Tag Archives: Relationship

Brown Wins People’s Seat

Scott Brown casting his vote

Republican candidate Scott Brown is now Senator-elect Scott Brown, filling the vacancy left when Senator Edward Kennedy shuffled off his mortal coil.

Winning with 52% of the vote so far (as of 9:30 CST), Brown will deny Senate Democrats they’re 60th vote for health care. Now if we can shore up the ranks by shaming Ben Nelson (D – Nebraska) into coming back to his real principles.

While health care has passed the Senate already, the bill in the House must be reconciled with the bill passed by the Senate in conference. The big vote sold to Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson was only to settle the Senate’s version. House Democrats don’t like the Senate bill as it stands, but because of the loss of the Massachusetts seat, their only chance of passing any health care socialization is to accept the Senate bill as it stands. Any edits they make would require the Senate to reexamine the bill and vote on it again.

So the Tea Party movement and the backlash to President Obama’s, Harry Reid’s, and Nancy Pelosi’s ugly ideology have won this battle. The problem is, there is still a war to be fought.

We have won this battle mainly due to a strong upheaval in the populace continuing from the waves of the Tea Parties. But if there’s one thing I know about people who live conservatism, it’s that they just want to get back to their homes and families and work and lives.

Will this victory last? Will we dance back to our houses, clapping each other on the shoulder and then go to bed and sleep the sleep of a clean conscience and then awake and forget what has transpired?

I hope not.

What needs to happen now is education.

We need to talk in our workplaces, in our social clubs. Get in discussions at church and in restaurants. During the half-time shows and at the bar.

We need to cash in on those myriad relationships which make up our broader lives, using the fact that we have credence with our friends based on our friendship to cause them to think. Even a little thought, properly motivated and directed, can go a long way towards straightening out the skewed thinking of so many.

We need to strike at the cult of celebrity which surrounds our current President and demand substance and truth in candidates along with their rhetorical skills.

It’s not that we need to talk politics, we need to talk ideology. Ideology is much easier to talk about because it applies to so much more of life. Politics is just one small corner of the extent of our lives. Politics wants to control more of life, but it belongs in the corner.

Ideology is the big “Why?” of our life. Our worldview informs our entire perception of life, and as such, you can talk about it from any perspective.

How do you respond to a medical emergency? Do you call the government or do you drive to the hospital?

If you see a promotion opportunity at work, do you try to make yourself the better candidate?

Is the government the best source for your pursuit of happiness?

Would you rather the professor gave some of your high grades to the slob in the back row of class so he can pass too?

And most important: Is Jesus a liar, a lunatic, or our Lord?

After all, if our friends haven’t got the bedrock of their life philosophy connected and rooted in the most accurate explanation for the entirety of life, nothing they believe will really match reality. And that’s what conservatism is, the most political philosophy that most accurately corresponds to the true nature of humanity and the world.

So congratulations America, you’ve forestalled oblivion yet again. But what happens tomorrow? And the next day?

Do you forget and go on with life, accepting the tranquil bonds of servitude until you awake yet again and find you’re no longer allowed to amass political power to right the ship again?

Or do you start making changes on all fronts, attacking the lies of our world at every turn. Each time maneuvering, like a chess master always circling the opponents king, to touch the heart of the matter.

We’ve been harmless as doves long enough, now let’s become shrewd as serpents.

Husbands, Love Your Wives

I was talking to someone over the weekend about Ephesians 5:25-31, Paul’s instructions to married men, and he commented that he finds sermons on the preceding verses, Paul’s exhortations to married women, very common. Common to the neglect of the exhorting of married men. I’ve heard sermons on each, myself, and cannot judge either way as to which I’ve heard more of. But regardless of the issue, real or perceived, married men seem to me to not be learning much of this vital information prior to tying the knot.

In the blogosphere I found an older article detailing a practical but brief perspective on the Ephesians verses for men. And an even more explicit and holistic view of the requirements of the husband in marriage (note, this article is graphic, not pictorial, but graphic) as spelled out throughout the Bible.

Marriage is a beautiful thing, so I’ve been told and have observed. My parents have been married 28/29 years, or thereabouts. I’ve observed them learn to deal with things together as they’ve raised my siblings and myself (we did not make it easy). But together they have joy and I think they can say, looking back, that the love they shared on their wedding day was the least love they’ve shared since. Marriage is a joining, a merging of two different people into a single living unit. The joining and merging brings a broadened perspective, an enhanced effectiveness. In business classes we learned that a well-balanced relationship allows for a result greater than the sum of the individual parts. This rings true for a strong marriage. Individually we may attempt and succeed at great things, but together, standing on each others shoulders, in each others care and support, and in Christs love, there is little indeed that cannot be accomplished. And children. Not only are the effect tangible in this life while the two live, but their heritage continues in their children, surpassing even the memory of their own specific achievements.

