sissymen-01

One of the many random courses that I was required to study in my otherwise useless degree was Inter-Personal Communications. Although it had little to do with the direction I had planned to take my Communications Degree of Radio / TV / Film, this class was one of my favorites. It was taught by an atheist professor that didn’t like me and my “preachiness” (as he put it) very much. But, oddly, I really liked him. He fascinated me.

He looked almost exactly like Christopher Walken, but somehow, with an even surlier demeanor. He was dry and slightly bitter. But he was well-spoken, and despite his liberal tendencies, spoke of by-gone times and by-gone ideals for which he longed. He was a walking contradiction and I suppose that’s why he fascinated me.

I had seven courses with the man, mainly because the communications department in my university was paltry at best. (Serves me right for choosing an agricultural school to study Communications, I suppose.) Inter-Personal Communications was the very last course I took with him, in the very last semester of my college stint. One of my favorite topics we discussed in that class was the phenomenon of role-reversals in today’s society. His beef was with the fact that he couldn’t seem to get his wife to submit to him as he wished. But for me, the study opened my eyes to a big problem in society as a whole.

We are cheapening men down to nothing more than accessories and we are asking women to fulfill the roles of both the man and the woman.

Gone are the days where “father knows best.”

Go turn on your TV tonight to any current major network television show. Tell me if there is one where the father in the family (if there is even a nuclear family anymore) isn’t an idiot. I can sum up the major comedies of the last ten years like this: goofy, somewhat unattractive yet slightly endearing man meets super smokin-hot woman in college. They get married during their drug and party experimentation phase and somehow come out of it a well-rounded, happy couple. The show picks up somewhere in the middle of their child-rearing phase of life. Now the husband is fat and stupid, spending his time looking for ways to get out of annoying family expectations like, you know, dinner at the table. The wife is still smokin-hot, way too skinny to have had so many kids. Her super-mom status has her running a household, rearing the children, working full-time, and somehow still having the energy to workout like a fiend, dress to the nines, keep the house magazine-ready, cook every meal, and offer hot, steamy sex to her husband whenever the mood strikes. She is perfect and her plight is that she has to be subjected to her painfully unglamorous family. But no matter, she finds her identity in her job and that’s what keeps her sane.

Sound familiar? It’s the plot line or premise for any “family” comedy or show on TV today. And it’s quite telling of the role-reversal phenomenon of modern times. Here’s a fun experiment for you: go turn on your TV. Now just watch commercials. See if you can find even one where the man is portrayed as the head of the house. Even cleaning commercials make men look like a bunch of imbeciles, for goodness sake. Gone are the days where “father knows best.” Instead, father is a gamer who drinks too much beer and resorts to asking his wife what to do and how to think. Mother is the head of the household today. And somehow she is supposed to both manage a perfect family and hate the concept of staying at home all at the same time.

Today’s woman is expected to have a perfect body, perfect home, perfect children who NEVER act up in public, and a husband who shuts up and knows his place. And today’s husband has little more expectation than to sit back and watch it all happen, beer in hand.

Bottom line: we are becoming a generation of sissies who shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves men, and a generation of women with unreasonable, unattainable expectations. And it’s destroying our society.

It’s high time we get back to the Biblical principles of the nuclear family, where the man is the head of the household and the woman submits to him. I know submission is a dirty word to most women today. But submission doesn’t mean, “Yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir.” It doesn’t mean you don’t have an opinion, ladies. On the contrary, it means that your opinion, along with your husband’s, is submitted to Christ. And it means that together, you seek His will for your home.

Submission is impossible for a woman when she’s married to a boy.

Submission isn’t abuse. It isn’t for a by-gone time. It isn’t outdated and embarrassing. It’s life-giving and absolutely necessary if we are going to experience the fullness and joy that is supposed to come with marriage.

But that’s just it – we’ve lost the concept of marriage, too. Marriage is no longer a life-long commitment before God. Now it’s a “as long is it’s easy” half promise before friends. And that comes from the fact that we’ve stopped asking men to be men and started asking women to do it all, perfectly, without mistake or complaint.

