Category Archives: Family Values

You and Me Forever… further thoughts

Francis and Lisa Chan present a beautiful description of how love should manifest in our marriages:

This is how our lives should look. We are filled in Christ. Beyond filled. Overflowing. So we turn to the people around us and share the abundance of love, peace, joy, and life.

Here’s a blueprint for marriage:

1. We become overwhelmed by Christ’s care for us.

2. So we shower our wives with the same love we receive from God.

3. Then, people are shocked by our extravagant love toward our wives.

4. As a result, we are given an opportunity to tell them about the love of Christ that compels us. Page 80 (Emphasis mine).

I wrote previously about how Francis and Lisa Chan observed that “beautiful people make beautiful marriages.” And, to be beautiful, we must be Christ like, which means giving and giving and giving. It means approaching mistakes and disputes in humility and not pride. It means pouring out our love towards our spouses so extravagantly that others are shocked and amazed (I note this is consistent with what Gary Chapman so elegantly describes in “The 5 Love Languages”). To be in a competition to out give the other—right where each of us needs it—THIS is what God envisions for relationships and marriage.

This is all well and good.

We learn, next, that we need to get our relationship into the fight for Christ. Francis says, “Being at war together [for Christ] is what keeps us from being at war with each other.” (page 97). I used the analogy of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder with guns blazing at a common enemy. Would not that serve to unite us while also minimizing differences? Like, duh…

Then, for this fight, we are exhorted to use our gifts and possessions. I explained that I feel called to reach out via the written word and perhaps in bible studies on relationships. Later, perhaps, to speak on these matters. I asked you to consider what it might mean for you.

This is exciting and deeply convicting…

To look forward to loving a wife with such intensity and abandon AND THEN to have that love on display to testify to God’s power… Sigh… This is the answer I’ve been seeking for the question, “How do I put God in a relationship?” beyond the easy answer of prayer and loving works.

So far, so good.

But then we ran into some controversy when I made a post on Facebook I noted, there, that the authors seemed to get a bit excited when they told us that our priorities were not correct if we would choose to raise our kids over the option to leave the world to be with God. I indicated that I cannot fathom God applauding a parent’s choice to leave her kids so she can rejoice in seeing Him. To me, this is to deeply distort who God is by making him into something disquietingly self centered. Moreover, relying on God to provision for these parentless children, as the authors exhort us to do, is akin to saying, “well, we ought not get excited about divorce leaving children with one parent, or with teen pregnancy in the inner city… because God will take care of them just as well as if they had parents.”

No. This is not what God wants.

I’m pretty sure he wants us to be concerned about and work to correct these societal problems precisely because He wants us to raise our children as best only the biological parent can.

Now, He may take one or both parents before their time. But that is HIS choice, or rather a tragedy arising from their or someone else’s mistake. And yes, Romans 8:28 is true, and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purpose. So, yes, God will make something good out of whatever mistake happens on earth. But that does NOT mean he intended for the parent(s) to get killed by that drunk driver or cancer. He will grieve the consequent disunion of parent and child. Not applaud it.

There was further controversy when Luke 14:26 was mentioned for the proposition that we must hate our wives. First a little more discussion on the point. Luke 14:26 says:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

I pointed out that such a statement should not be taken any more literally than the command to pluck our a lustful eye, or cut off a sinful hand…

But, Francis Chan also seems excited or inspired by this admonition to hate our wives when he contrasts the love we are supposed to have for our wives with that we are to have for God:

It’s not that we should love Him a little more than we love our families; our love for Him should be in a different category. He is far beyond us, so our love for Him should be far beyond our love for others. The gap between our love for God and our love for our spouses should be massive. The two are not worthy of being compared. (Emphasis mine).

While God is indeed far beyond us (He is God, after all, and we are humans), it does not follow that our love for him should therefore be far beyond our love for others. That statement does not stand up to careful analysis. Look closely…

What is the ultimate display of love (on earth or in Heaven)?

Is it not the love God displayed for us in handing his Son to be crucified for our sins?