Marriage is also a difficult thing. In the “Great Unified Theory of Everything” (GUTE) marriage falls under the category Power Tools. A powerful tool can be easy and difficult at the same time, both using and mastering. A power tool can do great good and great evil, usually not at the same time. I have seen my parents argue, mostly when I was younger, and I recall the fear and insecurity those arguments gave me. But with time I can see how my mom and dad worked to deepen conversation and communication between each other, setting aside time each day to spend together. Usually right when dad got home from work, if something else wasn’t going on right then, he and mom would go into a room alone and talk. That took dedication, creating a habit in what could be a very hectic time of the day. As dad made more money he had the time and means to get involved in several hobbies, one of which is Civil War Reenacting. He’s always enjoyed camping, but my mom was never much for camping. In the past camping usually ended up being a “just us boys” time, which was good. But with reenacting there were enough amenities around that mom could go and enjoy herself too. But he also sets aside weekends several times each year that he and mom will leave for a quick weekend. Sometimes they go to the coast, sometimes they go to the mountains. Dad spends lots of time looking up Bed & Breakfasts that are well recommended and off the beaten path and he and mom will spend a weekend away, another honeymoon. Their love is palpable.  Marriage is hard work, especially when children and life seem to be trying their utmost to pull you apart individually and as a couple, and making habits of togetherness and making the special effort to get away and be just together is of supreme importance.

Marriage is a wonderful thing, so I’ve heard. Like all wonderful things it takes a lot of work, hard work. The more work that is put in, the greater the potential. Realizing the potential is up to each of us individually, but for the couple the rewards are greatest together.

Our Story, From Matthew’s Eyes

She was smart, beautiful and funny, and most of all, she loved God.

February 11, 2007: Sunday morning I walked into Sunday School with the other Young Adults at Brainard Avenue Baptist Church. It was my second week back after being gone just over two years in California.

I had met the church and felt at home and accepted and appreciated back in 2003, and with that knew that I was to relocate at least for a while to Chicago after spending a few more years at home. After spending just over 2 years back in California, I returned to Chicago at the end of January 2007 and thanks to the generosity of friends church family in the area I was putting down roots.

Little did I know where those roots would grow and how my life was to change. Soon.

Back to that Sunday, February 11th. In my visits back to Chicago while living in California, I’d met some new members of the Sunday School class, students at Moody Bible Institute who were able to drive out to the suburbs for Sunday services at Brainard. It was good to see these people again in addition to the regulars and long-timers.

The Moody students had brought friends this Sunday. One young lady, in her first semester at Moody, had been searching for a church she could feel at home at while attending school, had taken advantage of her friend’s extra car seats, and was visiting the church for the first time.

The quiet, beautiful girl did not return for a few weeks.

When she did visit Brainard again, I made a point of talking with her for a few minutes. Making her feel welcome, I told myself.

It began as a friendship, nothing special. But I quickly moved beyond an average interest in her.

This was a Godly woman, beautiful, caring, very loving. All that attracted me very intensely. I had to get to know her better.

And so I did. Grace visited family in Washington for spring break. I missed her those weeks she did not come to Brainard.

I had offered to drive students to church from Moody when they needed extra seats, and one beautiful spring day they took me up on the offer. Three students needed a ride and so I went out early Sunday morning to pick them up. Due to the beautiful weather, the two others decided they were going to ride a motorcycle out to church that day, leaving Grace to ride with me by herself. She was not exactly comfortable with this situation at the outset, being alone in a car with some guy she hardly knew. But it was that or miss church, and I’d already driven out, so to not make a scene, she got in the car.

We began talking and found we had similar standards and backgrounds, and we both liked country music.

That afternoon several of us spent the afternoon at my apartment eating lunch, playing games, listening to music, relaxing. Grace and I continued to talk and get to know each other. I drove her back to school too, and said goodbye.

Over that spring the associate pastor and his wife invited several college students over for extended times of fun and fellowship, watching movies and entertaining their young boys. Grace was able to take some time off studying to attend one of these, so I volunteered to pick her up from school and bring her out to the suburbs so she could spend time with us.

The other Moody students had come out earlier in the day and so again I was able to spend time just with Grace, getting to know her better.

We also spent a Saturday helping some other students move to an apartment off campus. While there were others around, I sought out Grace and helped her and asked her to help me in specific tasks. I was twitterpated. And I believe she knew I was possibly interested in more than friendship.

