things that make me go hmm....

Swedenborgianism?

Every single time I think I have run across nearly every variation of Christianity, I bump into a new one.

From Wiki:

The New Church (or Swedenborgianism) is the name for several historically related Christian denominations that developed as a new religious movement, informed by the writings of Swedish scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). Swedenborg claimed to have received a new revelation from Jesus Christ through continuous heavenly visions which he experienced over a period of at least twenty-five years. In his writings, he predicted that God would replace the traditional Christian Church, establishing a “New Church”, which would worship God in one person: Jesus Christ. The New Church doctrine is that each person must actively cooperate in repentance, reformation, and regeneration of one’s life.

The most curious thing I noted about this particular group is that they reject the Pauline epistles as authoritative.

From What is Swedenborgianism?

Swedenborgianism clearly denies the canon of Holy Scripture for the usual teaching (variations might be found) encourages rejection of not only The Book of Acts, but all of the Pauline epistles, seeing these books as being clearly outside of correct, inspired biblical teaching! Having said that, many Swedenborgians believe that there are lessons to be learned within Paul’s writings, but these writings should not be regarded as of equal value to the Gospels and Revelation.

Hmmm…

Swedeborgianism is a fun word to say, though.

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Date the frog, not the prince?

I just ran across this and thought it was a curious article. I guess I’ll put a poll at the bottom. No commentary to add as of yet.

Date the frog, not the prince begins:

The secret to long-lasting love could be as simple as dating a frog instead of a prince.

Relationships are more likely to be successful when the woman is paired up with a less attractive man, according to a new study.

After listing the criteria for the study, they offered this analysis:

The study had “Beauty and the Beast” results — women were happier with less genetically blessed hubbies, who compensated in the relationship with acts of kindness, including giving gifts, sexual favors or completing extra housework, according to Esquire UK.

“The husbands seemed to be basically more committed, more invested in pleasing their wives when they felt that they were getting a pretty good deal,” the study said.

Meanwhile, women who had hot husbands were found to more likely obsess over exercising and dieting in an effort to be slim.

“The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive,” said Tania Reynolds, an FSU psychology doctoral student.

I should probably just add a category tag titled, “things that make me go hmmm…”

 

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Minor quibble: Our hair grows just fine.

I already warned y’all that I have very little interest in a deep blog, so…

I was reading a site where  a debate was kicking up about whether women are required to wear a head covering when we worship. The post author was of the opinion that the Bible says a woman’s “long hair” (it doesn’t say that) is sufficient covering.

On that particular issue, my opinion doesn’t matter all that much. Covering is a sign of submission to God and to appropriate authority. For the married women, husbands are appropriate authority. Mine doesn’t want me to cover, so the Biblical answer for me is to not cover. We are Protestants and covering (except during communion) was not a tenet even when I was a child.

In the comments of the post I referenced there was a comment that caught my eye:

People have different terminal lengths of hair and these people have very short hair. This is the way God created them so they are not in disobedience to God by wearing short hair. Some African women (and many black American women) actually add hair to give them length that they cannot achieve on their own.

I have seen this asserted numerous times througout my life. I can certainly understand why people think this is the case, but it isn’t. Well, the part about black women adding hair is certainly true, but the rest isn’t. I touched on this quite recently, so I won’t go into a long re-hash, but the appearance of short hair on black women is a matter of texture and not a lack of hair. Cases in point here.

African women wear their hair short on purpose. They cut it. It’s hot there, and the access to products and services for styling is limited compared to the U.S. Almost every African woman I have encountered who emigrated to America stopped cutting their hair when they got here. There are more options and styling products available, and it’s not as hot year round.

As for American black women, many have shorter hair due to the damage and dryness caused by precisely the things mentioned, including adding hair, and all the hair drying and scalp destroying techniques that go along with it. I’ve never had a problem growing a lot of hair, but I have never in my life (not even once) worn a wig, weave, or braids with artificial hair. Not because I was too good for it. Just always been around men who hated it.

So for the record, ’tis not true that black women cannot grow long hair. It’s good to be  informed since misinformation abounds; on everything from the “dangers” of saturated fat to the life saving technology of mammograms to global over population. I could probably list a dozen more commonly acceped myths off the top of my head.

Reading really is fundamental.

 

 

 

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Beauty in the ashes.

I read this piece by Rod Dreher and it immediately resonated with me.

Dreher gets that there are many facets of life. He highlights how three dimensional living adds a richness to life which opens us up to rich, meaningful relationships with all kinds of people.

As I read it, I was reminded of several life affirming, beauty deriving,  uplifting moments spent with family or friends just in the past four weeks:

  • A mini road trip I took with our daughter to try out a great bakery.
  • A picnic in the park with SAM and our two youngest.
  • Great conversation with a group of other mothers over lunch.
  • Surprising my sister in a way that brightened her day.
  • Listening intently and enjoying something new as my husband shared the music of an artist he recently discovered.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg, but Dreher’s expression of moments like those juxtaposed against his professional presentation and reputation was masterfully articulated:

I’m serious when I tell you I thought about that catfish all day, and it made me so happy.

