Friday, August 26, 2011


Charles my father has his Mary

Whereas Ed my friend has not his Mary

Then there is Ken who grasps for his Marie

Written by a BD* August 26, 2011

*BD – Benevolent Dictator

There is no such thing as a benevolent dictator. A brief look at some of history's more famous tyrants will show that we were all were cast from the same mold and we are not benevolent.

We do not feel bound by rules of law; our actions must not be questioned, we do not negotiate, and we silence or eliminate those who oppose our policies. No form of government has been designed that can prevent the emergence of a tyrant. Dictators simply ignore or circumvent established laws by using cunning verbal platitudes. And too often, those with influence do not speak out against us until it is too late.

Thank you Lord for our Mary(ie)s.

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife”
Mark 10: 7, Gen 2:24, Ephesians 5:31

Saturday, August 6, 2011

a man's perspective

Can You Imagine?

Why imagination is crucial to the Christian life
by Brandon J. O'Brien
Faith is an act of the imagination. And a healthy, vibrant imagination is crucial to the Christian life.

You will likely disagree with these statements if you associate the imagination with delusion, fancy, and/or make believe. Christian belief is quite concerned with facts. After all, we follow the One whose name is Truth, so we must be committed completely and unwaveringly to the truth, not led astray by fantasy and illusion. I couldn't agree more. The trustworthiness of the Christian message is grounded in historical fact—the very real event of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. The whole of Christianity hangs on whether or not there truly was a first Easter morning.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Divorce is out for Gen X

BY SUSAN REIMER, The Baltimore Sun

Donna and Glenn Bigony with sons, Colte, 3 months, and Tyler, 6. 
They decided to stay together rather than separate and divorce after marital problems. 
(PAT GREENHOUSE / Boston Globe)

That's the latest news from the land of Gen X parenthood. Apparently, these children of the divorce boom of the 1970s would rather put chocolate syrup in the baby bottles than put the children through a family break-up.

The number of divorces has been in decline since it peaked in 1980, and that is particularly true of highly educated couples, only 11 percent of whom divorce during their first 10 years of marriage, according to a study by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. That compares to 37 percent of the rest of the population.


Are you staying together for the kids? Comment below or start a new conversatio in the Marriage forum.
Either this generation of college-educated moms and dads has it figured out — "peer" marriages where both parents are in the yoke and duties are shared — or they have seen the headlines that warn of poor outcomes for children of single parents. And this cohort of parents wants only the best outcomes for their children. In any case, it is easier to put the kids first if you remember too well the pain and confusion of your own parents' divorce. Even if the break-up is civilized, the disruption is tough on children.

This is a different spin on "staying together for the sake of the kids," and it is a worthy goal. But how do you make it to the finish line? What happens when the magic ends?

Author Iris Krasnow, who has been chronicling the angst of Boomers since she wrote Surrendering to Motherhood in 1997, has just completed a new book, The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What it Really Takes to Stay Married. It is due out in October.

She spent two years interviewing 200 couples who had been married from 15 to 70 years to find out what makes marriage last.

"The happiest marriages are the ones where both partners have their own life, their own income, their own interests," she said during an interview in her Annapolis, Md., kitchen. "The unhappiest marriages are the ones where someone is swallowed by the other."

Krasnow, who has been married for 23 years and is raising four boys, admitted that there are marriages that "need to end." A love child with the household help, regular visits to prostitutes, sending sexy cell phone pictures of yourself to women you meet on Facebook. These might be good reasons to divorce. Boredom is not.

"Ask yourself, 'Am I happy?' The answer is going to be 'Not all the time.' But you are in a relationship that is better for your health, better for you economically, and you are creating a tapestry, a history, that you will be passing on to your kids," Krasnow said.

Understand that no one else can make you happy, Krasnow said. Only you can do that. "If we all left our marriages when they became unromantic, none of us would be married. The renewal has to spring from within."

If this generation is expecting to stay married, they have their work cut out for them. They need to start,  Krasnow said, by lowering their expectations. "The march down the aisle is not a march to happiness."

What else did she learn from peering into the marriages of so many couples?

* A secret is different than a lie, and secrets can be healthy. Keep a little part of yourself to yourself. Something that is a mystery.

* If you are bored it is because you are expecting someone else to entertain you. Stay engaged with what you love and with people outside your marriage. Have friendships with both sexes.

* Realize there is no gold standard for marriage. I saw all kinds that work.

* Nobody is perfect, and that includes you. So you may as well work your damnedest to keep something going that is good for everybody.

It isn't clear whether this fresh determination to stay married is the predictable swing of the social pendulum, a case of generational rebellion, or whether this crop of parents has learned from all the mistakes their parents made.

Happy? Successful? These are adjectives that might describe a dinner party, but they don't make much sense when you use them to characterize a marriage — an institution where change is the only constant.
And at some point, the marriage takes on a life of its own.

"You can leave each other,"  Krasnow said. "But once you have children, you can't leave the marriage. Love it or loathe it, it becomes bigger than you."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Modesty: Still Missing from the Church

August 4, 2011

If our motivation is to look attractive at any cost with no consideration for others, there is a heart issue to confront.

“Why does she have on those hooker shoes?” That’s how one of my godmothers began our phone conversation Monday morning. She was disheartened by a woman’s church attire, and that was just one of her examples. I shared my observations concerning the responsibility of modesty and its challenges for both men and women.