The thing about submission is that it brings about a partnership between the husband and wife. The thing about submission is that it means that neither of you is facing life alone. You are in this together, you are working together, under Christ, to face the trials, the joys, the losses, the triumphs life brings. The thing about submission is that it is absolutely imperative to success in marriage.

But submission is impossible for a woman when she’s married to a boy. But it’s awesome, fun, exciting, sexy, and downright unbelievable when she’s married to a man.

So men, step up. Put down your game controllers and be the man in your home. Love your wife the way Christ loves the church. Put her on a pedestal and revere her as the beautiful woman she is. And lead her in Godliness with the Holy Spirit as your guide.

And women, learn to submit to your husband, even if he’s not “submit-worthy” just yet. The humility that comes from doing what the Bible teaches even when it’s not easy will bless your marriage more than you can imagine right now. And stand by and watch the fruit that comes of it.

And parents, step up and rear your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to be ladies. Don’t shy away from chivalry and manners. Don’t be slow to ask your sons to step up and take responsibility for things around the house. Don’t be hesitant to ask your daughters to be lady-like. Teach your sons that a woman’s worth is in her heart, not her cup size. Teach your daughters the same. Give your children real responsibilities and expectations. Let them fail. And then use failures as learning opportunities, not belittlement opportunities.

If we can get our homes back on track, the rest of the world will get back on track, too. In fact, most problems of the world (if not all) stem from the home. Want to reverse the trends of socialism so prevalent today? Teach your kids to take responsibility for their actions, pride in their work, and face consequences with grace. Want to teach the world that they need Jesus? Teach your children. Consequently, you can’t teach what you don’t know, so make sure you’re not setting expectations in your home that you’re not meeting yourself.

That’s our job as believers – to start in our own homes. And that starts with a long, hard look at ourselves and what we need to get right with God, submit to Him fully, and let Him change in our way of thinking. After all, if we, this generation, don’t, who will?

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged… Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:18-20, 23-24

didnthavetimeforgod

I was too tired to read the Bible. It put me to sleep.

I struggled for a long time. I felt like a failure. I looked around me and saw my Christian friends reading the Bible, growing, learning, praying, in what seemed like a perfectly disciplined faith. I felt like I couldn’t live up to that anymore because I was a mother. What little time I had to myself, I was too tired to read the Bible. It put me to sleep. I felt so guilty that reading the Word of God put me to sleep, but it did. I had an infant. And then a toddler and an infant. I just couldn’t find the time or the motivation to read regularly. And the guilt was eating me alive.

Growing up, I remember my pastor saying not to feel guilty if you ever fall asleep reading the Bible. “What better way to fall asleep than in the arms of the Father?” he would ask. True, I thought. But if you never read more than a sentence before you fall asleep because you’re so tired that a moment of stillness is like a sleep aid, you begin to think maybe that sentiment doesn’t apply to you.

And so the guilt piled higher.

This went on for a few years in my life. I still prayed. I still worshipped God in the car, listening to my favorite live worship albums. I still went to church. But I felt like a colossal failure because I couldn’t seem to find the time to actually read the Word of God. I knew that’s where the power was. I knew that was what I needed to go to the next level in my faith. And I just couldn’t seem to have a breakthrough.

If you’re a mom reading this, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. A moment of stillness is like a fine wine – you cherish every sip, every second, like you’ll never have it again, because truth be told, you may not. Throw in the obligatory daily Bible reading and it seems like an insurmountable mountain to climb. It might as well be Everest.

But I have good news! There is a way to be a mother of young children and still nourish your walk with Christ in a meaningful way.

I was listening to a sermon from my pastor in my car one time when I heard him talk about his son. He said that his son was given some advice when he was a young entrepreneur – to get a copy of the Bible on audio and listen to it as much as possible throughout the day. My pastor laughed that his “cheap” son bought the King James Bible on audio because it was only $9 as opposed to $50 or more for the other audio translations. And because of the Elizabethan language he was immersing himself in day in and day out, he began to speak like Shakespeare. “How goes thou, dearest brother?” he would say. Pretty funny.

But that funny little story flipped a light on in my stubborn brain.

My faith doesn’t have to be defined by the actual physical act of reading the Word right now. I can listen to it instead! What a concept!

