By Fred Comella
As I’m trying to make heads or tails out of Roger Goodell’s statements concerning the goings on over at the NFL, I can’t help but wonder what’s really wrong in society today. As someone who opines much about politics, and the causes and effects of ideology based thinking, I must admit there are more and more occasions in my life when I’m left sort of melancholy and searching for the real and tangible answers to what ails us. It’s just not as simple as any one political philosophy, or the pandering of so many self-proclaimed problem solvers. It feels like it’s so much more complicated. But is it really?
There are those of our time who would tell you accountability is overrated. In their eyes, freedom means something very different than what the Framers and early Separatists had in mind. To be sure, I’ve never been one to run from a debate over how and why this nation came to be, and/or the mindset of those who lit that torch. In fact there are even some who would say I enjoy that debate entirely too much. Nevertheless, I keep coming back to our journey away from things like accountability, family, and a basic respect for human life and decency from which all good things flow first, and those truths by which God has intended all of us to live by. Without these fundamental tenets at the center of our lives, the potential for disaster only grows greater with each passing generation.
Now I’m not going to sit here and preach about perfection, because I understand completely that we’re all imperfect sinners who enjoy the refuge provided by Christ’s sacrifice if we choose to accept it. But again it’s the journey, and the omnipresent moral compass in all of us which we must foster and promote in our children, so they will grow with the knowledge that a faith centered and accountable life is, was, and always will be the cornerstone of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. In the absence of these most basic of principles, we see sports figures of great talent but little responsibility, beat the unwed mothers of their numerous children, and present a false and dangerous image to the young people who idolize them. We see Hollywood and music industry types embrace twisted and reckless imagery and behavior as simply “alternative lifestyles”, making it all the more attractive to those who lack purpose and direction. And we search for a young college student, possibly vulnerable having had too much to drink, walking aimlessly and lost, and who may have been victimized instead of gathered up and protected by a caring and watchful community. You see my Christian friends, government sponsored social programs, and the snake oil promises of power hungry political types, are anything but the answers to these vexing dilemmas. No, the answers are under the surface and often ignored. They are in our homes and in the dusty Bibles by our bedside. They are in our communities and in our schools. They are not answers any one person or ideology may lay claim to, but rather they reside deep in our souls and require fortitude, effort and obedience to ten simple but unconditional laws on which our society as we understand it to be, was predicated. Let’s face it, it doesn’t take a scholar or theologian to identify what I’m writing about here. And it’s almost criminal how our leaders continue to ignore the dramatic cultural negatives that are eating away at the American dream for so many. “The Good News” is that Christian believers who know and understand the value of family and of every human life, and who do not qualify that value with any particular talent or standing, continue to take up the real fight, rescuing the next generation so they may be examples to others. With an emphasis on those most vulnerable of our youth, and whenever possible with the their parents engaged in the effort to harness the goodness and “God given” gifts in every one of them, “The House of Hope, Rhode Island” are those believers, and their works are changing lives for the better. Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”.
Last year I wrote an article highlighting Rhode Island’s own South County based “House of Hope”, a residential ministry program branded and affiliated through a national organization founded by Sara Trollinger, where hurting and troubled teens come and learn to accept responsibility, embrace accountability, submit to authority, get along with peers and adults, and come to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So when my editor asked that I do a follow up promoting another family oriented event they were having, I immediately saw an opportunity to splash out some good to our young folks, and to give them “hope” rather than a message of failure as promoted by a modern media concerned more with ratings and dollars than the effects of what they produce on a young mind.
Here are just some of the House of Hope RI’s Program and Services.