My cultural background advises me to put on my “Sunday Best” when I enter God’s sanctuary, where my physical presentation to God speaks volumes about how I reverence him. If I don’t say anything about my spiritual condition, few people can confidently speak about what’s going on in my heart. Yet they can observe my emotional and physical condition, either through my smile, physique, or radiant skin (which can reveal proper hydration, rest, and minimal stress).

Whether I like it or not, people draw assumptions about me based on my physical presentation. As a Christian woman, I do not want people drawing the wrong conclusions about my focus. I believe that modesty is a major issue in our churches. While I cannot take ownership of someone else’s sin, I do accept the responsibility for being my brother’s keeper.

Do Christian women know when they are not being modest?

Some suggest that most Christian women know that modesty is a problem in the church, that we need to be more conscientious of our clothing choices, and that our physical presentation has the ability to negatively influence men. Yet if we are aware of these issues, why don’t we do something about it?

When discussing modesty, the major concern is the sin of lust in its various forms that has infiltrated our churches. Lust is often a sin that is poorly addressed among Christian men and women, and rarely is modesty addressed as a gateway to our declining moral standards concerning lust. To be clear, I am not letting men off the hook. Pornography is an ongoing problem with many Christian men (and a rising problem among women as well). If that is an unconfessed sin of a brother or sister, anything can “trigger” them spiraling down the wrong road.

On the other hand, spiritual maturity requires that I evaluate my heart. A godly heart is revealed through self-sacrificing actions that esteem others above myself. A sin-sick heart is centered on what is important to me — where my rights will always determine my actions. Let’s face it: We all want to look attractive. If the motivation is to look attractive at any cost with no consideration for others, however, there is a heart issue to confront.

Here is how I personally practice modesty in church. During the fall and winter months, I frequently wear pants, and made a conscience decision to take a shawl or cardigan whenever I wear a shorter dress or skirt during the warmer months. While sitting in a circle during Sunday school class, I drape the shawl across my knees so that I am not exposed when I sit down. I don’t have to cover my knees, but I do it because I don’t want to be a stumbling block for a brother or sister.

Be mindful that I am not calling for a dogmatic expression of judgment toward each other concerning what is or is not modest. I am stating that outward behaviors are expressions of the spiritual war that rages in our own hearts. A changed heart leads to a changed life — and maybe even a changed wardrobe. 

I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt that some women are oblivious as to when their attire is a distraction. I do not believe that most Christian single women chose their attire for the sole purpose of landing a man, or that most married women aim to grab the attention of men who are not their husbands.
With that understanding, I believe that the modesty issue is partially due to a lack of training concerning their physical appearance. Whatever happened to etiquette classes? And why are we not speaking against the deception that modesty is unattractive? 

My mom educated me concerning appropriate church attire. In her words, “You don’t go to church dressed any kinda way.” During high school, I trained as a debutante, and the older women constantly reminded us, “Not all women are ladies, and ladies present themselves in a particular fashion.” I learned about modesty first in my home, then through mentoring relationships and professional development courses, and finally from the fabulous fashionistas who are my friends. While I certainly have not upheld all the instructions given me, thankfully I had a foundation on which to build as I matured into womanhood. 

I realize that everybody does not receive those wonderful opportunities, and I believe that we have an obligation to create them. Is modesty now a responsibility that women’s ministries need to take on?
How can we reconsider our church attire and a new approach to the Sunday morning routine, the office, or wherever our mission field may be? 

Natasha Robinson is co-director of the Women’s Mentoring Ministry at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC, and founder, writer, and speaker for His Glory On Earth Ministries. She is a full-time student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and a wife and mother. She blogs at A Sista's Journey, where she wrote a post titled "Lust of the Eyes," and tweets at @asistasjourney. She has written for Her.meneutics about Beyonce’s message of female empowerment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Evangelical women rise as new feminists

Posted on August 3, 2011

In evangelical Christian circles, “feminist” has traditionally been a dirty word. The three short syllables have done heavy work, telegraphing all the things the “Christian right” loves to hate about the “secular left.”

A feminist, according to this definition, favors “abortion on demand, government-funded abortion, redistribution of wealth, same-sex marriage and is antiwar, anti-defense,” says Penny Nance, the CEO of Concerned Women for America, the antiabortion group. In this most pejorative view, a feminist puts her personal ambition ahead of the needs of her children.

Now, in a reversal, some conservative Christian women are tentatively claiming the feminist label for themselves. In the reframing, feminism has nothing to do with a woman’s right to choose an abortion or with government programs for the poor.

Instead, a “feminist” is a fiscally conservative, pro-life butt-kicker in public, a cooperative helpmate at home, and a Christian wife and mother, above all. Rep. Michele Bachmann is Exhibit A. With her relentless attacks on big government and a widely circulated 2006 video in which she credits her professional success to the submission of her will to Jesus and her husband, Bachmann represents “a new definition of feminism,” says Stephen Bannon, director of “Fire From the Heartland,” a 2010 movie about the female leaders of the tea party.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


August 2, 2011

The Female Friendship Crisis

Friends are an indispensable part of growing in Christ. So why do many of us have so few?
Women drive me nuts.

Some years ago, following an act of civil disobedience, I spent several days in a makeshift jail with hundreds of women protesters. Before long, a couple of them approached me where I lay on a hard Army cot, trying to get comfortable enough to read the copy of Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa my husband had managed to deliver. What better opportunity than jail time would I ever have to read the longest novel in the English language? Read more here…..

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