Monday, May 31, 2010

Men of True Valor Remembered Today

"The Coming American"

Bring me men to match my mountains
Bring me men to match my plains
Men with empires in their purpose,
And new eras in their brains.
Bring me men to match my prairies,
Men to match my inland seas;
Men whose thoughts shall pave a highway
Up to ampler destinies,
Pioneers to clease thought's marshlands,
And to cleanse old errors fen;
Bring me men to match my mountains-,
Bring me men!

Bring me men to match my forests,
Strong to fight the storm and beast,
Branching toward the skyey future,
Rooted in the futile past.
Bring me men to match my valleys,
Tolerant of the rain and snow;
Men within whose fruitful purpose,
Time's consummate blooms shall grow,
Men to tame the tigerish instincts
Of the lair and cave and den,
Cleanse the dragon slime of nature-
Bring me men!

Bring me men to match my rivers,
Continent cleansers, flowing free,
Drawn by eternal madness,
To be mingled with the sea-
Men of oceanic impulse,
Men whose moral current sweep
Towards the wide infolding ocean,
Of the undiscovered deep-
Men who feel the strong pulsation
Of the central sea, and then
Time their currents by the earth's throbs-
Bring men men!

                   - Sam Walter Foss

as published The Family Book of Best Loved Poems, Doubleday & Co. 1952

Thank you Lord for the brave men who have gone before and for the men yet to come who have your eternity in their hearts.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dating, Questions and the Giving of your heart.

 K.  this is for you.  We've had lots of discussions about this lately. K. thought we talked very openly about much in the car.  Well not nearly as much as we'll be wanting to cover.   Poppa used to say, be careful who you "date" one of those guys you'll end up marrying.  You are a bright girl and love God.  You have a good head on your shoulders that naturally reasons and buried beyond that is the romantic heart of not only your earthy but more importantly your heavenly Father.  We are thankful you do not wear your heart on your sleeve.  Protect that heart and save it for just one.

Pastor and Mrs. Wilson have published these. So here's some questions we will be working through.  And also for those guys who would be brave enough to dare hope for you.  These are some questions you might want to ask of yourself.  If he doesn't ask questions.  He IS not worth his weight in gold.  You remember the chapel story right?! Keep asking questions.  Remember pachooktrenie toya barza ba dile bo Hoda, la serie, wo la gert. He must possess the character strong enough for you to respect and follow for a lifetime.   Who was really interviewing who and it better be both doing the interviewing  or it just ain't that likely to end well.

Growing up into God's callings

K's you had your blessing night tonight.  All your friends and you known so well by your godly gifted teachers who love and guide.  It is really an incredible community.  What a blessing.

K., you and A are good friends and recieve the same blessing of Geert Groote . Isn't he the "run to the roar" guy?  I know that our deepest desire is that you hear and know His voice, that you love and follow His precepts and do the ordinary in an extraordinary fashion.

Your friend K was with us this evening.  He was a good sport for going to your school not knowing anyone.  I thought you and he might get some reactions.  I was worried but you all didn't seem phased about it.  It is quite the experience watching you grow into a young woman.  I guess you're a senior now.  How did it happen that you transformed from being my scrunched faced little munchkin into this thoughtful, determined beauty?

I remember seeing glimmers of that determination when you would not relinquish the thought of figuring out how the power outlet worked.  That was a hard day. It ranked up there with the two week crib wars and the pacie revolt.    I am thankful you are determined, I am glad you have turned your gaze upon the all-powerful One.  I pray that you will be determined to know His workings. 

A parent of a younger kiddo came and told me how you were a great friend.  I know this; you have always looked for those littler than you to engage them in play and conversation, making them feel welcome or loved.  It is funny how being so determined to complete something, you  can stop in a moment to wait for and/or bless a little one. This is a sign of strength.  True strength is demonstrated in gentleness.  I know you have sometimes felt a bit gypped because of you siblinglessness. I do believe God has used that lack and longing to built a special tenderness in your heart.

