Friday, August 15, 2008

Picking Out a China Pattern

We do a lot of work with couples getting married - premarital education and counseling. If they are already engaged, they are consumed with preparing for the wedding. They spend time getting registered for different items at Target, Dillards, etc.

Usually they register for a particular china. They go look at different patterns - what does the plate look like in this pattern? What about the cup and saucer, the bowls? What kind of serving pieces come with it? The pattern determines how all of the rest of the pieces will look.

With the Olympics, the China pattern takes on a new meaning. The basic beliefs and values of their country determine the pattern of their lives. With the dictators of the last few decades, they have indoctrinated the people with the belief that there is no God. If there is no God, who determines the values and to whom are the people accountable?

Their country has decided that the political leaders determine the values and that they are the only ones to whom everyone must be accountable. Their values are based on what they believe is best for their country and its image.

If that is the basis of their value system, it easily follows that they add computer generated fireworks to make sure they show up and look they way they want them to. It is in the best interest of the country to use the best Chinese child voice to go with the best Chinese child face. It is in their best interest to make passports to verify the age of their young gymnastic girls, so that they can compete whether those ages are accurate or not.

It is sad to me that they don't believe that they have the ability to present a great culture and a great people without being deceptive. I think it is an insult to their people. And it only brings more distrust from the rest of the world when we see the China pattern.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Picture of God's Love

While I was watching the Olympics, I saw one of those personal interest stories that grabbed my attention. The story was about Oksana Chusovitina (from the former USSR, now living in Germany) and her son. ( She won a gold medal in 1992 and is now one of the oldest gymnastic competitors at the age of 31.

In the special feature, she told about the story about her son who developed leukemia. She said:
When a child is born, everything in life changes. You live for someone else. I would give my entire life for him.

You live for someone else. You live for someone else.

Those simple sentences express the heart of most parents for their children. How often do the children realize that concept? I remember when our grandson was born last year. Our son said "Everything is different now." He suddenly saw all of life differently. He saw us, his parents, differently.

As Christians, we are children of God. If those sentences express the heart of a fallible human, how much more do they express the heart of a perfect God? Not only would He give His entire life for us, He did give His life for us. How often do we consider God's heart for us as we go through everyday life?

Oskana ran into a road block in getting treatment for her son in her native country, so she began searching her gymnastic community to find help. Though friends in Germany helped Oksana find a place for Alisher's treatment, she was uninsured and had no way to pay for it. A the 2002 French International in Paris, an announcement was made about Oksana's situation and the global gymnastics community rallied, donating enough money (about $200,000, including a large sum from Liukin's World Olympic Gymnastics Academy) to defray the costs of his treatment and allow Oksana to stay in Germany with her son. Though the contributions helped, Oksana continued to compete because prize money she earned financed his care. "If I don't compete then my son won't live; it's as simple as that," the 27-year-old Chusovitina told Reuters in 2002.

God's devotion to each of us far exceeds what any mother or father would do for their child.