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What lies at the root of the political and economic problems America faces? In this month’s cover story, economist Walter Williams believes Americans have accepted an immoral and dangerous idea: That the government ought to forcibly take resources from some Americans and give them to others.

In a related article, Samaritan member Israel Wayne presents a Biblical rationale for why government should not be involved in health care. Like Williams, he says Americans have come to accept taking from one group of people to give to another as charity, when it is actually theft.

Finally, Sally Pipes looks at the latest push for single-payer health care.

Rob Slane challenges fathers to think about this truth: Every father is constantly presenting to his children a message about what our Heavenly Father is like. Is what you are presenting true or false?

The Member Spotlight features Samaritan Board Member Joe Musser and his wife, Susanna. The Mussers also share about how God led them to special-needs adoption and why they chose Samaritan for their health care needs.

David Lehnert reviews Dr. Thomas Levy’s book Stop America’s #1 Killer! It presents often overlooked or suppressed evidence of the role that vitamin C deficiency plays in all the risk factors for heart disease.

In The Doorpost, Ray King urges us to find the narrow path, no matter what others are doing, in a reflection on Matthew 7:13-14.

 

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The high cost of fatherhood

Portrait of father and son

By Rob Slane

Many sociologists and politicians tell us that the number of homes where the father is absent is one of the biggest problems facing society. Very often they present the problem merely in terms of sheer numbers and statistics: “The number of households where there is no father present from the child’s birth has risen from X to Y in 40 years.” “The number of children entering their teens with their parents still married is now just X amount, compared to Y amount just 30 years ago.” “Children who grow up in homes where the mother and father remain married are X times more likely to get better grades and be productively employed than those children who grow up in homes where this is not the case.”

These types of statistics are quite true. There has been a massive increase in fatherlessness, and this has had devastating consequences for children, families, and society as a whole. The explosion in the divorce rate in the past half century has sown a vast number of problems which are perhaps only beginning to produce a result.

However, there is a danger with this kind of statistical approach that can lead us to believe that the problem is simply a lack of fathers. To put it another way, we can come to see fatherlessness as simply a quantitative problem—lack of fathers—and then conclude the solution is only that more fathers are needed. While the quantitative side of the fatherlessness problem is real, it is not the be all and end all of the issue. In fact, it only scratches the surface. In addition to the quantitative need for more fathers, there is also a qualitative issue that analysts often miss.

The problem isn’t just one of a lack of fathers in homes—crucial as this is—rather, it is also about the engagement of fathers with their families. Here’s another way of looking at it. Politicians and employers often bemoan the “skills gap” in the workforce. Let’s take the field of engineering, where they will say: “We need X amount of engineers to fix the engineering skills gap.” No doubt we do need more engineers, but what if no one were to question what type of engineers are needed? Although there truly is a shortage of engineers in the workforce, if we were to train up masses of civil engineers in a region, only to find that the actual need of that regional economy is really for chemical engineers, we wouldn’t have solved the problem. This same principle is true in the realm of fatherhood.

We ought not to suppose that fatherlessness per se is the root problem to solve, but to consider the deeper aspects of fatherhood. It is highly likely that one reason we have an epidemic of fatherless homes today is that in the day when most fathers were still in the home, many fathers failed to grasp all that fatherhood involved. Certainly most men grasped that being a father meant providing for their family and protecting their family—which is well and good—but unfortunately many men didn’t go beyond this incomplete understanding of their roles as husbands and fathers.

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Joe and Susanna Musser and family

By Michael Miller

Joe and Susanna Musser are passionate about their faith, and that passion extends to all areas of their life.

The Mussers, who live in New Providence, Pennsylvania, are passionate about family life, adoption of special-needs children, homeschooling, family-integrated fellowships, and, of course, health care sharing.

That last passion is chiefly what led Joe to run for and be elected to Samaritan Ministries’ Board of Directors in 2013. His two years on the Board has confirmed what he says he suspected since the Mussers had become members in 2008.

“There’s a unity and a dedication of the Board members,” Joe says. “It’s obvious that God has brought it together, God has designed it.”

That design extends to the way Samaritan does health care sharing as well, Joe believes.

“It’s the most accountable form of sharing, being direct from member to member,” he says.

Joe also appreciates the desire by the Board to be attentive to the needs of members.

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mussers at table

By Michael Miller

Joe and Susanna Musser and their family live in a Pennsylvania town called New Providence. For them, it might as well be Constant Providence.

God is always working through them. That has been no more evident than in the development of their family.

verityThe news in 2010 that the Mussers’ 10th child had Down syndrome sparked a passion that has led to multiple children with various special needs being blessed.

It started with Susanna’s blog, “The Blessing of Verity,” which chronicles Verity’s development as well as other family events.

“This was our first introduction to the world of special needs, something we were ignorant about,” Susanna says.

Blogging about Verity led to questions from readers about adoption of special-needs children, with Susanna researching answers. One day that research turned up a video clip of an NBC report on a mental institution in Serbia that warehoused special-needs children and young adults in nightmarish conditions.

“That was really a pivotal thing for Joe and me to see,” Susanna says. “Our hearts were broken for children who are being institutionalized all across Europe simply because they had been born with special needs,” Susanna says. “Here we had our precious, little baby girl (Verity) with Down syndrome, this little sunshine, and just the thought of her having to endure these conditions was horrifying to us. That’s what God used to open our hearts to adoption.”

That open heart became a clear mandate.

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Why SMI-

Joe Musser first heard about health care sharing from a pastor when he was a teen.

“It seemed like something that I wanted to do,” Joe says.

He wasn’t able to do it for several years, though. As an assistant pastor for eight years and then a head pastor for eight years, his denomination provided health insurance.

“They didn’t give me a whole lot of say in it,” he says.

When Joe left the full-time pastorate and became full time in his father’s construction business, however, he needed to find a way to pay for his family’s health care.

“It was an opportunity for me to move over to where I principally had wanted to be ever since I heard about it, which was health care sharing,” he says.

The Mussers joined Samaritan in 2008 after researching the various ministries.

“Samaritan Ministries was the only one we could see where you had member-to-member sharing directly,” Joe says. “That was important to us. The deeper we looked into it, the more we realized it was a group that was looking to do things according to what the Bible would teach.”

The Mussers soon found out how health care sharing worked on a large scale. Their daughter, Verity, was born in 2010 with Down syndrome and a heart defect, needing urgent surgery at only 5 weeks of age. A Samaritan Guideline limiting sharing for congenital defects had been changed a short time before, and members were able to share 100 percent of the cost of the surgery, close to $200,000.

“We were very encouraged because we could see that it was a way that our Christian brothers and sisters in Samaritan Ministries were always looking at the Guidelines and saying, ‘What is it that we could do better? What could we do that helps meet the needs of the other believers in Samaritan?’” Joe says. “We appreciate that. Insurance is all about, ‘What can we avoid paying for?’”

Samaritan’s monthly mailing also gives the Mussers “the tools of having someone to pray for during the month as we share with them and also follow the prayer guide.”

Sharing needs also stands as a witness to their children.

“When the needs are being met and the family sees the cards coming and the checks coming, and understands the prayers that stand behind those, in all those ways Samaritan Ministries is helping to model for the entire family what Christian fellowship and what Christian sharing is Biblically supposed to be,” Joe says. “You can see it in your local fellowship, but it’s encouraging for them to see outside of a local fellowship that Christians around the world through Samaritan Ministries are doing this—living it out.”

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