It’s so simple, and yet for me, it was profound. I am just in a tired season of my life. A busy season. A season of dirty diapers, and tantrums, and messes, and cries, and more messes, and more dirty diapers, and sharpies on the wall, and jelly on the floor, and rocks in my cup, and… you get the picture. Sitting down to read anything, while it sounds luxurious, just ends up being a recipe for sleep. Glorious sleep.

Any parent will tell you that the car is one of the few sacred places left where you can actually do a little thinking once you have kids.

So when God showed me that all I have to do is listen to the Bible, it opened up a whole new world for me! Now, every morning when I’m getting ready, I whip out my handy little smart phone and turn on my free audio Bible (any translation I want!). I listen to a chapter or two while I’m putting on my makeup. It’s awesome! I get to have a few moments to myself and immerse myself in the scripture all at the same time. It has become my favorite part of the day.

But it hasn’t stopped there. Whenever we drive, I listen to the Bible on audio some more. Any parent will tell you that the car is one of the few sacred places left where you can actually do a little thinking once you have kids. They’re strapped down, you see. They can whine all they want, there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re on the highway going 70 miles per hour. You can’t take their shoes off for them or find their monster truck. You have a legitimate excuse. And it’s a perfect time to listen to the Bible! (Plus a bonus: you’re immersing them in the Word, too!)

I live thirty minutes from my church, an hour and a half from my parents and generally twenty minutes from anything else I want to do, so needless to say, we’re in the car a lot. I made it through Leviticus that way.

The point, my sweet friends, is that your walk of faith doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. And in fact, it won’t. And that’s great! If you are in a season of life where sitting down to read anything, even for five minutes is out of the question, don’t fret. Find another way. There are endless resources out there. Even if it’s just a simple five minute devotional read from a free app, you can find a way to be with God each day. But I’ll forewarn you – it will only leave you wanting more! (What a great problem to have!)

And don’t let Satan keep you from reading the Word by making you feel guilty like he did with me. He robbed me of several years of meaningful growth in my faith by telling me I was too busy for God and by telling me that if I didn’t have an hour every morning before everyone woke up to sit in a quiet place and read and study, it wasn’t worth my time. But when your infant wakes up four times a night, what exactly is the definition of “before everyone wakes up?” See, that’s his plan – not to turn you to him, just to keep you from God. And he’ll use any means necessary, believe me. And a steaming pile of guilt is one of his favorite tactics with me.

Take back your walk. Don’t fall victim to preconceived notions. Ask the Lord today to show you how you might incorporate him into your day, everyday. And see if you aren’t radically transformed and blessed because of it.

If you would like to download the Bible app I use for audio (and reading), check it out here. There’s a kid’s Bible by the same company and it is awesome, too!

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Things My Kids Say: No. 018

thingsmykidssay
Watching TV with your kids is a learning opportunity. No, not for them. For you.

Virgil: Mommy, look at that rocketship!

Me: That’s not a rocketship, thats a zeppelin.

Virgil: No, that’s a rocketship.

Me: It’s called a zeppelin. It looks like a rocketship, doesn’t it?

Virgil: No, that’s a rocketship. I know about rocketships… and puppets.

Touché son, touché.

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Things My Kids Say: No. 017

thingsmykidssay
It would seem we have had yet another miracle in our house, for as I was doing a little work this morning, Virgil was quietly playing in the living room. I look over to see him eating a cookie (which I did not give him). So I asked him,

Me: Where did you get that?

Virgil: Jesus.

A miracle, indeed.

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Things My Kids Say: No. 016

thingsmykidssay
Of course, the moment I stick my hands in cookie dough to mix it up, my son yells, “I need to tinkle!” So I decide to brave it and tell him he can go by himself (normally I help make sure he pulls his pants down far enough, aims properly, etc.). When I’m done mixing the dough, I head to the bathroom to check on progress. I hear him flush on my way there and arrive to see that he has successfully used the toilet without making a mess of himself or it. So I exclaim,

Me: Good job, buddy! Did you go potty all by yourself?

Virgil: I did! It’s a Christmas miracle!

Ah, to be a wondrous three-year-old again…

And a Merry Christmas to you, too!

iblamegod
I fear we need to gain a little perspective on the subject of Phil Robertson vs. the entire homosexual community. I’ve heard a lot of people clarify their stance on the subject with phrases along the lines of, “it’s not what he said, it’s how he said it.”

