Archives For marriage

I know what you’re thinking. No, you don’t have to say anything; the look on your face says it all: why do we need another Chick-fil-A post? I mean that was so two days ago, right?

Truthfully, we don’t. But if you bear with me, I think it’ll be worth your time. Promise.

Here’s the deal: we’ve basically got two groups of people who are feeling marginalized and disenfranchised. On the one hand, there’s the LGBT community who wants to be accepted; on the other, folks who are quite sick of being told what’s normative, what they need to accept.

Both groups often don’t feel welcome in their own country.

One groups looks back, and sees an ever-increasing decline in our country’s values; the other, an ever-increasing freedom.

In a sense, both are right.

Since 1969, at Stonewall, the LGBT community has become more and more vocal in speaking up, and acting out. Whilst the Evangelical community has dug in its collective heels. What we saw this past Wednesday was a great communal example of that. It was quite simply a conservative backlash at the gay community’s zealously proclaimed message.

Both sides are essentially saying you will accept me, swallow the message I’m peddling, believe as I do.

And both are equally guilty of intolerance. However, tolerance in and of itself no virtue–respect is. Mutual respect is what we all must work towards.

But it doesn’t happen in a fast food line, or a “kiss-in;” rather it happens one life at a time.

The problem as I see it is that people are so busy fighting for their rights that there is very little exercise of humility. We simply can’t hear one another over the din. The shame of it I lay at our feet, brothers and sisters in Christ: despite Bible that tells us that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,” we insist on the using the same tactics as the “other side.” It’s like we haven’t heard that “more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”

Instead of praying, we fight fire with fire. And wonder why we lose time and time again. It’s like we’ve come down with a case of spiritual amnesia, and forget the maxim of Jesus, which tells us “He seeks to save his life, shall lose it.” Might this not also apply to he who seeks to fight for his rights? “But he who loses His life for My sake, and the Gospel’s, shall find it.”

If my own life is at all representative of a large American Evangelical whole, I see very little of this Jesus-approve losing going on. In fact, I would say more than any Judeo Christian tradition, this country is predicated upon the notion of right fighting.

It is our American bedrock: we fight for our rights, rather than give them up for the cause of Christ.

Personally, I belive there is a reckoning coming, and all of us–whether gay, or straight–will have to answer to God, to Jesus. For it’s not for nothing that the Bible says “It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment.” This means every idle word, every jealousy, gossip, slander, idolatry–there is nothing hidden from the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.

Each of us must look to our own hearts, pull the logs out of our own eyes, before attempting to correct a brother.

In the meantime, we watch, and wait, and pray. And the wheat and the tares grow up together as they must.

At an acceptable hour, Father will call in the harvest. There are sure to be many surprises on that day.

In the end, what can I say? I echo the words of the Scriptures:

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”

What do you think? Do you have something to say?

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In my mind I see it there at Barnes & Noble: 50 Shades of Grace: A Kama Sutra for Evangelicals. Now of course it’s not in the sexuality section, no, being published by Zondervan, it’s in “Christian Living.” Despite this, it’s flying off the shelves.

Because we all want to know: how did folks in the Bible , ahem, “do it?”

Despite containing such maxims (not the shrink-wrapped magazine) as “biblical sex is not a spectator sport,” (surely a warning against the dangers of pornography) it nevertheless has full-color illustrations in the style of the late Thomas Kinkade. All are of course gorgeously lit.

Because of this, LifeWay won’t carry it.

Among its other truths, is “biblical sex is mutually submissive (and not in a BDSM sense).” To support this assertion, the authors–a husband and wife team–turn to a passage in First Corinthians: “the wife’s body is not her own, but her husband’s; likewise, the husband’s body is not his own, but the wife’s.”

They further assert this is so by invoking the famous “Love Chapter” (First Corinthians 13), where it says “love does not seek its own.” Meaning, I surmise, that where biblical sex is concerned, there is no room for compulsion.

Because, apparently, love desires to give, and not take.

Now the late C.S. Lewis once wrote that “sex requires a kind of erotic submission” from the wife. I wonder however if he wrote this while yet firmly ensconced in bachelordom, or after marrying Helen Gresham? I strongly suspect the former, because as a married man myself, I know firsthand the sacrifices required in marriage, and how the bed–like no other–requires the giving up of one’s rights.

Because a thing compelled is no longer a gift, but something coerced.

