Investiture Achievement/Spiritual Discovery Discussion
Don't forget each Pathfinder needs to study the topic before your discussion, so assign your Pathfinders this task to do before the meeting. You might require that they bring at least three printed articles to the discussion to ensure they studied and to help move the discussion along.
This topic list is repeated in both Voyager-Spiritual Discovery and Guide-Spiritual Discovery so consider combining your Guides and Voyagers for these discussions, and discussing different topics than last year. Note there are five topics and that two different topics need to be covered in each of the two classes, so by time they complete Guide the Pathfinder will have discussed at least four of the five topics.
Nearly 3 in 10 teen girls in the US will get pregnant at least once before age 20? The statistics are just as bad in the UK, Canada and other countries, if not worse. There are more than 700,000 teen pregnancies each year just in the United States!
As a Pathfinder, what does this mean? Teens hear about the dangers of teen pregnancy but it remains a problem. Why are so many teens still getting pregnant every year and what can we do about it?
At the right time babies are fantastic. We all love their cute and cuddly ways. But babies are so much nicer when you can hand them back to the responsible adult parent. Babies are expensive and demanding.
Pathfinders and supposed to be true and pure which means not having sex outside marriage, but what if you do have sex? What are the consequences of getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy? According to research almost 50% of teens have never thought about how a pregnancy would affect their lives, yet a baby will be one of the most life-changing things to happen to a person.
Consider these consequences:
1. You will drop out of school.
Having a baby is the Number One reason teen girls leave school without finishing. It is very hard to juggle homework and a baby's needs. Less than 50% of teen mothers EVER graduate from high school and fewer than 2% earn a college degree by age 30. Teen pregnancy kills education for the mother and a lack of education kills opportunities and earnings for life.
2. Your kids will do poorly in school.
For a variety of reasons kids of teen mothers do worse in school than those born to older parents. Poverty and lack of education in the home causes this. Kids with teen mothers are 50% more likely to repeat a grade. The are less likely to complete high school (even years after their moms are no longer teens), and perform lower on standardized tests. They are also more likely to become teen parents themselves and live in poverty.
3. One baby leads to another.
Teen pregnancy factors, like low self esteem, lead to about 25% of teen moms becoming pregnant again with a second child within 24 months of the first child. It seems that some girls can't learn from their first mistake. The second child makes it even harder to stay in school or stay out of poverty.
4. Babies don't keep boys around.
Babies make boys run, period. They don't make relationships stronger, because they introduce more stress. It does not matter what he promises you or how much he says he loves you. Chances are you are going to raise the baby on your own. 8 out of 10 fathers don't marry the teen mother of their child. In the USA, absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support, often because they are also poor and can’t afford legitimate support payments or they choose other priorities.
5. It’s hard in the parents, and the kids.
More than half of all mothers on welfare today had their first child as a teenager and two-thirds of families begun by a young, unmarried mother are poor today. Teen pregnancy breeds poverty and trouble. Kids living without the father at home are 5 times more likely to be in poverty.
A daughter born to a teenage mother is 3 times more likely to become a teen mother herself compared to girls born to mature parents. A son born to a teenage mother is twice as likely to end up in prison as a son born to a stable family.
6. It is not fun for the boys either.
Getting a girl pregnant will destroy your life. You will be tied to that girl for at least the next 18 years whether you want to be in her life or not. Being a dad will damage your opportunity to date good girls - the good ones don't want a loser who can't control himself and they don't want to end up like the girl you got pregnant. You get to pay child support, and if you can't afford it, you will feel like a loser. Child support tends to cut your opportunity to go to college. And when you find a girl to marry how is she going to feel about part of your paycheck going off to another woman?
How can you prevent teen pregnancy?
- Avoid getting heavily involved emotionally until you are at least out of high school. False feelings of love by those who are not mature enough to love like an adult leads to baby making.
- Guard yourself. Don't get physically involved. If you abstain, there will be no pregnancy 100% guaranteed.
- Avoid situations where you can get into trouble. If you are not alone you can't mess up.
- If you insist on sex, use birth control (but abstaining is better)
- Avoid all drugs and alcohol. Many a baby is conceived while judgement is impaired
- Follow God always. If you think about the consequences of having a baby before you are ready, and ask for God's help in following his will, you do not need to be worried about teen pregnancy.
