY (their parents, their caretakers), right?

Obedience IS important. Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:20-21 instruct children to be obedient. But this directive does not stop there. It goes on to instruct PARENTS not to PROVOKE their children (to wrath). Implied is a mutual RESPECT: respect that begets respect. “Nobody ever hates his own flesh, but rather nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ does for the church…” (Ephesians 5:29) Our children are born out of our love, part of a continuation of our flesh. We should not treat them with hate or hateful actions.

  • Does not the Bible state that to spare the rod is to spoil the child? (Proverbs 13:24)

     Nowhere in the New Testament—the “new law”—is abuse justified. Rather, the opposite is expected, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12) The Great Commandment directs us You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40) Our family members—our spouse, our children, and sometimes our parents—are our (more…)

September 30, 2010

Burnt Fat Offerings



SCRIPTURE: Leviticus 4:8     ‘He (the priest) shall take from it (bull) all the fat of the bull as the sin offering…..10.  as it was taken from the bull of the sacrifice of the peace offering, and the priest shall burn them on the altar of the burnt offering.”

Related Scripture:  Leviticus 4:26, 31, 35; 7:3-5; 8:16; 9:10, 19-20; 16:6, 11, 17, 25

REFLECTION: It’s inappropriate in our culture to burn the fat of the bull on the altar as a sin offering. But it isn’t inappropriate to burn our body fat. After all, in our country, one of the most obvious and greatest sins is gluttony.

     Recently, adjustments were made for healthy weights in adults. Needless to say, the weight limits were (more…)

September 16, 2010

Stockings for Jesus



     The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

     “In all the years I’ve visited people’s homes during the Christmas season, I’ve seen many stockings hung by the proverbial ‘chimney’ I’ve never seen one hung for Jesus. And it’s his birthday,” my friend Linda Bondurant said.

     Linda, who lives south of Atlanta, Georgia, believes this should change, and is challenging Christians all over the United States to hang a stocking for Jesus this year.

     “Everyone has a place to hang a stocking,” she said.

     I’m suggest expanding her idea: for all others who hang stockings in the Christmas tradition, hang an additional stocking with God’s name on it.

     As I write this post there are three months—ninety-eight days—until the first time zone on planet earth reaches December 25th, 2010. That is, 2372 hours, 142,270 minutes (the seconds are ticking by rapidly—at the moment I’m posting, it is 8,536,196 seconds).* 


     Invite all your houseguests who visit you on these days to prepare for Christmas by placing a gift in the stocking each time they visit. Linda suggests (more…)

August 21, 2010

Bear One Another’s Burdens



SCRIPTURE: Galatians 6:2    Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.     

Related Scripture:  Romans 15:1

REFLECTION: It takes a village to raise a child is wisdom. Parents cannot be all-seeing, all-knowing, omnipresent.
     One Sunday morning I meandered to my window to enjoy the playing of two young boys whose voices wafted through my open window Instead I found something frightening! They were playing “chicken” with big trucks speeding down the hill in front of the church parsonage where I lived.
     It was not my business. Right? I was in no condition to do anything in my robe and curlers. Right? I had to be at church in fifteen minutes, so I didn’t have time to act. Right? (more…)

August 5, 2010

Old Testament History Progresses



SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:17   “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill….”  (KJV)

REFLECTION: After a vicious thunderstorm I sat in a rocky cove at Wallis Sands Beach, New Hampshire, watching five to ten foot waves roll shoreward with undefeatable purpose, hitting the sand with resounding break patterns of power and force.

Wallis Sands Beach, N. H.

     Distant waves, calm and peaceful, rose in height, appearing as an expanding mirror. Whitecaps majestically crowned these waves with increasing frequency. Photographic water sprays occurred as waves broke over rocks impeding their progress.

     Some waves raced to catch up with others, merging in an empowering union. Others gracefully moved at their own pace, seeming content in their journey. Some faded out, absorbed by following waves. The white foam created by the waves’ final landing brought beauty, chaos, turmoil, debris, power and hope to the shore.

     As the foam spent itself the remaining water folded (more…)

April 28, 2010

Lead Me to My Rocking Chair



SCRIPTURE: John 5:36     “I (Jesus) have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.” (NIV)

REFLECTION: The late Mrs. Grim was 94 years old when I interviewed her for a newspaper article. Her claim to fame was 57 years of service to the Salvation Army, a record in Uniontown if not in the Western Pennsylvania Division of the organization.

     She couldn’t understand why I was interviewing her. She had done nothing special, and she felt like she was bragging when I had her talking about her life. Yet, the work she was finishing testified to the fact that the Father had “sent” her.

     Through the years, she had played (more…)

March 5, 2010

King Solomon and the Case of Two Mothers

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is now located at Carolyn’s Online Magazine.

After reading about King Solomon I invite you to visit the new site.



Moderator: This is a story of two mothers who bring their case before King Solomon. The King knew that on the date in question, in the middle of the night, two prostitutes slept peacefully, their newborns tucked in their arms. The two women aren’t named in the Bible, but we will call them Mona and Lena.

Mona woke that night to discover she’d laid on her child, smothering it. Very distraught, she heard her friend Lena’s baby softly cooing in its sleep. Suddenly, in her grief, an idea came to her. She quietly stepped over to Lena’s bed, took Lena’s sleeping baby from her, and placed her own dead baby in Lena’s arms. Now, Mona reasoned, she wouldn’t have to suffer the loss of her child.


Moderator: Everybody come to order. Court is in session now.

King Solomon: Women, what appears……

Lena: Your Honor, Your Majesty. Mona and I lived together. I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Three days later, Mona had a son also.

Usually my baby’s cries of hunger wake me up, but that morning I slept long. No cries wakened me. I woke to find my son still sleeping. I tried to nudge him awake because it was well past his eating time, but something was terribly wrong. He wouldn’t (more…)

April 22, 2009

Survivor’s Guilt Lent Devotion #25


SURVIVOR’S GUILT  Lent Devotion #25


SCRIPTURE: Matthew 2:16     Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.  (NKJV)

DEVOTION: As I read these stories I reflect back on the child-slaughter meant to rid the world of Moses and Jesus. Although it’s difficult to me to consider that anyone worthy of being called a homo sapiens could participate in slaughters such as these, tales from wartime situations confirm mankind today is no better than mankind of old.

Each time I read of these mass slaughters of small children I wonder what effect they had on Moses and Jesus. Did the two suffer from (more…)

April 10, 2009

God’s form of communication? Lent Devotion #20


Lent Devotion #20

SCRIPTURE: Numbers 9:16-17  16.  So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.  17.  Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents. (NKJV)

REFLECTION: According to Scriptural accounts, the first communication by “cloud” and “fire” did not occur with Native Americans but with the nomadic Israelites.

However, since this passage brings to mind Native Americans, I will reflect on them.

I had two interviews in February 1999. One was with a renowned black artist. The other was on the history of the Connellsville Armory. During both interviews I was confronted with treasures of the mid-west Blackfeet Indian descendents.

The coincidence influenced my request to my local editor to do a story on (more…)

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