And nothing could be further from the type of love that emanates from God: gift love. This kind of loves delights in the beloved, and thus desires to give. That is what I believe the authors mean when they say that “biblical sex is mutually submissive (not in a BDSM kind of way),” i.e., that a man and wife in love will try–in their frail, failing human ways–to outgive––to outlove––one another.

But that, as the Bible also says, is a mystery.

Are you planning on reading 50 Shades of Grace?

Update: March, 2013. Apparently 50 Shades of Grace is a thing: https://twitter.com/KeatonHughes/status/298586227324620800/photo/1

It’s late now, and I’m quite tired. I have been grabbing every spare moment I can to write. And it’s hard. Despite having just crossed the threshold of five hundred posts here (who knows how many word that is anyway?), this thing, this book idea, looms large in my mind.

In order to do it justice, I find I must step back into the misty past to find my forebears. Because I need to know the ones who shaped the ones who shaped me.

Yet so many are gone from this life, with only shadows left. Some I never knew. And some events are things which I’m told happened to me, but of which I have no memory.

I feel like I’m reconstructing the million little pieces of a life–of many lives, really. Such is obscured by the hazy lens of time…

And so much has gone by.

Why didn’t I do this sooner? When I (on the words of Billy Joel) “wore a younger man’s clothes?” When my brain wasn’t addled by apnea?

But now is the time I have, and my heart burns within me. I have a beginning, and some notion of the middle, but I’m not sure where it will end–because this is the story of a life, like shoes being broken in, still being lived in, walked through.

There will be blisters, and calluses. And some may be pained by what I say, but it will be the truth as best as I recollect it.

It just occurred to me that I do have a fitting end:

“But God…”

What about you, and your life? Who, or what, shaped you? Somehow, does it all come back, for you, as it does me, to: “but God?”

So. It’s “Father’s Day.”

At least here in the U.S. of A. anyway.

I would like to write for you a deeply sentimental post about what my dad means to me, but I’m prevented by honesty. Anne Lamott said it well when she said “If people wanted you to write warmly of them, they should have behaved better.”

They should have…

He should have…

You see where I’m going with this. (I’m sorry for telegraphing, but I have something to say, and won’t let myself sleep until it’s written).

My dad was a man who:

When trying to play catch with me as a youngster, threw the ball at me harder and harder, and then derided me for my poor catching skills.

Walked away from me in frustration when, in his estimation, I didn’t learn how to bat quickly enough via the Johnny Bench Batter Up he’d installed in our back yard.

I could go on. Suffice it to say that he was a man who left me, and our family, just as I was entering my teen years. When I needed him most, needed help navigating questions of identity, the changes of puberty, he took a breeze.

True, or not, intended, or not–the message came through loud and clear: you don’t have what it takes, you’re no good to me.

I believed those bullshit lies for most of my life, and subsequently tried to appease him, earn his approval. To the detriment of myself, my wife, and family. But it never came. Like Kimbra sings to Gotye in Somebody That I Used To Know:

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say…

When I sought merely his acceptance, I didn’t get it. All I wanted was his love, but he didn’t get me. I don’t hate him, but I’m no longer a little boy hanging on his every word. “The cat’s in the cradle, and the silver spoon…”

I’ve moved on, and my dad is just somebody that I used to know.

My Heavenly Father loves me, and sent His Son to die for me.

But that’s not the end of the story. No, I seem to suffer with some of the same inadequacies when it comes to relating to my own now teenaged son. It’s harder than it should be. this goes back generationally:

My dad didn’t equip me, wasn’t equipped by his dad, who in turn wasn’t equipped by his own father (my great grandfather). Divorce is a curse that has plagued my family for decades. Whether there was good reason for it, or not, we have nothing but men who don’t know the first thing about being just that: men.

Which is why I was overjoyed recently to learn that I’d been accepted in the lottery to attend a Wild At Heart boot camp in Colorado this August. If John Eldredge, and his ministry, Ransomed Heart, know how to do anything it’s to equip men. Here’s the rub: it costs $475 to attend.

To some of you, this may seem like a lot of money; to others, not. In any case, Lisa (my wife) and I prayed about, and subsequently decided, to forgo a second income. So she could be home with the kids, provide discipline and stability. All of which is to say that there isn’t $475 in the budget for me to go to the retreat.

Which is why I am appealing to you, my readers. I hate asking in this way, but if each of you have a few dollars to spare I’m sure we can reach the goal.