- Communicate with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Clear conversations about expectations undertaken outside the heat of the moment help avoid problems when passions are high.
- Talk to trusted adults. Your parents, pastor, teachers or Pathfinder staff are there to help you work through the process of growing up. Talking through the issues around sex and pregnancy avoidance with an adult first will help immensely when you need to discuss it with your girlfriend or boyfriend later.
Now that you have decided not to become a teen parent - what can you do to help other teens avoid it?
- Educate: Spread the word, distribute material from groups that want to educate teens about the dangers of teen pregnancy.
- Advocate: tell your friends what you learned. Share stuff on social media. Speak up in health class. Make it cool to NOT be having sex and having babies.
- Be a friend: watch your friends relationships and state of mind. Is your friend thinking about sex? Are they feeling lonely and needy and that a baby could fill a void in their life? Are they undertaking risky activities like spending time one on one in private with their boyfriend or girlfriend? Be willing to step in and talk to them if they seem at risk. If that does not work, talk to a responsible adult about what you see and encourage them to get involved.
This remains a contentious topic that Christians, including Seventh-day Adventists, often disagree about. For the Pathfinder, the first thing to consider is avoidance of ever being forced to make a personal choice over abortion by abstaining from sex outside of marriage. Beyond that, we should consider the ethics of abortion. There is a mountain of material on abortion to research, so encourage Pathfinders to get on the Internet and start reading. This is an ideal age to form personal moral standards on topics like abortion.
We present the official Adventist Church statement on Abortion as an aid to discussion and because it is important for young people to understand the official position, even if they chose to hold different beliefs. We emphasize that this statement is not considered a doctrine or a test of membership but more of a guideline for actions of the church.
Many contemporary societies have faced conflict over the morality of abortion.* Such conflict also has affected large numbers within Christianity who want to accept responsibility for the protection of prenatal human life while also preserving the personal liberty of women. The need for guidelines has become evident, as the Church attempts to follow scripture, and to provide moral guidance while respecting individual conscience. Seventh-day Adventists want to relate to the question of abortion in ways that reveal faith in God as the Creator and Sustainer of all life and in ways that reflect Christian responsibility and freedom. Though honest differences on the question of abortion exist among Seventh-day Adventists, the following represents an attempt to provide guidelines on a number of principles and issues. The guidelines are based on broad biblical principles that are presented for study at the end of the document.**
1) Prenatal human life is a magnificent gift of God. God's ideal for human beings affirms the sanctity of human life, in God's image, and requires respect for prenatal life. However, decisions about life must be made in the context of a fallen world. Abortion is never an action of little moral consequence. Thus prenatal life must not be thoughtlessly destroyed. Abortion should be performed only for the most serious reasons.
2) Abortion is one of the tragic dilemmas of human fallenness. The Church should offer gracious support to those who personally face the decision concerning an abortion. Attitudes of condemnation are inappropriate in those who have accepted the gospel. Christians are commissioned to become a loving, caring community of faith that assists those in crisis as alternatives are considered.
3) In practical, tangible ways the Church as a supportive community should express its commitment to the value of human life. These ways should include:
a. strengthening family relationships
b. educating both genders concerning Christian principles of human sexuality
c. emphasizing responsibility of both male and female for family planning
d. calling both to be responsible for the consequences of behaviors that are inconsistent with Christian principles
e. creating a safe climate for ongoing discussion of the moral questions associated with abortion
f. offering support and assistance to women who choose to complete crisis pregnancies
g. encouraging and assisting fathers to participate responsibly in the parenting of their children.
The Church also should commit itself to assist in alleviating the unfortunate social, economic, and psychological factors that add to abortion and to care redemptively for those suffering the consequences of individual decisions on this issue.
4) The Church does not serve as conscience for individuals; however, it should provide moral guidance. Abortions for reasons of birth control, gender selection, or convenience are not condoned by the Church. Women, at times however, may face exceptional circumstances that present serious moral or medical dilemmas, such as significant threats to the pregnant woman's life, serious jeopardy to her health, severe congenital defects carefully diagnosed in the fetus, and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. The final decision whether to terminate the pregnancy or not should be made by the pregnant woman after appropriate consultation. She should be aided in her decision by accurate information, biblical principles, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, these decisions are best made within the context of healthy family relationships.
