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…)

March 2, 2011

Can a Mother Forget Her Infant?



 Within a week after meeting Mother Teresa, and giving her a manuscript of a book (about the death of the couple’s newborn son) written by his wife, Karen, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum received a note from Mother Teresa: “every human life is a gift from God to be loved…’Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child within her womb?’ (A quote from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah, 49:15)*



     Can a mother forget her infant?

     Perhaps Mother Teresa is correct. I’ve had the experience of fostering unwed mothers who released their children for adoption—for various reasons.

     Linda gave birth to her third child, a son. She released him to protect him from the harm that she felt would befall him due to her hatred of men, who had so severely abused her that she felt her child would be in real (more…)

September 20, 2010




Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

     The following post was written by my late mother. 

     For me, the word friendship is synonymous with the name Edith.

     Twenty-three years ago I met Edith quite by chance at a Sunday school picnic. Both of us were accompanied by our children—Edith’s three girls, the oldest about twelve and the youngest about seven—and my four, the oldest a girl of five and the youngest a girl almost two.

     I suspect neither of us really remembers what drew us into conversation but, suddenly, there we were, bursting with an eager exchange of ideas, both of us basking in the opportunity to engage in adult conversation. That was the beginning. Although we did not see each other very often in the ensuing months, we were drawn together occasionally at worship services and church activities, through which we developed a genuine liking for one another. Still, with both of us working full time and raising our families there remained little time for socializing and so the development of our relationship was put on hold.

     One needs to know a bit about both of us to understand the need we had for one another’s company, how our personalities blended and complemented each other, as well as the differences that drew us together.


     Edith is a solid citizen, both feet on the ground, faces reality head on: I am a dreamer, an idealist with a tendency to, at times, back off from reality. At the time I met Edith she seemed painfully shy, projected little self-confidence, felt comfortable blending into the background, and almost successfully covered up her leadership qualities. I, on the other hand, athough somewhat shy, am a bit more (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…)

February 12, 2010

My Mother as My Mentor



      My mother wasn’t a “present” mom. I can’t recall any conversation I had with her beyond the normal, eg. “do the dishes” and “I need you to babysit.” These weren’t conversations, anyway—they were instructions. There were no mother-daughter chats or outings.

     Throughout my teen years she was held up as a pillar of her church and community, yet I knew the truth: she wasn’t a very “moral” person.

     She once told me her mother, my grandmother, was so overbearing that she gave my mother three choices: teaching, nursing or office work—none a choice that satisfied her. My mother chose to (more…)

January 26, 2010

Hats Make a Statement



If hats were bats, her closet would be a cave…

But hats are not bats, so what are the stats? 

A Twitter by Dmitri written for Carolyn

     I reached the intersection at the Greensburg (PA) Courthouse. There was a green light but no traffic. I hesitated, wanting to proceed across the road, but pedestrians can only legally cross the street when the white hand, a “permission to walk” light, was lit. I debated whether I should cross, “against the law.” And I recalled a ticket I received in Washington, D. C. once. It was a street divided by a cement island, and I didn’t realize that if the light changed, the pedestrian was to stop on the island until it turned green again. I hurriedly continued crossing, and was tagged by a police officer.

     I decided to wait for the walk light. Just then, a “young” man in a business suit reached the corner and stopped. He seemed familiar with the intersection. He noted my indecision and laughed before he informed me that he usually crosses Greensburg streets if there is no traffic, even without the walk light, but he waited at this intersection, because it could be hazardous—drivers weren’t considerate with pedestrians.

     Just then, a car rolled up to the corner, the driver’s blinker indicating his intention to turn right. But instead of continuing, he stopped and waved us across. 

     “That never happens,” the young man said, shaking his head in amazement and surprise.

     “But perhaps it’s the magic of a woman wearing (more…)

October 17, 2009

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 4




 Part 4 will conclude the post series, We’re Adopting a Baby! To read Part 1, Part 2 and/or Part 3 of this post, click on: We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1 & We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 2 & We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 3

     Our own adoption home-study had proven a difficult experience for me. My caseworker didn’t like me very much. I believe she felt threatened by the fact that I was doing adoption home-studies myself, in spite of the fact that she had forty years of experience to my being a newbie. The only saving grace was that she adored Monte. He could, and did, say things that might be prejudicial against our acceptance, with (more…)

October 12, 2009

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 3



To read Part 1 and/or Part 2 of this post, click on: We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1 & We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 2

Before I accepted my job as home-study caseworker for adoptive families while I myself was in the adoption process, I stipulated two things to my boss, Naomi.

First, I gave my notice. Unlike giving biological birth, adoptive parents have no set (more…)

October 5, 2009

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 2



      To read Part 1 of this post, click on: We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1

     When I accepted my job, interviewing prospective adoptive couples, I wondered what I would do—how I would feel—when confronted by a couple who might not make the best of parents. This was an experience fate didn’t delay. The case history of the first couple I interviewed was strangely unnerving. All indications pointed to the fact that this couple was unqualified to have a child placed in their care, according to the middle class yardstick by which (more…)

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