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Children — Not For Sale

There is no more horrible sin or crime than the abuse of children, in any of its ugly manifestations. Yet, do you ever wonder whether the things we allow to happen to our children, and their treatment in so many ways, represent even further forms of child abuse?

I am rounding out the week at the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park. One of the two such annual events chaired by Marlene Bagnull (the other is in Philadelphia in August), this conference is a magnet for veteran writers, aspiring writers, editors, and publishers. It overflows with practical training and teaching, but not the least of its offerings – and blessings – is the spiritual uplift.

Despite this economy, registration was higher this year then last year. Creative people are more passionate about telling God’s story (“Writing His Message,” from Habakkuk 2:2) than ever! And there is a message to tell.

The theme of this year’s conference, for the morning and evening sessions and keynotes, was the crisis in the culture, writers being engaged to save our nation.

It struck me that over the course of the week, no matter what the focus, there was a unifying theme. Of course the decaying culture, and other obvious headlines, connected the dots of all the talks and presentations. But an underlying subtext – one that should grieve us all – became evident in spite of ourselves.

To speak about decline in morals and the media… we recognize that children are prime targets.

To speak about human trafficking… children are the victims.

To speak about the AIDs crisis in Africa… children suffer as the infected AND as orphans.

To speak about the persecuted church worldwide… children are the battleground of cultures suppressing Christianity.

In America –- drugs: children. Education: children. Pornography: children. Poverty: children. Homelessness: children. Broken homes: children. Abortion: children.

It is a cliché to say that children are our future. But clichés are clichés because they are, first of all, true. However, children do not HAVE to be the first-in-line victims of a culture in decline. But they are. They cannot defend themselves; they believe what the culture tells them; they are the most vulnerable.

Let us remember the children –- care for them, protect them, cleanse their environment. If one generation messed up, maybe the best thing we can do –- not the only thing, but surely the BEST thing -– is beg forgiveness and leave them a better world.

Here is a tender lullaby, “Slumber My Darling,” written more than 150 years ago by a man I am increasingly persuaded was America’s greatest composer, Stephen Foster. It is performed by Alison Kraus, (amazing) vocals; and YoYo Ma; Mark O’Connor; Joshua Bell; and Edgar Meyer. The images are by the amazing Beanscot Channel.

Click: Slumber, My Darling

Rick Marschall is the author of more than 60 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia Magazine called him “perhaps America’s foremost authority on popular culture”) to history and criticism; country music, television history, biography and children’s books. He is a former political cartoonist, editor of Marvel Comics, and writer for Disney comics. For 10 years he has been active in the Christian field, writing devotionals; co-authoring The Secret Revealed with Dr Jim Garlow; and writing a biography of Johann Sebastian Bach for the “Christian Encounters” series to be published by Thomas Nelson (2011). Rick is a former Director of Product Development for Youth Specialties. He is recipient of the 2008 “Christian Writer of the Year” award from the Greater Philadelphia Writer’s Conference, and produces a weekly e-mail devotional, “Monday Morning Music Ministry.” His e-mail address is:

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