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

Love does not get bigger than that.

And yet, that is exactly the level, the depth, the totality of love we are to have for our wives. Ephesians 5:25-29 makes it clear:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. (Emphasis mine).

Think of that. God, Jesus Christ. They (He) set the bar for love. Jesus on the Cross is GOD’s ultimate display of love. It happens, also, to be exactly the same love he commands us to give to our wives.

No more is possible; no less is permissible.

How, therefore, can we surpass it for God? The fact it, It matters not what we are loving. We simply have no more capacity than God.

In truth, we are not capable of loving anything, be it God or the man on the moon, any more than Christ loved us. Clearly, then, it’s hyperbole to say we must love Him “far beyond” our love for our wives. And such hyperbole sets us up to fail miserably. It causes those deeply committed to loving God to question their devotion when it doesn’t seem to measure up to “far beyond.”

Joseph Girzone speaks of this type of problem when he says of committed believers:

They search their lives and their hearts and delve deep into their consciousness so as to better identify hidden breaches of law, all the while becoming ever more introspective and attentive to every thought and action, becoming, in the process, progressively more centered on self. In the end they find themselves fighting a thousand battles on a thousand different fronts, and realize that it’s impossible to live that way. At that point many give up, some have breakdowns. Many marriages are destroyed because of that fanatical demanding that everything be done perfectly. Joseph F. Gizrone, “A Portrait of Jesus,” Page 88.

So, how about we lessen the pressure? Can we simply say that a husband is to love and cherish his wife as hard as Christ loved us, and he is to love God with his whole heart and soul? I think that’s pressure enough. Don’t you?

Please, Mr. and Mrs. Chan, let’s not make excited and scripturally unsound exhortations. It serves on one, and least of all God.

All this to come to today’s topic. It’s related to this whole discussion of love.

I want to say, first, however, that overall I think this book is a true Godsend. It outlines a path to heal and strengthen marriages and really all human relationships which I want to follow with all my heart.

Yet, I have another quibble that serves as a good point of study. This has to do with telling us, on one hand, to love our wives so extravagantly that people will be shocked, and then, on the other, telling us to not love so much that we seem to be seeking to please each other more than we please God.

Advice like that needs some explanation and unfortunately none is given.

To start, the authors quote at length 1 Corinthians 7:29-35 (page 115):

From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none… I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord… But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried … woman is anxious about the things of the Lord… But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this … to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. (Emphasis mine).

The authors then go on to say:

That last verse is the key to the passage. It is the key to life. All of us are to pursue “undivided devotion to the Lord.” We cannot allow marriage to distract us from the higher calling. … [Paul] he makes it clear that marriage can turn our eyes away from Jesus and toward each other in an unhealthy way. We end up seeking to please each other rather than pleasing Him. Marriage can bring us to a point where our “interests are divided” (v. 34), when our goal is actually an “undivided devotion to the Lord” (v. 35). (Emphasis mine).

Like the admonitions to pluck our our eyes, we should not read this section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians literally. Clearly we are not to suddenly pretend that we are not married (live as though we have none)—when we have been elsewhere commanded by God to love our wives as Christ loved the Church… Certainly, God does not contradict himself, so something else must be going on.

First let’s examine the context.

Verse 26, not quoted by the Chans, would appear to indicate that Paul is referring to a present crisis existing with Christians at that specific time in history:

Because of the present crisis, I think that is is good for you to remain as you are.

Given the crisis, Paul is saying it might be best to put off all concerns (remain as you are… if you are married, do not seek a divorce, if you are unmarried, do not seek a wife…

Then we come to the first verse quoted by the Chans:

What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none…

That sound a little different now that it’s in context?

In comments, the NIV states: “Paul’s recommendation here does not apply to all times and in all situations” and probably refers to then current difficulties of living in a city rife with moral problems and hostility toward Christians. Accordingly, during this time, it’s best to be free from household concerns.