5) Christians acknowledge as first and foremost their accountability to God. They seek balance between the exercise of individual liberty and their accountability to the faith community and the larger society and its laws. They make their choices according to scripture and the laws of God rather than the norms of society. Therefore, any attempts to coerce women either to remain pregnant or to terminate pregnancy should be rejected as infringements of personal freedom.
6) Church institutions should be provided with guidelines for developing their own institutional policies in harmony with this statement. Persons having a religious or ethical objection to abortion should not be required to participate in the performance of abortions.
7) Church members should be encouraged to participate in the ongoing consideration of their moral responsibilities with regard to abortion in light of the teaching of scripture.
Principles for a Christian View of Life
"Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3, NIV). In Christ is the promise of eternal life; but since human life is mortal, humans are confronted with difficult issues regarding life and death. The following principles refer to the whole person (body, soul, and spirit), an indivisible whole (Genesis 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Life: Our valuable gift from God
1) God is the Source, Giver, and Sustainer of all life (Acts 17:25,28; Job 33:4; Genesis 1:30, 2:7; Psalm 36:9; John 1:3,4).
2) Human life has unique value because human beings, though fallen, are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; Romans 3:23; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 3:2; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18,19).
3) God values human life not on the basis of human accomplishments or contributions but because we are God's creation and the object of His redeeming love (Romans 5:6,8; Ephesians 2:2-6; 1 Timothy 1:15; Titus 3:4,5; Matthew 5:43-48; Ephesians 2:4-9; John 1:3, 10:10).
Life: Our response to God's gift
4) Valuable as it is, human life is not the only or ultimate concern. Self-sacrifice in devotion to God and His principles may take precedence over life itself (Revelation 12:11; 1 Corinthians 13).
5) God calls for the protection of human life and holds humanity accountable for its destruction (Exodus 20:13; Revelation 21:8; Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 24:16; Proverbs 6:16,17; Jeremiah 7:3-34; Micah 6:7; Genesis 9:5,6).
6) God is especially concerned for the protection of the weak, the defenseless, and the oppressed (Psalm 82:3,4; James 1:27; Micah 6:8; Acts 20:35; Proverbs 24:11,12; Luke 1:52-54).
7) Christian love (agape) is the costly dedication of our lives to enhancing the lives of others. Love also respects personal dignity and does not condone the oppression of one person to support the abusive behavior of another (Matthew 16:21; Philippians 2:1-11; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-11; Matthew 22:39; John 18:22,23; John 13:34).
8) The believing community is called to demonstrate Christian love in tangible, practical, and substantive ways. God calls us to restore gently the broken (Galatians 6:1,2; 1 John 3:17,18; Matthew 1:23; Philippians 2:1-11; John 8:2-11; Romans 8:1-14; Matthew 7:1,2, 12:20; Isaiah 40:42, 62:2-4).
Life: Our right and responsibility to decide
9) God gives humanity the freedom of choice, even if it leads to abuse and tragic consequences. His unwillingness to coerce human obedience necessitated the sacrifice of His Son. He requires us to use His gifts in accordance with His will and ultimately will judge their misuse (Deuteronomy 30:19,20; Genesis 3; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 3:5,6, 6:1,2; Galatians 5:13).
10) God calls each of us individually to moral decision making and to search the scriptures for the biblical principles underlying such choices (John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 7:13-25).
11) Decisions about human life from its beginning to its end are best made within the context of healthy family relationships with the support of the faith community (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 5,6).
12) Human decisions should always be centered in seeking the will of God (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 6:6; Luke 22:42).
- Abortion, as understood in these guidelines, is defined as any action aimed at the termination of a pregnancy already established. This is distinguished from contraception, which is intended to prevent a pregnancy. The focus of the document is on abortion.
- The fundamental perspective of these guidelines is taken from a broad study of scripture as shown in the "Principles for a Christian View of Human Life" included at the end of this document.
These guidelines were approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council session in Silver Spring, Maryland, October 12, 1992.
AIDS was first recognized by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1981. Since its discovery, AIDS has caused an estimated 36 million deaths worldwide and approximately 35.3 million people are living with HIV globally (as of 2012).