I can't wait for the next 10 years.  Then again, I want you to stay right here, tonight, just watching you sleep.  TIme is going so quickly.  We are glad we get to have you close for at least a little more time.

We are so proud of you, we are thankful to see the Lord's work in you. We are ever grateful to be a community where your gifts arenot only being called out but more and more realized.  We are blessed to see you sweet friends and their callings and gifts. 


You weren't made for us, although the joy youhave and continue to impart is immeasureable, you are destined for more. Your name means "fierce follower of Christ"

"What were we made for?  To know God.  What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God.  What is the eternal life that Jesus gives?  Knowledge of God.  What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, life and contentment  than anything else?  Kowledge of God.  What of all states God ever sees man in, give Him more pleasure?  Knowledge of Himself.  - JI Packer

FCS friends graduating 2010.  So you can remember


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Protecting the Unprotected

I read something so disturbing the other day that I ended up sobbing as I read through it in disbelief.

The article was on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) being legally performed by physicians in the U.S. This happening anywhere is horrible.  It is not faceless people.  These are sweet girls that will grow into precious women.  The AAP is suggesting to change its former stance of strong dissagreement to be altered to allow Pediatricians in the US to "nick or pierce" young women per the requests of their families.  Basically what has been illegal to do - they want to legalize to keep girls' families from sending them overseas to get it done in a risky setting and to a greater extent.

The idea that the American Academy of Pediatrics would even consider doing this to young girls is beyond my comprehension.  What happened to "do no harm"? 

This obviously isn't the kind of godly dominus that protects and defends for the good and betterment of these precious women.  This kind of "dominus" is oppresive and physically symbolizes the delegation of girls as objects  instead of  beloved protected partners.  Ugly. Wicked. Wrong. This is no religious ritual we can condone or ascribe to as valid coming of age rite.  These young women will have serious, lifelong, personal, medical consequences; some are life threatening; many are severe and chronic. 

Sign a Petition to dissuade the AAP from reversing its prior stand.

Some Americans will say that is a shame, but it what "that" culture does.  It is really not our fight.  If it isn't our fight, whose is it?  Sexual assault is wrong against anybody, from any religion, anywhere.  We don't get to choose who to protect against criminal assault on the basis of religion.  Not even if it is Islam.  And yes, I know that is not PC.

Legally our courts should act desicively. We should not be soft selling sexual assault to appease a Muslim Tradition that is not only criminal, but also unjust, medically risky, and deforming.

In Scandanavia when they started prosecuting families that did this, the incidents went noticibly down.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dominating Husbands?

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength. - St. Francis De Sales

I have written and rewritten this blog for 3 or 4 weeks.  I know that there is no greater gift in my life than my husband's leadership in our home.  Thank you! My Dad told me again and again, "PJ, choose wisely, you're only choice is who you want to follow. Choose wisely."

We are studying a book -Reforming Marriage.  It has caused some eyebrows to raise. Most of the ideas of male leadership in the current cultural atmosphere leaves a bad taste in the mouth.  Especially, but not limited to women. D. Wilson, the author of RM, uses the latin word "dominus"  in the book. The word domination, dominate, and dominion all come from this root.  The use of this word had a type of "shock jock" effect on our group and caused quite a discussion. 

I do not know the intention of the author in the delivery accept to say - it's jolting and jolting can be good.  We are so placated onto the right road that we rarely listen with the depth needed to effect real life change.  We prefer to get our ears tickled.  Somehow, I think the misunderstanding that arose came from the default to our preconceived ideas rather than contemplating truth, "Let every man be a liar, and God alone true."

Pastor Wilson published vows on his blog from a wedding he just performed.  Well put.

Having said that -God calls- men need to dominate their homes.  Like Jesus having dominion over his church.  Yes - no man is like Jesus in that one cannot be perfect as he was perfect, however, each is called to and he can strive to love his own wife more precisely as he learns her character and her bents - just as we would agree that Christ loves each person with a deliberate and personal love.  Mignon McLaughlin says, "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."  Husbands and wives have a list that grows longer and longer of things they love about their spouses as the weeks, months and years of their union roll by.

