Cause and Effect

Don’t blame Madalyn Murray O’Hair.  Blame me. Or Michael Jordan

Surely you’ve come across people who decry the Supreme Court case that threw prayer out of public schools. The case was styled Abington v. Shempp 374 U.S. 203 (1963), but this case was merged with O’Hair’s case (Murray v. Curlett).  In June of 1963 the court rendered the decision that it is unconstitutional to have public prayer in public schools.

Many people have been blaming America’s moral slide ever since on this decision.  I invite you not to blame the Supreme Court or Madalyn Murray O’Hair.  Blame me, or Michael Jordan – we were both born that year, so the fault ma be ours.Or perhaps American moral decline is to be blamed on JFK’s assassination.  That, too, happened in 1963.

On the other hand, S.A.T. scores reverse a 19 year decline in 1981, the year that those of us born in 1963 graduated.

Claiming cause and effect can be dangerous.

Here is another example to prove my point:  I was visiting with a 13 year old the other day.  He explained to me that the 3 years since the night that he “gave his life to God” have gotten continuously worse.  He has been removed from his family, and, as dysfunctional as his family is, he wishes he could go back there because then, he thinks, he can at least protect his sister.

I want to help this young man learn that his life hasn’t fallen apart because that one night he said a prayer.

Just a couple of weeks ago I posted about narrative youth ministry. There I cited Chris Folmsbee who defined it as being “to participate in God’s restoration of the world toward its intended wholeness.”

The day before I posted that, my friend Jason Valendy, commented on my post from that day:

If we remember the past through stories, then perhaps you are hearing a dominate problem story of the past. Are there other stories which are told along side these dominate stories which you may not hear, forgotten, or are buried?

This is where my hope is for this young man, for myself, and, honestly, for everyone who blames America’s moral decline on MadalynMurray O’Hair: That we can find ourselves and our stories within the larger, older, and deeper story of God seeking to restore God’s good creation!

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2 thoughts on “Cause and Effect

  1. I am not one to push comics, but I could not resist this cause and effect gig.

    http://www.xkcd.com/552/

    If you are a nerd, you should get it. If you do not get it then you are way cooler than me.

    But just as you say, cause and Correlation are different… very different.

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