Our friendship continued to grow and as the semester drew to a close I was trying to decide if I should ask her if we could move into a potentially romantic relationship or talk to her dad first. Various things led me to decide to speak with her dad first, but as I drove her and a mutual friend to the airport that morning in early May I bit my tongue.

Our parting was awkward as our relationship was possibly changing and yet neither of us had mentioned it to each other. We parted with an awkward side hug and I drove to work while she winged her way home to Dallas.

Earlier in the semester she had given me her cell phone number but had informed me her phone was broken and so I had not called her. As she left for the summer, she left a few boxes of things which would not fit in the summer storage at Moody which I was to take to the associate pastor’s house for storage. The boxes had her home address.

I spent the weekend visiting friends in Louisville, Kentucky and trying to work up the courage to call her or her dad. I still wasn’t very sure of her interest in me and I feared rejection. So I decided to try and talk with her one more time, just to gauge her possible interest.

Leaving Louisville late Sunday afternoon for the long drive back to Chicago, I called her. I’d used the address on her boxes to look up her home phone number in the phone book online. And now the phone was ringing.

Her mother answered.

“Can I speak with Grace, please? This is Matthew, a friend from Chicago.”

The phone call and the trip went quickly, all 4 hours of both. And I had my answer. We still had not talked specifically of our relationship, but I knew that if it was that easy for both of us to spend 4 hours talking and with similarities between us in standards and beliefs, I knew I wanted to pursue this lady.

The next day I called her dad. I spoke to him on Tuesday and asked if I could begin courting his daughter.

Over the next few weeks he asked me questions regarding my views and opinions on various matters and eventually told me he and his wife would allow me to court Grace.

I was planning a trip down to Missouri by then to see her for a weekend. She was working at Child Evangelism Fellowship’s headquarters outside St. Louis.

June 15th, 2007: The Friday before I drove down to see her, when we were having what by then was a regular evening phone call, I told her I’d been talking to her parents about courting her (she knew that already) and I asked her if she was willing to court me.

She said yes.

Over the summer she traveled to New York to work with children in the projects and other parts of the city, returning to Missouri and then Dallas in August, where I spent a week meeting her family and friends and having fun together.

We flew back to Chicago together: her to begin classes and me to get back to work.

Through the semester and now these months together I grew to appreciate more and more her strength, her tenacious love, her sense of direction and purpose, and her Godliness. Not to mention her beauty and her spirit, her consistency and organization. I knew rather quickly that she was definitely the one I wanted to marry.

Apparently she knew too.

After a winter trip to California meeting my family and friends and receiving further counsel from my parents, I began seriously considering marriage to this wonderful woman God had brought into my life.

After an intense period of counsel, thought, and prayer we were still unsure when the best time would be for our wedding to occur and our marriage to commence: Whether to marry this year or after she graduates in 2010.

Grace and I decided to have a period of time where we were to not contact each other but to spend that time seeking the Lord’s will and answers in our lives.

Ending Valentine’s Day, 2008, these 7 days were painful but rich, and we both, individually, felt God leading us to marry this year.

In the church parking lot, on February 25, 2008, 1 year and 2 weeks after we’d first met in the Sunday School classroom not too far away, I got down on one knee and asked Grace if she would marry me, be my wife and the mother of our children.

She said yes!

American Texan and I will be married August 2nd, 2008, in Dallas TX.

See our website at MattLovesGrace.com

Dead Sexy

In a previous article, Priorities Of Preservation, I discussed the importance Christianity puts on the entirety of an person: body, mind, and spirit.

While the world, in a misguided and myopic view constrained by sin, only really cares for the preservation of the body. And through ignorance, loses the whole person.

In a report released last week which most have already heard of or commented on, it was noted that 1/4 of the US Teenage Female population is infected with one of several Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

The immediate cry was that Abstinence Education must be completely abandoned and further explanation of the ins and outs of safe sex be taught to every child.

I find those making that argument to be their own worst enemies, and I am determined to sit and watch them tear themselves apart trying to make sense of what they’ve said.

Better have a good belt to hold these sides in. The problem is, this is no laughing matter: peoples lives are at stake.
At the blog dbTechno (“Providing Science And Technology News Since 1996″) under the headline “Teens Having Sex, Getting STD’s Due To Lack Of Knowledge” (strongly caution) there is a small picture of three bikini-clad young women shaking their derrières before the camera. This was the picture Google had selected on it’s news aggregator to highlight the several articles on this topic this morning.

In our sexified culture it is considered “emancipated” for a woman to be so “comfortable” with her sexuality that she feels willing to flaunt her body either scantily clothed or free of clothes before the whole world.

