The Norman Transcript


March 20, 2014

Teenagers who lack faith in God

NORMAN — What do you tell teenagers who do not believe in God?

Lead by Example

Rabbi Mark H. Levin, Congregation Beth Torah: Teenagers rebel in all cultures and throughout time. But they are peculiarly sensitive to hypocrisy and observe their parents’ actions closely. I don’t worry about teens who don’t believe in God. The teenager’s theology won’t remain forever.

Teens require experiences of adults they admire who believe and act with sincerity. I advise adults to act absolutely consistently according to their cherished values.

There’s an old Aramaic expression, “Tokho k’baro,” meaning “His insides are like his outsides:” Performing with integrity.

Well-meaning parents often act hypocritically. Some encourage education for their children but never pick up a book themselves. Some demand children be friendly, then criticize family members unmercifully behind their backs. Some expect children to believe in God, but never pray, give to charity or lend a helping hand without being asked and thanked.

Parents should try crediting God with their own achievements, praying in off moments and modestly, and sacrificing for the sake of others without expectation of reward. These actions testify to our faith in a creator who watches our actions and expects us to rise to God’s expectations.

Those who lead by example are most likely to pass their values on to others. Take joy in God’s presence. Don’t berate God for human failures. Rejoice in life, giving credit to God, and your children will be impressed with your joy in living.

Look for Causes

The Rev. Betty Hanna-Witherspoon, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church: There is no one first thing that I say. I do, however, try to bring together what I know of the parents, the child, his age, the studies she may be pursuing and the family’s grounding in their faith.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Hnsen Luger Kate Hansen still riding the Olympic cloud

    Not many people can say they actually accomplished their lifetime dreams. Even less can say they did it before turning 22....

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tests of a living faith

    We recently started a study on Wednesday nights of the letter James wrote to the church. This Bible book is a practical guide to Christian living, but more than that, it really forces one to think honestly about their faith. Is your faith ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Which Bible bit is most misinterpreted?

    The Rev. Scott Gordon, Claycomo Baptist Church: Many passages vie for consideration, but the first “bit” that came to mind we find in Matthew 7:1-6 and Romans 2:1-5....

    July 24, 2014

  • CAIR-OK plans day of service

    The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will join Mercy Youth Club and IST Youth at the fourth annual Ramadan Day of Service Saturday....

    July 18, 2014

  • Guest preacher and author to speak

    The Reverend Dr. James White will preach, as well as discuss, his new book, “Brief Christian Histories: Getting a Sense of Our Long Story,” this Sunday at First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster. White will preach at both 8:40 and 10:45 ...

    July 18, 2014

  • Life on earth is a vapor

    The last of the baby boomers turn 50 this year. This generation of Americans, born from 1946-1964, is named after the post-World War II “baby boom.” I am a baby boomer and as one of the “late boomers,” one of the last to turn 50 — ...

    July 17, 2014

  • What does a bird ‘alone on a housetop’ mean

    Reassurance of God’s mercy The Rev. Betty Hanna-Witherspoon, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church: This verse, Psalm 102:7, has a notation in the New Living Translation, “A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the ...

    July 17, 2014

  • Hillsboro resident’s first CD will benefit Haiti missions

    When Angie Sawyer's son passed away at age 5 she tried several ways to deal with her grief. But none of them worked, she said, until she turned to God. So to tell her story, she recently recorded her first CD, “On The Right Track.” All ...

    July 10, 2014

  • Anti-bias order creates rift

    In the intensifying debate over religious liberty, President Barack Obama faces pressure from opposite flanks as he prepares to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against gay and transgender people in ...

    July 10, 2014

  • Is anything really free?

    We have just celebrated the nation’s 238th birthday. We are extremely proud of and attached to freedom. The Founding Fathers wrote into the founding documents practical truths that make those freedoms attainable. I love the fact that they ...

    July 10, 2014