Regrettably, however, the Chans also chose a translation that uses the word “anxiety” or a form of it instead of the better NIV translation of “concerns.” Anxiety certainly fits their bias. But, it seems, Paul is not discussing any abnormal or “unhealthy” state of affairs between husbands and wives. He is merely noting that spouses do indeed think about worldly issues (they are concerned with—not “anxious” about) as they go about caring for and loving each other. Today, that would mean taking out the garbage, picking up a gallon of milk, bringing home flowers, performing a loving massage, giving a tender kiss… These are “worldly” things and darn good things thank you very much…

Then, on top of making it look like Paul really wants married people to avoid “unhealthy” acts of love and care, the Chans warn that: “… we must be wary of enjoying marriage too much.” They follow that admonish with an ominous reference (Romans 1:25) to worshiping idols (page 116).

This is simply too much back and forth. I feel like a ping pong ball. Love you wife. Hate you wife. Love her as Christ loved the Church, but somehow miraculously love God even more (far beyond!). Oh, and then don’t love her at all (pretend she is not even your wife!) as that will constitute a divided devotion to God. And don’t love her too much or she becomes an idol…

As Charlie Brown often said, good grief!

I get that an unGodly marriage will not be focused on God. I get that even a marriage where the couple has tried to put God first may get out of whack. But, didn’t Francis and Lisa earlier tell us to demonstrate such extravagant love toward our wives that people will be shocked?

Indeed, they say at page 36, “The way we love our spouses should make the love of Christ believable and true.” Given that, I’d like to know exactly how demonstrating love can turn our eyes from Jesus and toward each other in an unhealthy way…

Demonstrating love is God’s command. God doesn’t command us to do unhealthy things. Does anyone think we can do too much of what God commands?

Sure, it’s vital that we stay in the fight for Christ. Our actions cannot be selfish (because then it’s not love). Our actions cannot be self-seeking (because that is not love). We must love each other in humility and without pridefulness (because that is not love).

Maybe that’s all they are trying to say…

But, it’s terribly unfair to exhort us to love each other so extravagantly that others are shocked and then, based on a highly-questionable reading of the Word, bludgeon us with the notion that our love can somehow be unGodly. Not at least without some specific examples… of which there are none.

This is the stuff that confuses people and, frankly, turns them away from otherwise wonderful messages. As Father Joseph F. Girzone says, this type of talk risks losing credibility with intelligent people.

Amen to that.

Patrick Kennedy to President Obama: Pot has changed – Tal Kopan – POLITICO.com

How delightful when the POTUS is thus discussed. Hope and Change:

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy says President Barack Obama is wrong about the dangers of marijuana, saying that the drug today is not like what the president smoked in his youth.

via Patrick Kennedy to President Obama: Pot has changed – Tal Kopan – POLITICO.com.

Las Vegas Ads Targeting Gay People — and denigrating Straight Couples

Amazing… Hope and Change.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the official destination marketing arm of Las Vegas and the surrounding area, has launched a new campaign aimed at targeting gays and lesbians. The associated ads, created by R&R Partnersand featuring attractive same-sex couples enjoying themselves in the city, poke fun at heterosexuals who are repeatedly depicted as frumpy and old school.

Have You Seen These New Las Vegas Ads Targeting Gay People — and Poking Fun at Straight Couples? | TheBlaze.com

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My mother seems to have attempted suicide…

Sorry for not posting anything during this crucial time for our country. It happens that I have a personal issue that has occupied my time. My mother seems to have attempted suicide by consuming hundreds of aspirin.

She had toxic levels of aspirin higher than anyone in Michigan’s Poison Control agency has ever seen.

And she is still alive…

Rest assured, however, before I headed north to tend to this I submitted an absentee ballot!

Articles: Why They Hate Us

An interesting piece today at American Thinker asks why they hate us. Bruce Walker does a pretty good job explaining, but it is in combination with two adroit comments that the full picture appears.

Mr. Walker basically posits that they hate us because we are good. And in that he is right. However, one comment (“From Missouri”) noted that what separates us is our adherence to Judeo-Christian teachings, and all those who hate us (including most Democrats), detest same.