I don’t think that it is a sign of a healthy self-image that women are willing and even choose to clothe themselves that way.

I am not for arbitrary requirements in clothing, but it is saddening that, younger and younger, we are compelling out daughters and sisters to choose between frumpy and scandalous.

Removing their modesty with bits of lycra and spandex.

Revealing their bodies for the eyes of all the world.

And then we worry that too many of them are having sex.

I think a healthy self image will result in true self-worth, where the woman will not feel compelled to dress “sexy” to get the approval and acceptance of others.

When a woman is dressing revealingly they are revealing their insecurity, not their assuredness.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board this morning published an article titled “Abstinence-Only Education Needs To Go” (no scandalous images here) in which they completely demolish their own claims, twice.

First, early in the article they lay claim to the moral high ground:

From here, it would be easy to play the blame game. But that would be unproductive. It doesn’t matter if you’re the pro-sex education or abstinence-only type, the statistics speak for themselves, and what matters most is that something be done to make our children more sexually responsible and safe.

And then, in the very next paragraph:

Let’s start with re-tooling the failed abstinence-only approach backed by the Bush administration. Let’s teach teenagers about contraceptives and other precautions that could help protect them if they are sexually active.

Yes, lets avoid the blame game, and lets look at the facts. The Bush Administration has indeed backed and supported an abstinence-only education approach, because no one who practices abstinence contracts an STD, no one. It make sense to back a winner. But how many education programs has the Bush Administrations policy actually affected? Good question.

I would be willing to bet that with state policy, and NEA policy, and DoE policy, there is precious little abstinence-only education going on in the public schools of America.

The article then goes on to make an astounding statement. I very nearly cheered, at work, when I read this:

Abstinence teaching has its merits. It not only promotes a sure-proof defense against STDs and unwanted pregnancies, but also the idea that sexual activity requires a high level of maturity and understanding. An adolescent who engages in “protected” sex prematurely may not run the risk of physical infections, but could be exposed to long-term emotional and psychological damage.

And then gets to the…

BOTTOM LINE: Place more emphasis on contraceptives and STDs in sex-education classes.

And they reached that how?

With this simple caveat they have attempted to justify their entire tortured argument, and by extension, rationalize their continued support for the torture of young minds and bodies with illness both physical and psychological:

Like it or not, half of the teenage girls in this country are already sexually active, according to the study. Something has to be done to make them wiser in their choices, or we soon could have an even bigger public health crisis on our hands.

Do they not see the cruel irony?

Because we’re a bunch hapless, helpless dolts who’ve bought the lie that children are capable of making their own informed decisions regarding sex and mature relationships.

Because we’re a bunch of laissez-faire non-present parental units who feel no particular responsibility to counter the culture’s claims that boys are animals and girls are meat.

Because we’re a bunch of lazy do-gooders who value intentions over actions and outcomes and are willing to allow our children to do whatever they please so long as it makes them feel good.

We will complete ignore what we already know to be true: that premature involvement in adult relationships, emotional and physical, will not only harm the body but will also damage the mind.

So long as we tell enough of them to use condoms, we are perfectly willing to let them hop into bed with any yahoo or floozy who comes along.

Yea, that’s advanced society and parental love for you.

See also:

The Condom Conspiracy: Sex, Lies, STIs and Teenage Girls – the evangelical outpost

While we have Planned Parenthood and sex educators claiming that condoms can “offer effective protection against most serious sexually transmitted infections” the report finds there’s no scientific basis for that claim.

STD Data Comes As No Surprise, Area Teenagers Say – Laura Sessions Stepp and Katherine Shaver in the Washington Post

The Marrow girls offered several reasons why teenagers have sex.

“It’s to fit in, peer pressure,” Christine said, noting that virgins are often mocked. Also, “sex sells on TV.”

Khadijah chimed in that some young girls found their inspiration in the popular R&B singer Rihanna, whose latest album is titled “Good Girl Gone Bad.”

But Christina suggested something closer to home. “Write this down,” she said. “Bad parenting.”

How To Win The Culture War

Romans 1:18-32 (ESV):

(18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

(24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,

(26) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

(28) And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to what ought not to be done. (29) They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (32) Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

This passage is contains the litany of sin from it’s roots, to it’s inception, to it’s fruition. Of particular importance is the fact that this litany is particularly applicable to a lifestyle of sin.

The process of temptation described in James 1:14-15 (ESV) is more universal in it’s application:

(14) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James’ process applies to all in that even we as Christians are prone to temptation, lustful desires, sin, and spiritual death or dormancy.