It is politically correct to say that a man should not leader his wife.  "They" say "we" should be more "enlightened"  about the whole thing. Be gender equal, snubbing the ideas  of sexual diversity and complimentary design. However, whether or not you believe in intellegent design or more specifically a creator God, who designated genders and roles for the fullest level of fullfillment, doesn't negate the design exists. Dominion will be characterized as good or harsh. Because one disagrees that, God who is infinite, wise and loving, sets the perimeters of this will not negate the fact the design exists. For the domination order to be non-existent is not our choice, it exists and husbands will either rule harshly or abdicate which is bad or be administers of guidance for their families with loving kindness which is blessed  and a picture of God's benevolence. This true strength is gentle.

I get the whole men are harsh  and dominating argument.  That's not God's design. People who chalk bad dominus up to God are either being willfully stupid or mislead to disaster.  Remember, in Christ's show of dominus, he died for us when we were his enemies (Rom. 5:8).  Godly dominion by a husband  is loving, intentional and looks to, walks, jogs or runs intermintenly towards Him, who is Love, Good, and Ever and Only True. This direction is not done in perfection but persistence. Husbands and wives are fallen and need of Christ's loving grace and mercy. In a Christ centered marriage the general direction will be towards God.  The husband is to lead, the wife is to follow. When this is topsy-turvy neither are happy about it.  Rebellion against design never works.  In our wedding letters E., you exhorted us to forgive eachother 70 x 7.  In my immaturity I thought that so unromantic, I just wanted to stay in love,  after almost 20 years, I know the only reason we are still in love, is that we learned to forgive. God's precepts are true. Thanks for stating Truth even when I didn't/don't want to hear it.  Just a little meander- as ladies we are called to be actively submissive -D. Wilson discusses this in RM- meaning when we don't agree with our husbands we need pray for God's Spirit to bring understanding and speak truth in love. A wife isn't called to be a doormat but her husband trusted and wise cousel.  In this relationship the wife has full freedom to speak her opinions, concerns and wishes.  A husband looking to honor God will not run over his wife. He will act in Godly dominus.

This kind of dominion provides safety, freedom and growth. It is not opressive or harsh. She will truely experience and express ever growing beauty, like a budding garden, with  life and loveliness. (Read Song of Solomon) He will carry out the Work of the Kingdom. This Lover-Leader is God's idea  as is the  Beloved - Helpmeet.  Just to belabor the point.  Submission is choice the woman makes towards her husband as she is designed  to do by God - it is in no way coerced.  Her job is to help him fulfill his calling. This is where she will find her truest and greatest fullfillment. A song by John Micheal Talbot, puts it this way, "Come to the night, there to empty your life, to be fulfilled with the flowers of dawn" As Christ transforms us with His love- so does a loving husband bestows loveliness on his chosen bride.  Rogers and Hammerstein in the play Cinderella -, "Do you love me because I am beautiful, or am I beautiful because you love me?"  As she is well loved, she becomes more and more beautiful. And he loves more and more.  "Then" by Brad Paisley makes me think of this process.

Fairytales remind us that there really is good and evil, sorrow and happiness, right and wrong.  We all love fairytale endings.  Some say fairytales are not true.  I dissagree.  The Prince came from Heaven and Ressurected a Sleeping(dead) ghoul into His Radiant Beautiful Bride.  He has overcome the mingons of darkeness and He along with His Bride will live and love forever in a Heavenly Place. 

Small shadows of this grande theatre play out everyday in the homes of every husband and wife- it cannot be escaped.  We tell a truth about the the Christ centered real fairytale or we tell a lie.  We walk together through birth, death, joy, sorrow, fortune, misfortune, felicity, diaster, hope and dispare. Each season holding a gift of its own. Thank you E. Thank you for speaking more and greater truth as the weeks, months and years roll by.

"You know you're in love when you don't want to fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams."