The catch is that Ransomed Heart wants payment by Friday, June 22nd. Thus, we need to reach the $475 mark by this Thursday, the 21st.

I wouldn’t appeal to you in this way at all if I didn’t feel so strongly that it was something I needed to do.

Thank-you very much for your prayerful consideration!

You can PayPal me at gandalf239 [at] gmail [dot] com

If we don’t meet the goal all donations will be refunded.

Lemon Balm Tea?

randomlychad  —  June 14, 2012 — 11 Comments

Last week I was on vacation with my family. We went up to Sedona, in Arizona’s high country. Part of the time was indeed spent “vacating” all responsibility (well, most), other parts eating, and more than I care to admit spent searching.

For Lemon Balm tea.

I heard a coworker extolling its virtues as a calming concoction–one that promotes restful sleep. Now I know what you’re thinking–because I thought, too–lemon tea? Eww!

But that’s not strictly true. You see, Lemon Balm is not citrus at all, but an herb in the mint family. How it induces sleep I don’t know, but I’d much rather try it than Lunesta or Ambien–because it promised me 100% better sleep without the side effects*.

So my wife and I, we lit out into the day, minds at ease because her folks had our kids. We knew that night–finally, despite our hotel bed–we would get some good rest.

Our first stop? Breakfast!

And then on to the New Frontiers Natural Market. Where nary a leaf of pure, unadulterated Lemon Balm was to be found. Oh, they had a tea, to be sure–but Lemon Balm was far down the list; in fact, it was more St. John’s wort than anything else.

And if I’m paying $10 for a tea that’s supposed to help me sleep, I darn sure don’t want one that’s full of worts! And forget Longbottom Leaf, I want Lemon Balm, man!

Give it to me!

Alas, New Frontiers had none (or so I then thought). The friendly, helpful souls suggested that my wife and I visit the local florist.

“Florist” I asked, puzzled?

“Florist,” said she, “who also sells herbal tea.” So we loaded ourselves up in the car, thinking our quest was done.

That we could get out of the hot sun.

How wrong were we? You’ll see:

The “florist” was just that: a full-service flower shop, but also host to high teas. In amongst the flowers, one could sit–if one wished–sipping various and sundry teas, whilst noshing on absurdly small and over-priced desserts.

Surely, thought we, our just desserts were to be, and some Lemon Balm we would see?

It was not to be.

Oh, there were Chais, Red Rooboises, and others we’d never heard of, let alone seen.

But no soothing, calming leaf of Lemon Balm was to found. (We’d have better luck planting our own in the ground).

The proprietress, a friendly soul, suggested we visit the local health food store, for surely they would have what we sought.

So my wife and I–we left there, piled our tired bodies in the car, and drove a couple blocks up the street. Thinking “It’s a health good store. This is neat–surely they’ll have what we seek!”

But you know what? They didn’t–it couldn’t be bought, and this was strike three! No one had Lemon Balm tea!

Dejection apparent on our faces, the friendly tatted and pierced lady said she knew of a place–a Buddha’s Dream, LLC–that likely had this elixir of dreams.

That’s all it took–we were off to the races! You should’ve seen the smiles on our faces!

Relief was only ten miles away, in Oak Creek. Or so it seemed.

So? By now, you know where this story is going to go…

Was there lovely Lemon Balm at the end of our tea rainbow?

Alas, it was not be.

On the sunny side–exhausted, dejected, as we were–pinning our hopes on Lemon Balm–we avowed that our day shall not have been in vain, and bought $20 worth of fresh loose-leaf tea.

From a friendly Asian lady, who wished us well on our life’s journey.

Nearly seven hours after we’d begun, we had tea, but none of it Lemon Balm. Exhausted, frustrated, and simply spent, I don’t know whose idea it was, but again to New Frontiers we went.

Because we needed food for the following day’s breakfast. And adding insult to plain old mockery, what did I see?

Lemon Balm tea.

In the health food section. Which of course I hadn’t checked some six hours before.

Sure, we bought it–but wait, there’s more:

Confucius say: “Fleeting will your sleep be, should you at bedtime drink much tea. Unless my point you miss, there will alas be much piss.”

The point of this silly post–if it has one–is this: what have you pinned your hopes on that didn’t pan out at all the way you expected?

*somnambulism, sleep eating, & other “things.”