Tossing Infants To The Wind

Tossing Infants To The Wind
The cry of my heart
   I have followed with pain and interest the constant reports in the southern New Mexico newspapers about the deaths and child abuse of small children over the past five years.  These are cases of serious injury and/or death to very small  children that were caused by the parenting adults living with the child.  In nearly every case, there was a working woman with one or more children, and a live in boyfriend that was freeloading off the woman.  The death or serious injury of a child that was participated in or allowed by the mother was caused by the live-in male.  A constant thread ran through the newspaper reports; the male in the house was called a “father” yet had no true responsibility for or had never bonded with the infant.  The infant began to cry while the mother was at work and the live-in male was supposed to be baby sitting.  It didn’t take long till the live in became angry and began to hurt the baby to keep it quiet.  Death was not far away.  It breaks my heart to see mothers of babies and small children move in a non-related man and allow him to have parental responsibilities, just because she wants a man in her bed. This is tossing infants to the wind.
  Last Sunday night at church we showed the new movie by Michael W. Smith, The Second Chance.   We had a packed sanctuary, and there was a standing ovation at the end and all kinds of interaction during the movie.  I have not witnessed that since the 1940s and a Roy Roger’s movie with Trigger and a Saturday afternoon matinee.  I would recommend that movie to every Christian whether they would like it or not.  We own the DVD, so if you missed, make arrangements.  The movie graphically portrayed the gigantic job the church has in helping to rebuild families and rescuing the perishing; the dangers, the challenges, and the necessity to rescue infants tossed to the wind.  That church is sure no place for wimps, weaklings, sissies, and lay-a-round couch potato Christians.
   In the 1960s Melba and I renamed our home The Black Foot Reservation.  We had qualified as a foster home and soon had a very special relationship with the Children’s Welfare group in Santa Fe.  Mrs. Augustine was an old fashioned children’s advocate.  She actually cared more for children than she did the system and the system’s rules.  We soon began to train children that had been abandoned, how to behave to be adopted.  Melba was a perfect match for the job.  We bought a duplex and took out walls and had a large home.  State Welfare, local judges, the police and friends stacked our home with wall to wall children.  The number changed almost daily.  I was often asked at work, “How many children are in your home?” I would reply, “I don’t know; I haven’t been home since breakfast.” Patsy Platero came to have a baby, and stayed to help with all the babies and children. These were children tossed to the wind. 
  Two of the boys became special.  They were the age of our son Danny, and the three boys became a triumvirate in mischief, at church and all around the house.  That fall, wise school officials put them in separate classes.  Teddy   and Brian (Donnie) were Navajo kids that had been tossed to the wind by alcoholic parents that ended up in the mortuary.  They both had been abandoned by family and had learned to graze on the desert.  A grasshopper never got a second hop if he landed near either boy.  Flowers were just another kind of survival food, and Teddy had a whole passel of blonde and black haired kids out having a mid morning snack at the flower garden before Melba took back over.   

   Teddy’s digestive system had been so messed up from grazing on grasshoppers, iris blossoms, geranium leaves, and a box of lard that he snuck out of the house for a midmorning snack, that he couldn’t eat arrowroot cookies without getting sick.  There are a great many physical ripples that are caused by tossing infants to the wind.  There are also psychological problems from tossing infants to the wind.  In a few years, Bryan-Don was in school and doing well; he loved to ride in my pickup.  One Saturday afternoon we went to get our mail at the post office.  From where we parked he could see our box  through the  glass doors of the government building.  I left him in the pickup and told him I would be right back.  He was screaming for me to come be with him before I had gone the ten feet to be at the glass door.  He was always afraid of being abandoned by Melba and I. When he went to Bible College in Dallas, he came home at Thanksgiving time and was upset that Dean had moved into his bedroom.  Yet, he had watched Dale, Lori, Linda, Danny all move out of the house and he got to move up the ladder with each move.  Till the day of his death, he never got over being tossed to the wind by alcoholic parents.
  One mother brought her sick infant to live with us. Her husband was a drunken farm worker somewhere in the west.  She had a half dozen kids to care for and was working two jobs to feed and care for them.  The Brethren in Christ hospital on the Checker Board had dismissed the infant as incurable.  There was no consensus as to what the cause of the child’s illness was, just that they could not heal her.  The mother could not care for the child at home and work two jobs. The oldest child at home was 11 and caring for the other children and getting them off to school.  Melba took the sick child and began to care for it.  She took it to the Carrie Tingley Children’s hospital that was then in Truth or Consequences; the doctors there could not help.  She ran the baby to Children Clinics in Denver and they sent her home to die.  One Saturday morning the mother came and asked Melba to take her to her doctor way out back of Largo Canyon.  There a medicine man treated the child and told Melba exactly what to do for the next few days.  That baby is well and a grandmother today.  We have been dealing a long time in rescuing infants tossed to the wind.  Not all physicians of note have sloppy handwriting and speak in Latin and Greek. 