-Dr. Suess

BTW, there is something is my heart that is overwhelmed with joy and peace by this design of God.

K.  - As I have told you, time and again.  Choose a guy like your Dad, and you'll be just fine.  If his compass is set towards Christ you'll be headed the same direction.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Place of her own

 My daughter who will be, sooner than I ever imagined, leaving the nest. (I remind myself often of this now-  as a shock and comfort - shock - I don't want her to ever leave- comfort - God has a path for her planned greater than I can imagine, more marvelous than I can conceive) Sounds trite, yet heartfelt.  Go figure.

For K like many, the early stages of the teen years were difficult.  She did not know where she fit.  With our transition from overseas, she was in shock at the culture when we came back, there was no awe about the way she translated it.  She was lost, she didn't get the mean, popular girl stuff.  And because she'd been in the ME she thought most things that went on here were trivial.

I witnessed an amazing thing at her Junior/Senior Banquet. We are blessed to be a part of a covenant community school. K mingled, chattered and generally commented on how great everyone looked with girl friends, and greeted her good handful of guy friends with hugs or heys.   To see her so comfortable and emotionally connected to a great group of kids and a wonderful mentoring community envokes the feelings I had as she took her first steps,  her proverbial "wings" are beautiful and breathe stopping.

My daughter is not a girlie girl, and in temperment is more logical and discening than emotional and feeling. That makes she and I complete opposites. We agree on a few things - 80's songs generally rock, singing them loud in the car is a good purge of stress, cute heels, and reading a book beats cleaning up (yikes!)   We also agree on ideas having consequences.  A line we have heard over and over starting from a good friend when we were overseas, years ago.  Thanks K.  Our family is blessed to be a part of a school where education is about being and not doing.  The doing proceeds from the being.  I am thankful that God has given her strong mentors that have instilled and modeled its about the being, not doing. 

It took me into my 30's to even perceive that this is a lesson that I should know and breathe. E. and I were talking this morning about his ability to be o.k. with just doing what he feels God calling him to without needing others to nod in approval - this facet of his personality has always comforted and provoked me.  I am glad my K.  is starting ahead of where I came from.  We all want that, our children to succeed. 

K. - "Nuture your mind with great thoughts, to believe in the heroic make heroes." - B. Disraeli - (an of course, always remember God is the superhero of every story)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Notes: FINIS and the Flood of 2010

I finished notes yesterday.  I read all the underlined parts of the first quarter to my sweet friend who was just feeling freshly disassembled over her basement taking on water.  I didn't know what else to do. I read to her.  One quote led to another.  I asked her if she wanted me to keep on reading - she said yes.  I guess her love language is being read to aloud also.  We laughed to the point of crying and laughed again. 

This book was appropriately real for the Great Flood of Nashville 2010 - which we unfortunately are in the midst of and will be for quite some time.  Some of us were spared and suffering mere nusances, others are lossing everything.  We have one friend literally left with only the clothes he was wearing when rescued and his dog.

"This world is beautiful but badly broken, St. Paul says that is groans, but I love even its groanings." p.17

The groaning, as with childbirth invovles real pain, real tears, real moments where you say will I ever be through this part.  As I watch people I love go through the groaning, I am sad, so sad.  I wish that they were not going through loss, devastating loss. Life changing loss.  Deeply hurtful loss. 

God is big enough to show his love through the pain and loss.  I believe that.  Some of my friends believe that.  To feel that we must wait.  Wait for the redemption of this Great Flood.

Even if we do not believe or cannot feel - if God is who He says he is - "he will push the shadows back"p.197

"We are in Winter, where the light dies and blood runs cold. 
But we are not forgotten,  Wet, ripped from the trees and trampled, we will not be lost, we are His words, and when His voice calls, we will come. ...We will laugh and carve FINIS on the earth.  We will carve it on the moon.  We will look to the Voice, to the Singer, the Painter, the poet, the One born in a barn, the One with holes in His hands and oceans in His eyes, and on that day we will know- The story has begun ( of the greater stage)"