Perhaps we need to have a little reality check. Phil Robertson is an uncouth, backwoods redneck (self-proclaimed). His beard is longer than my hair. His idea of comfortable clothes includes camouflage pants and a camouflage shirt. His idea of Sunday fancies includes camouflage pants and a black shirt. His idea of interior design includes a camouflage recliner to match his camouflage pants. If we were all expecting eloquent prose from the man, then perhaps we all need a gentle little “love slap” in our proverbial faces. Admittedly, his comments were uncouth and graphic. But his comments were also a paraphrasing of the Bible. So let’s all get honest here. We can hide behind the excuse of not liking how he said what he said, but reality is obviously that we just didn’t like what he said.

It has been God’s M.O. from day one to use the unexpected messenger.

And unfortunately, if you don’t like what he said, then you don’t like the Bible. That’s something you need to take up with God Almighty, not Phil Robertson. Or A&E. Or the whole of Christendom.

Yes, Phil Robertson is rough around the edges, to put it nicely. But if I don’t like that style, I don’t have to listen. I don’t have to watch. No one is forcing me to turn on A&E on Wednesday nights with my head in a vice turned towards the television, forcing the crudeness of Duck Dynasty into my sweet, innocent head. I can go watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo just as easily, and feel great about my much more sensible cable television choice.

But if you think that God can’t use someone like Phil because he’s uncouth and outlandish, you’re sadly mistaken. It has been God’s M.O. from day one to use the unexpected messenger. I don’t have the time to list out all of them (read the Bible for all the details), but I’ll use the example of John the Baptist, for the sake of this argument. (It is Christmastime, after all. And John’s mission was to herald the coming of the Promised One.)

John the Baptist. If you don’t know much about him, you probably at least know that he was dirty. And kind of gross. And lived in the desert eating locusts and honey. He was loud and kind of obnoxious in the face of the status quo. He probably, for all intents and purposes, looked and acted a LOT like Phil Robertson. (Consequently, Phil himself pointed out in his I Am Second† video that he doesn’t look nearly as rough as John the Baptist did. Funny, really.) But God used him nonetheless as a powerful herald to the world of that time that the Kingdom of Heaven was near! His message shook the world from the ground up, so much so, that the king himself (Herod) had him beheaded just to shut him up. (Oh the irony, A&E! Oh the irony!)

If God chose a vagabond like John the Baptist to herald the coming of His Son (you know, the Messiah, SAVIOR OF THE ENTIRE WORLD), why wouldn’t God use Phil Robertson to remind the world that we need him? He uses all kinds of people to spread His message. We are all different, after all. And different styles speak to different people. If you want a squeaky clean, feel good Gospel, tune into Joel Osteen. If you want a passionate, challenging Gospel, tune into T. D. Jakes. If you want a meaty and deep combing through of the Gospel, tune into Robert Morris. If you want a down-to-earth, rough around the edges version of the Gospel, tune into Phil Robertson. God’s in the business of being all things to all people, after all. He meets us where we are; He doesn’t expect us to become something we’re not in order to meet Him.

No, it’s not really Phil the world has a problem with these days. It’s his message. And his message is the Bible. So let’s all stop beating around the bush and be honest – people don’t like to hear that their way of life is a sin. People don’t like to hear that there is only ONE WAY to Heaven through Jesus Christ. People don’t like to hear that “good people” don’t get into heaven. People don’t like to hear that things are an abomination in God’s eyes. People don’t like to hear anything these days that might challenge their comfortable little zone of the world.

No, my friends, it’s not Phil Roberson you have a problem with. It’s God.

Take it up with Him. He can take it, let me assure you. And He would absolutely love to have the conversation with you.

†As an inconsequential side note, it was this I Am Second video that got me started watching Duck Dynasty. Before I saw it, I didn’t have a care in the world to watch the show because I’m not really into uncouth, pointless reality television. Just like you, I have a choice NOT to watch. But once I saw this video, I knew I wanted to know more about this family that would stand so boldly for faith on an otherwise grossly secular network. And God bless them for it!