- Affiliated with National House of Hope
- Licensed residential home in a loving family environment
- Parents actively involved through visits, counseling, and parenting classes
- Hope Academy principal works with your school to keep student on track to graduate
- Affordable program based on sliding scale income
- Outpatient counseling available for males and females
In keeping with the House of Hope’s message, this year’s conference will once again feature best selling Christian author, pastor and teacher, Eric Ludy, and will be held the weekend of November 7th and 8th, with doors opening at 6:00 PM on the 7th. “Eric serves as the President of Ellerslie Mission Society. He is also a teaching pastor at the Church at Ellerslie and the lead instructor in the Ellerslie Leadership Training. Eric is the bestselling author of more than a dozen books and a highly respected voice in the Church today. For the past sixteen years, Eric has been a popular speaker at colleges, conferences, and events, and has been a guest on nearly every major Christian radio platform. Eric has a strong passion for orphan advocacy, and is in the process of spearheading the development of an international orphan program that provides strong spiritual and academic training for vulnerable children around the world, with the goal of building orphans into world-impacting leaders. Eric and his wife Leslie have adopted two of their four children.”
When I spoke again with House of Hope RI Co-Founder Jane Stach by phone this past week, she explained that her mission was stronger than ever, and that she was getting ready to welcome Eric Ludy to town once again for (Thirsty), “a weekend conference that will super-charge your spiritual life, invigorate your faith, and cause you to fall in love with God and His Word like never before”. Jane hopes that she can entice even more young people to come and hear Eric speak, as he has an amazing way of connecting with today’s youth. Jane also said there will be break-out sessions where Eric will speak one on one with the boys, and his wife Leslie will likely Skype in for a session with the young ladies. Eric’s wife Leslie is the director of “setapartgirl“, “an internationally known ministry that equips young women to live out Christ-centered femininity.She is a bestselling author and speaker with a passion for pointing young women to Christ. She and Eric have published eighteen books with well over a million copies in print and with translations into over a dozen languages around the world. Over the past sixteen years, Eric and Leslie have shared their message around the country, overseas, and on Christian media platforms such as Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, and Moody Radio. They have become a strong voice in the Church today, especially on issues of Biblical sexuality, masculinity and femininity, prayer, and the deeper Christian life. The Ludy’s poignant books and powerful messages present a clarion call to return to triumphant, Bible-centered, Christ-empowered Christianity. Their recent works include “The Bravehearted Gospel, Wrestling Prayer, and The Lost Art of True Beauty“. Jane also asked that I add in that the House of Hope is sponsoring group counseling for girls in the upcoming months and that you may contact them via their website or call for more information. ”
So you can see the theme here I gather, in that the road away from the darkness and into the light begins with family. And that in the absence of those simple but oh so important Bible centered basics, that road will be unnecessarily more jagged and bumpy. In the end, the answers are indeed difficult, but equally simple. The challenge for we Christians who know the difference, comes in the question of action. Well, we may certainly take a page from the book of “House of Hope”, and from the Ludy’s, whose actions speak louder than the words of any political type telling you they “feel your pain”. Accordingly, supporting the efforts (and actions) of Jane Stach and her House of Hope team, as well as all those who pick up the pieces of shattered lives in crisis so they may nurture God’s gifts to all of us to their fullest potential, has to be the greatest of intentions when considering how best to effect the change we all claim to seek but seem to be missing…
“Putting people first has always been America’s secret weapon. It’s the way we’ve kept the spirit of our revolutions alive, a spirit that drives us to dream and dare, and take great risks for a greater good “— Ronald Reagan
Please help the House of Hope Rhode Island as they are in need of funding for their “East Greenwich House” project. Find out how at: http://houseofhoperi.org/new-englands-troubled-teens-need-house-of-hope-ri/
Also, reserve your seats for the “Thirsty” event featuring Eric Ludy on November 7th and 8th.
House of Hope RI Conference 2014″Thirsty” with Pastor Eric Ludy November 7-8, 2014. Seating is limited, so register on-line at: http://houseofhoperi.org/events-youll-love/house-of-hope-ri-conference-eric-ludy-thirsty/
You may also call or write: House of Hope Rhode Island, PO Box 1224, North Kingstown, RI 02852 or call (401) 378-6050.