Thursday, March 22, 2018

The real reason Geoffry lost his lob, part 2

In part 1, I noted the direct quotes from Toys R Us executives correlating their decline in sales to the decreased number of children in areas where their retail stores exist.  As stated, we often quickly jump to abortion as the source.  And while it is certainly a factor it in itself is not the source but rather a symptom.

It should come as no surprise that the attitude towards children in the U.S. is about as consistent Joel Olsteen's actual use of the Bible.  You know, he waives it around but could really just care less.  People give lip-service to the cuteness of babies and the adorable nature of children when they perform precious acts.  But when it comes to the general approach to children, at least in the western world, the attitude is found to be one of selfishness.

For those of us in America, we live in a culture of self.  Life revolves around what you can get out of it for the best of your benefit.  Helping others is usually only beneficial if it makes you feel good or you can pat yourself on the back.  I am reminded of how Christ addressed this in Luke 6:32-34.

"If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount."

So how does this relate to children?  Most couples decide to have children based on how it will affect their personal goals.  Reasoning such as "We want to travel and see lots of different places and having kids right now just wouldn't fit in the plan" or "I really need to work on my career because I've already dedicated so much time and education toward it" are prime examples.  But let's not forget the psuedo-humble reasons that are just selfishness cloaked as humility:  "We need to get to know each other better first before we bring children into the world" or "We need to establish a strong marriage so we can be strong parents".

But how does this measure up to Scripture?  In Psalm 127:3-5 we see a glimpse of how children are to be viewed:

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

Children are a "reward" from God.  Imagine if God wanted to "reward" you with money, land, or health.  Would you still have the same response by replying to God that now is just not a good time?  Probably not!

Christian documentaries like "Birth Control" have helped to show the trend of apathy towards children and the incline of selfish living over the past century, particularly among Christians.  Should we then be so surprised because "as goes the church, so goes the culture"?  Looking even more practically at this on the local church level is more revealing.

How many churches have you visited where children are ushered off into nurseries and "children's church" shortly after the worship service begins (and in some cases, before it even starts)?  Sure, there are some who say that kids need to be taught on their own level of understanding and I definitely appreciate that sentiment.  But this simply doesn't pan out in Scripture.  Children are expected and assumed to be in the assembly of God's people (Ezra 8:1, 2; Ephesians 6:1).  But we are now more informed on the role of children in family and church by the world than we are Scripture.

As goes the church, so goes the culture!

Toys R Us didn't suddenly experience a massive loss of consumers (children).  It has been trending that way for a century now and only started tanking AFTER Roe v. Wade.  Abortion isn't the problem, it's only a result of the problem.  The problem is our attitude towards children and the selfish sinfulness that pervades the world around us which has also found its way in the lives of some Christians.

The following articles are further expansions of this topic:

A unified assembly

Are children a financial burden to great to bare

For His glory,

Friday, March 16, 2018

The real reason Geoffry lost his job, part 1

Most of us grew up on the joy of watching commercials like these:

Who didn't look forward to tearing through the Toys R Us catalogue (that was our version of Google for those who just scratched their head in wonder) and seeing the new, glistening toys just waiting for us?  Geoffrey the giraffe was their mascot and your best buddy.  This warm, loving character was ready to escort you down the aisles of toy wonderland.  I remember the few times I visited the store as a kid.  The sheer elation and amazement of seeing a store solely dedicated to toys and fun was beyond my wildest dreams.

But never in any of those dreams would I have imagined Geoffrey losing his job as Toys R Us was forced to start closing their doors.

What happened?
There are many factors that play into the reasons big box stores such as these close down.  The availability of products through online retailers such as Amazon and the ever-expanding stores of Target and Wal-Mart that increase their shelf sizes are both believed to be attributing factors.  But a recent article from the Washington Post revealed something even more devastating that Toys R Us admitted was a primary factor:

"The decrease of birthrates in countries where we operate could negatively affect our business. Most of our end-customers are newborns and children and, as a result, our revenue are dependent on the birthrates in countries where we operate. In recent years, many countries’ birthrates have dropped or stagnated as their population ages, and education and income levels increase. A continued and significant decline in the number of newborns and children in these countries could have a material adverse effect on our operating results."

Stop and think about that for a moment in regards to the U.S.  Their target audience (children) is shrinking so drastically that it has directly affected their business and forced them to shut their doors.

It comes as no surprise that birth rates in the U.S. have been on the steady decline for decades.  As noted in a LA Times article:

"The total number of babies born in the U.S. last year (2016) was 3,941,109. That’s 37,388 fewer babies than were born in the U.S. in 2015, which represents a 1% decline...the total fertility rate for American women was 1,818 births per 1,000 women. That’s the lowest it has been since 1984.  In order for a generation to exactly replace itself, the total fertility rate needs to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women. The U.S. has been missing that mark since 1971 (though the country’s population has grown due to immigration)." (emphasis added)

Look at the last sentence again:  "The U.S. has been missing that mark since 1971."  The rise of feminism leading up to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision (which was passed by a majority Republican vote I might add) is undeniably a factor.

Some would say that Toys R Us shot themselves in the proverbial foot when they started funding Planned Parenthood.  But others touted how Life Site News noted in a 2010 article that the company was among others who ceased their funding of the mass-abortion machine.

Lest we be too quick to praise, Toys R Us does continue to support the Susan G. Komen foundation which itself funnels money to Planned Parenthood.  Whether the executives realize this or not, they do continue to contribute to the slaughter of innocent children and therefore are still partly to blame for literally killing off their customers.

Every Christian just read the above portion and may have shouted "AMEN BROTHER...PREACH!"  But hold you horses for just a moment because it is going to get a little bumpy.  There is an underlying issue that we tend to overlook:  The overall attitude in our country towards children.
I'll continue with how we as Christians are also to blame in this regard as well in part 2 of "The real reason Geoffrey lost his job".

For Christ and His glory,