AIDS was tagged as a homosexual disease and called God's punishment on the gays by some Christians. Jerry Falwell regularly linked the AIDS pandemic to LGBT issues and stated, "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals, it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals." Adventists do not generally support this idea, seeing AIDS as just another disease that hurts people.
Most HIV infections occur between heterosexual couples today, although in some areas homosexual contact is the primary mode of transmission. Blood transfusions, shared needles and mother to child transmission are also causes. Casual non-sexual contact is not a way to get AIDS.
In many countries HIV infection remains a reason to refuse travel visas. However, attitudes are changing. At the beginning of 2010 the United States dropped all immigration restrictions on people with AIDS, that were first imposed in 1987.
Many people are deathly afraid of catching AIDS. The rise of AIDS has altered the whole free love culture causing people to be far more careful about casual sex.
The Catholic church objects to the use of condoms because they also prevent conception. This position has softened a little by Benedict who suggested in 2010 that condoms are a lesser evil in preventing HIV than unprotected sex.
For more information Pathfinders are encourage to read up on the issues, starting with these Wikipedia articles:
An appropriate Christian response to AIDS includes:
- Compassion for the suffers - no different than a person with cancer
- Not discriminating against those with HIV/AIDS
- Avoidance of activities that spread HIV/AIDS (no sex outside of marriage, only accepting screened blood, and avoiding drugs and shared needles)
Homosexuality is a very difficult subject in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today. Historically, like most Christians, Adventists considered homosexuality a sin, and generally homosexual individuals hid their feelings and activities from the public and their families. Most Pathfinders are not old enough to remember those days though. Pathfinders live in a world where homosexuality is often not a big deal at all and it seems antiquated to even discuss it as a bad thing.
Within the lifetime of our Pathfinders the whole context of the discussion has all changed. Movie stars, politicians, professional athletes and people in all areas of life have come out at gay or lesbian. The week this guide was written (October 2014) Apple CEO Tim Cook publically announced he was gay and, while it made news because he is such an important business leader, the world shrugged it off as no big deal.
Many countries and states now allow same sex marriage and many church denominations perform these weddings. Gay bishops and pastors are being accepted in some denominations. No longer is it cool to joke about gays, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is outlawed in many parts of the world.
On the flip side, countries like Russian and Uganda have passed laws that severely restrict or ban homosexuallity and impose penalties for practicing it.
So what does all this mean for the teenage Pathfinder?
- You probably have gay or lesbian or transgendered friends. If you don't, surely you will know someone in your wider circle.
- Respect is the only acceptable way to treat homosexuals, just like you should respect your elders, those from other cultures etc.
- Recognize that regardless of your personal feelings about homosexuality, or what you interpret the Bible as saying, that most homsexuals and many other people in society believe homosexuality comes from the womb and is a normal variation in humans. You are not going to win friends or influence people toward truth by arguing against this belief.
- Homosexuals, like all people, need to be welcomed into our churches. Even if you believe that homosexual behaviour is a sin, we are all sinners.
- Many draw a distinction between the desire to sin by acting on homosexual (or any sexual) desires, and the actual acting out of these desires. This position states it is not a sin to be a homosexual any more than it is a sin to have any sinful desire, but that it is the acting out that creates the problem.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has an official statement on homosexuality that is worth discussing in your group, as follows:
The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God, and we seek to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus. We also believe that by God's grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God's Word.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. The Scriptures declare: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Gen 2:24, NIV). Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden (Lev 18:5-23, 26; Lev 20:7; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9-11). Jesus Christ reaffirmed the divine creation intent: "'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?" So they are no longer two, but one'" (Matt 19:4-6, NIV). For these reasons Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.
Jesus affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices. As His disciples, Seventh-day Adventists endeavor to follow the Lord's instruction and example, living a life of Christ-like compassion and faithfulness.
This statement was voted during the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee on Sunday, October 3, 1999 in Silver Spring, Maryland. Revised by the General Conference Executive Committee, October 17, 2012.
The Bible offers guidance on what we should be viewing:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable——if anything is excellent or praiseworthy——think about such things.”
The Internet is the most easily accessed source of pornography. The Internet honor suggests that you develop a covenant governing your use of the Internet, which excludes pornography and other harmful activities, and sign it along with the rest of your family.
The Pathfinder Pledge says that you will be pure and kind. This prohibits the use of pornography.