So far so good. But, then “Shadow” noted that:

They fear Western society will open the eyes of the oppressed in their society and cause a revolt against the tyrants.

True again!

So, to combine the thoughts, I commented:

Shadow, I think you are on to it, and your post, taken with the comment “From Missouri,” fills in an important piece of the puzzle. They hate us because we are good, as Mr. Walker concludes, but we are good because our foundation is in the Bible. And that is what separates us and guides us in creating the economic, political, and legal systems the Muslims hate.

via Articles: Why They Hate Us.

Shocker: High Unemployment helps Obama!

Jonathan David Carson has an interesting piece today on American Thinker: Articles: Does High Unemployment Really Hurt Obama?. Essentially, he notes, but does not try to explain, that areas in the U.S. with the highest unemployment show the strongest support for Obama. And vise versa.

Obviously, this turns upside down the traditional thought that those out of work will be most desirous of changing the folks in charge.

There is an interesting comment that made me recall a section in my novel. The comment, by MaskedKayakMan, notes

From WikiPedia: In the learned helplessness experiment an animal is repeatedly hurt by an adverse stimulus which it cannot escape.

Eventually the animal will stop trying to avoid the pain and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation.
Finally, when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness prevents any action. The only coping mechanism the animal uses is to be stoical and put up with the discomfort, not expending energy getting worked up about the adverse stimulus.

Over fifty years of indoctrination in the government schools have finally yielded results. Political correctness has effectively neutered the American male. When everyone gets a trophy, why even try? Why work when you can go on permanent disability or unemployment? We’re deluged with example after example of lottery winners, people who have gotten rich simply for being famous, criminals who have profited from their crimes, and so on.

Obama’s supporters are life’s losers, and they are bitter. They’d rather watch it all burn than do something constructive to fix it.

I don’t agree that “all” Obama supporters are life’s losers–as clearly, that’s not true. Indeed, the statement is offensive.

But, an inescapable conclusion from what we see is that far too many on welfare are quite happy with the situation… And they are generally not voting Republican.

Still, there is something else at work, I think.

Nate Smith, in my novel, encountered a situation that ought to have raised the ire of a number of people. Yet, no one objected to what was happening, and this confounded Nate until he came across a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville who was commenting on what he saw happening, even back then, in America:

It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the Shepherd.

My conclusion is this: we have been beaten down, continually administered pain, and overwhelmed by complicated rules to the point of becoming, at best, a flock of timid but industrious animals, and a worse, a horde of loafers quite happy to remain on welfare.

Ted Cruz: “When Was The Last Time You Saw A Hispanic Panhandler?” | RealClearPolitics

Thanks to Tom Mullane for putting me on to this.

Interesting implications… The Left may be shooting itself in the foot.

Moreover, Hispanics are Christian, and predominantly Catholic. They are not shooting up military bases yelling “Allahu Akbar!

Ted Cruz: “When Was The Last Time You Saw A Hispanic Panhandler?” | RealClearPolitics.

The Boy Scouts & Chick-fil-A. Homophobic?

This strikes me as particularly sensible. To the liberals protesting the Boy Scouts rejection of inclusion in their ranks folks who are openly SSA (same sex attraction), Robert Knight, of the Washington Times, has this:

My question to them is: What part of the Jerry Sandusky Penn State molestation convictions don’t you get when it comes to the Boy Scouts?

Do you honestly think boys won’t notice or care if their leader is kissing another man or if a boy who wants to touch other boys shares their tent? How about a Cub Scout pack leader who lives openly as a lesbian? Is this a good example for young boys in an organization expressly created to give them a manly start in life? How does a woman who rejects being married to a husband and father and instead gives a boy “two moms” claim to be a suitable person to teach the value of manhood? If you answer, “She can’t,” you’re a hate-filled bigot.

KNIGHT: Liberals’ war on Boy Scouts, Chick-fil-A – Washington Times.