Paul’s process and description is more applicable to the sin of lifestyle. From a consistent denial of God and His attributes, God will cast them down into degrading passions. If they will not exalt Him, He will deny them even ‘human’ decency.

But in our sinful state, the heart of man seeks approval, approbation, and acceptance. As our sins have crawled out of the closet and been accepted by others, they have gained courage and through courage, further acceptance. Eventually, and this is the state of our nation today, sin and acceptance reach critical mass and breaks out into the mainstream, demanding recognition as something other than what it is.

But how do we deal with this? The lines have been drawn, the gauntlet thrown down, our children are being indoctrinated in school and our cities are being cajoled into hosting sex-fests in their streets in the form of “gay pride parades”.

We’ve confronted them, attacked their ideology, beaten back their growth at times, but bit by bit they seem to be winning as people stop caring and say to themselves: “what’s so wrong about it, they aren’t hurting anybody”.

A key fact in any war is that those fighting FOR something have a distinct advantage over those fighting AGAINST something. A positive goal inspires confidence and wins allies, while a negative goal works against the human spirit bringing discouragement and desperation.

So far in our culture war, we’ve been fighting against the encroaching forces of multi-culturalism, sexual deviancy, and other forms of social decay. At times we remind ourselves that we’re fighting for our families and children and nation, but overall, it is a war of defense.

We have lost the high-ground though. The momentum is with the enemy. We are being backed into walls in nearly all fronts of this war. This is a good thing.

Yes, this is a good thing.

We now have something to fight for.

But what are we fighting for, and how do we wage that battle most effectively.

In the last year of blogging here at I, Pandora, I’ve come to realize the futility of forcing political change. Bringing about a political change may bring temporary gains, but we have to compromise. We force ourselves to accept less-than-optimal options in our leaders.

Political change is still important, very important. Those who stand in the gap for us are heroes who ought to be protected, and prayed over, and supported. But unless the hearts change, the same people will keep coming back with the same goals: to wipe out the influence and effectiveness of God’s word in the world.

Don’t be misguided, the people who champion the wrong ideas’ personal goals may be the forced societal acceptance of some deviance. But they are only the faces, they are not the enemy. They need true love, God’s love, as much or more so than any other.

No, the enemy is Satan. The deceiver. And it is in his impending and sure doom that we have our strength.

His goal is not acceptance of homosexuality, it is destruction of individuals in any way possible.

Our counter is the reaching of individuals in any way possible. And just as when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, and it brought healing to those who saw it, and as Jesus, when He was lifted up on the cross, drew all men to Himself. Lifting God’s standard once again will draw men and women to Him.

The root cause, according to Paul, of the sin lifestyle is a refusal to recognize God, His attributes, and His truth. So we need to place God, His attributes, and His truth before them in an unimpeachable, undeniable, and undeniable way.

This is not done necessarily with posters and signs, slogans and shouts. But with lives lived wholly for Him.

The mission field is not just in Zimbabwe or Zambia, China or Croatia, or India. It may be in Indianapolis, or Sacramento, or Dallas, or Boston. For you it is wherever you are, whenever you are there. And if you’ve not started yet, it starts right now.

Your mission: to live your life wholly for God.

This does not mean perfection or even the illusion of perfection. God’s law and God’s love balance each other and provide guidance for us through our struggles and our triumphs.

The family is under assault, so shore up the breeches. Starting with as solid a foundation as can be found, Christ’s love, build your family with hard work and constant prayer. Grow it as large as God will give, and share and spread.

It is humorous, but conservative, loving, Christianity enjoys a distinct advantage over all alternate and deviant lifestyles even if only through the “Rabbit Method”: where we out-grow the deviant by means of procreation. (Soberingly, this is exactly how Muslims are taking over much of the world, by having large families).

Large families are not required, and I know many good people who choose a single life of service, or if they cannot have children, use their additional freedom to free energy to wage mighty war against the enemy.

The important thing is not that we have large families, but that we follow God’s call for our lives.

In our stable and strong, God-fearing, and God-glorifying relationships, we have something the rest of the world, including every religion and worldview and mythos, envies: peace.

Not a hypnotized, brainless, mind-numbing peace. But an despite-the-world-falling-around-us peace which comes from having the Master and Maker of all creation caring for us and promising that He’ll work everything together for our good.

That peaceful life, lived on ever lane and at each corner, in the car and on the roads. Lived in public and in private, at the grocery store and the lumber mill and the cannery. And yes, even on the battlefields around the world. Will draw all people.

So don’t beat your plowshares into swords or your rakes into Uzis. Using your plowshares and rakes to God’s glory will bring a far greater, far more lasting, and far more effective harvest.

American evangelicals are the wests best hope (American Thinker).