  In the United States four and a half million children are living with their grandparents.  Their parents are in jail, dead, ran-a-way or strung out on drugs and alcohol; these are the lucky kids.  We have millions on the street in North and South America with no homes anywhere to go to.  There are probably as many children living in harms way, being the adult to alcoholic and/or drug strung out parent or parents in the home. Getting themselves off to school, cooking what is available, or stealing breakfast and lunch on the way to school.  Trying desperately to stay alive in a post modern, post Christian, neo-pagan world that is more concerned with the right to burn a flag, and to be able to curse in public (free speech, you know) than they are in keeping children alive and well.  Thank the Good Lord there are churches with bus and van ministries that will pick them up on Sunday, feed them some cookies before Bible School, and attempt to teach them from the Word of God.  Their parents will get mad at the church and keep them from coming soon enough; we just do what we can, while we can, before they are tossed to the wind.
   There is a very interesting final verse to the account of Jonah in the Old Testament.  You would probably understand this verse better if you read the last five chapters of Job before you read the last verse of Jonah.  Let me give you the Reader’s Digests version.  God had an argument with Satan in heaven, and God bragged about Job who God claimed was blameless, righteous and upright in his generation.  Job was also fantastically wealthy.  Satan said that his goodness was based on all that God had given him.  God said, “No, he was basically good.”  A horrible few weeks followed.  Near the end God appeared in a whirlwind (storm) and asked Job 64 questions that Job could not answer.  In these questions we get a great picture of God and how much God loves all his creation.  If you have not read Job recently, or if you have a tendency to get lost in the windiness of the four friends, read it again in The Message by Eugene Peterson.  Now go to Jonah 4:11, “But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left hand, and many cattle as well.  Should I not be concerned about that great city?” The Message  paraphrase reads this way, “This big city of more than a hundred and twenty thousand childlike people who didn’t yet know right from wrong, to say nothing of all the innocent animals.”  I guess my point here is made from my study of archeology and the fact that the inner walled city of Nineveh would have housed less than a hundred thousand people.  The outer walled city, that in today’s language we would call the suburbs and exurbs, was populated with near a half million.  I guess that the 120,000 figure was the children that had not yet come to an age of accountability in the total area, and God did not want them destroyed with the city and sent Jonah to preach, calling for repentance.  Jonah had a rough voyage, a “whale” of a time, proved even great fish could not stomach a back slider. He got puked up on the shore and given a second chance.  God is the God of second chances.  He was fantastically successful, the whole city repented, and Jonah was pouting and angry at God and man.  God, trying to explain his concern in saving the city, I believe is pointing to 120,000 children and many animals that were guiltless in the cities great sin.  No need to toss the innocent to the wind.  Jesus throughout the Gospels is found taking little children on His lap and blessing them, saying to those around Him, “Unless you become as one of these little children you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”(Matthew 18:1-9).  Then there is that whole messy bit about millstones about your neck. 
   Hear it well, “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  We have always been comfortable with interpreting that; those needing millstones are people that do incest, pedophiles, child pornographers, children sex slave traders and the like.  But what about ordinary garden variety church members and boards of elders and deacons that have buildings worth hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars, electricity all paid for with water, bathrooms and heat and air conditioning that do not open their doors up to the children being tossed to the wind in the world. They should go out and find them, bus them, drive them, coax them, into coming to church with cookies, pay their way to camp. See that they have what they need for school and church.  Is it possible that if we don’t do that, and we don’t expend the fantastic wealth that churches have in the United States today, we would qualify for the mill stones as well? Think about it! I guess it would be fair to call it child abuse by neglect.
  What about non-church involved parents that use every excuse to keep their kids out of church.  Ground the sick from the medicine chest.  Parents that are horrible examples to their kids, and Satan’s best allies to keep the kids from total involvement with God and the kingdom.  What size mill stone do they qualify for? 
  What about the church growth movement that is wanting to carve more and larger notches on their gospel six-shooters and are more concerned with growth, size, and appearance to the community locally and nationwide than they are about a single child that has been tossed to the wind by careless parents in a bad neighborhood that can’t bring any recognition to their fast track to a mega church; what size mill stone to they get?
  What size mill stone does Agape get when we are more concerned with having our way in moral disobedience than we are with the moral teaching of our children, the outreach to the neighbor kids our children are bringing?  Are we more concerned about our nap time than we are about the proper time to reach out to the youth with a teaching program like “Look What God Is Doing” or the Youth in the Park program, or Friday Night Fire?  What about adults that are personally knowledgeable about the Lord and are doing nothing to promote our youth; what size mill stone do we deserve? 
  What are we to do about all the infants, children, and youth that are tossed to the wind in our community?  Brother Herb can only spend so many hours a day in reaching out.  Every family needs to take it upon themselves to see that their neighbors have an opportunity to miss Hell, and get on the Lord’s side.  We need to equip ourselves in the Word of God.  We need as a people to rush out into our environs and catch as many of those infants, kids, youth being tossed to the wind as we can, and rescue them in our home, our church and our community.
  Rome had a law, unwanted children could be taken to the city dump and allowed to die of hunger, thirst, or exposure.  First century Christians would make daily forays through the salvage and bring home the still living babies and rear them in their home as their own. That is how the early Christians defeated their pagan world.  Could we do less in our neo-pagan world?