Bible, Christianity, faith, Family, religion

Good Bones Will Last

“Daddy, I had a weird dream last night”, a son said to his father one morning.

“What did you dream about?”, asked his dad.

“I dreamed that I looked out the front door and all I could see was fog, nothing else at all. It just looked like a gray wall. I went to find you to show you and when we looked outside, it was clear. Then we look in the sky. The sky was dark but there was patch of really bright color in the sky that looked like a flat rainbow. As we watched, the rainbow made itself into the shape of a fish. There was even a black circle in it for an eye. It stayed there for a while and then started turning around. As it turned around it gradually turned itself into the skeleton of the fish but still had the black eye. What does that mean? It was really weird.”

“Well, son, dreams are hard to explain. They usually represent something and it’s tricky to figure out sometimes”, said the dad, “but this is what I think. The rainbow represents God’s promise to us never to destroy the earth by water again. The fish symbol was used by early Christians to identify themselves to each other. Some people in Jesus’s time were afraid of Him because they didn’t want to lose their power if he was truly the Son of God, the King of Israel, the expected Messiah. They didn’t want to be taken over. The people that truly believed in Him were in danger of harm from the ones that hated him, so in order for them to be able to continue spreading the Good News of Jesus without being killed, they used a fish as their identification. They would draw a fish in the sand to let other Christians know they were there. The fish became a universal symbol of Christianity, something like the cross, only not quite as important”.

“Is that why I see those metal fish on cars and that symbol on religious things?”, said the boy.

“Yes”, said his dad. “When the people who were afraid of him crucified Jesus on the cross, he died, and his followers took his body and buried it in a cave. When they came back to see him three days later, he was gone”.

“Right, because he arose from the dead”, said the son.

“Exactly”, said his dad, “but his physical death did not not keep his disciples from passing on to other people all the things He taught them about, like God’s love, salvation, right and wrong, good and evil, sin, and how to have eternal life in Heaven with God. They wrote letters to different cities with all of Jesus teachings and asked the people to make sure they passed it on to others”.

“The Bible”, said the son.

“Yes, his father acknowledged. “I believe your fish bones represent the Bible. You can remove the flesh from a fish but if you don’t destroy the bones by picking them apart and cutting them up, they will stay good bones. The Bible is ‘good bones’ for Christians to study and live by. It is the Word of God for the people of God and we must live by what it teaches us. If we try to pick it apart and make it different than what it is just so it suits us, it’s no longer the bones of our faith, it’s whatever structure people want to make it. We can’t let that happen. The Bible is God’s law, son, and we must obey his law. The world will try to fog our view of God’s promise and His word, so when we think we can’t see His way for awhile, like through the fog in your dream, we have to take a step back and then look at it again. God will be there because He never leaves us, just like the eye never disappeared whether it was on the rainbow fish or the skeleton. He is always watching over us. We have to spread His Word and become fishers of people, just as He asked of us. Good dream, son”.

Yes, this was my real dream last night. I had to share it with you.

Adoption, Blood relatives, Children, Family, Love, Nature Vs Nurture

What Really Defines a Family?

What defines family? Except for physical similarities, bloodlines don’t always completely do it. I’m writing a book for which I have researched the “nature vs nurture” theories, albeit in terms of criminal behavior, which is not the topic I am addressing today. The bottom line of what I learned, though, is that nurture is more important in determining the person one becomes than nature. Of course, we can’t disregard genetic influences, as they are undeniably part of who we are, but what goes on within and outside the walls of a family dwelling are paramount in building a child’s character and establishing who they are ultimately to become.

This is even evident among animals. Take pit bulls for example. They are maligned as being a dangerous breed of animal, and it’s true that they can be more easily trained to be protective or aggressive than other breeds, but given the proper supportive environment, they can be loving and loyal family members.

Adopted children are every bit as much a part of a family as biological children. Half-siblings can love each other just as much as those with mutual parents. Even step siblings, with no biological roots, can find that bond. Think about this: Married couples don’t have common blood, at least we hope not, but their bond is as strong as it comes, sometimes even greater than with their own parents. They are family.

Families can have common blood running through everyone’s veins, they may have partially common blood or no common blood at all. A family is not just about shared DNA; it’s about shared experiences, overcoming disagreements, battling trials together, sharing laughter and good times, supporting each other through painful times, and being familiar with, and accepting of, the good, the bad, and the ugly in all of us. No, a family doesn’t necessarily have to be all about blood. A family is about love.