But I am limited as a writer, and cannot find a way to express in more than a few words how eating that catfish with my girl was pure sunshine. So I didn’t write about it. Instead, when I got home, I found in my e-mail queue several outrageous things that were happening. That’s easy to write about, in detail. The late Roger Ebert once observed that the worse a movie is, the easier and more fun it is to write about it. It takes a writer of rare skill to essay about how a platter of fried catfish in Manchac made the big mess that is our world seem farther away, and in fact reminded one that life, despite it all, is good.

I am not that writer. Alas. And this is why people who meet me for the first time are always surprised that I’m so easygoing, and want to do nothing but eat, drink, and sit around telling funny stories. I’m not playing a cynical role; I really do care about everything I post here. It’s just not reflective of who I am, deep down: a guy who thinks the world is probably going to hell, but who believes good food and the company of people he loves redeems it all.

Yes.

No matter how bad things are, and no matter what we think -or write- about them, beauty is available to appreciate and joy can be spread and shared.

Go, read, be encouraged:

Fish and chips as a guide to life.

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Summer’s Last Hurray.

Today begins my nutritional reset from a summer of excessive celebrations. I’ve written before that Whole 30 is my favorite reset and I will be doing that until Thanksgiving.

Actually everyone in our family is doing a reset of some sort for at least 30 days. Everyone except my husband. He’s not a bandwagon guy. Speaking of SAM, his birthday cake is the title reference.

While I have passed the baking torch to our daughter in many areas, when it comes to SAM’s birthday cake, no delegating is allowed. That is just fine with me, because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

He doesn’t like anything that is overly sweet, which includes lots of frosting, so I made him what is referred to as a naked cake:

As you can see, the caramel frosting is only on top and between the layers.

It was delicious, an apple pecan spice cake with caramel frosting topped with glazed apples. I know it isn’t quite fall yet, but it is exactly the kind of cake he likes.

Between homeschool, supplemental school, church,  homemaking,  and other activities there is no way to eat paleo without a meal plan and prep work. As a result Saturday afternoon is dedicated to meal prep for the week.

It may be September 2, but fall has come early to our house.

Just ignore the sweltering heat.

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For the love of food

Because this kid’s infectious enthusiasm helped to re-ignite my love of cooking, I’m sharing her thoughts on the difference between appreciating food versus mindless eating.

flour and parchment

“I love food!” I hear this on a regular basis. We live in a society that has a passion for food or so they say. Recently, I discussed the joy of food with an elder at church. I listened to her describe a a dish she prepared, and noticed that she described it with all of her being. As she went through the steps, she mimicked the mixing and pouring. As she described the smells, textures and flavors she closed her eyes visualizing it all as she told me about it. I was enraptured.

At that moment I thought to myself, “This is what it is to have a sincere appreciation for food. She handles her food with such care and is mindful of all that goes into it. Food for her is more than a source of nutrition but an experience”. I think about all of the self-proclaimed “foodies”…

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Because chicks can be enlightened too…

On a day when the sun is going dark (we’ll get 85% sun coverage in our area), I thought I’d offer some good links from a few thoughtful, thinking ladies. Yes…those exist.

Some of these are older, but most are new:

Enjoy your Monday.

For the homeschoolers, is this not the best Science lesson day ever???

family life, real living in a virtual world, wife stuff

Marriage should be a beautiful symphony, not a tug of war.

.Much has been said about the difficult time we Westerners have with the uneasy balance between our ideals and harsh realities. This is true in many areas including our thinking about Christian marriage.

We share with our daughters the principles of Christian marriage by example. Scripture is powerful, but the repeated New Testament commands for us to “one another” makes it clear that quoting verses alone falls short. On a recent walk, my girls and I touched on the blessing -and responsibility- of living in submission to a husband’s authority, and imagined -as that’s really all we can do- the blessing and responsibility of living with the authority of paternal and husbandly headship.

As I took the time to think about the things I read on the matter, the picture which emerges is often sad and adversarial to the point of being toxic. It also stands in stark contrast to my own marital experience. We never fought a lot. The occasional disagrement? Yes, but fighting as a regular occurrence just didn’t happen. The reasons for that were not always the healthiest, but it only took a few short years to get to the point that we realized it is best to deal with disagreements when they arise if the law of love was principal driver.

The headship/submission model, when viewed it as a blessing rather than simply a burden to both parties, is a beautiful interplay between two people who understand the gift that God has given them. As we love, with full understanding of the weight of responsibility and accountability towards God and eah other, our chlldren also benefit

In a world where everyone is clamoring for what they believe is rightfully theirs -authority, respect, validation, and affirmation- children of Christian parents should get to see that these things flow naturally when the law of love, rather than the law of grasping for power or control, rules. It should go without saying (leaving aside extreme cases and eggregous sins) that getting you off your mind and focusing on blessing someone else leads to greater life satisfaction and happiness. However, and I know I say this a lot, nothing goes without saying anymore.

I can’t imagine seeing my husband’s authority as a vicious constraint put on me by an angry God solely to hold me down and keep me in check, but also believe that He has graciously put his spirit in me to guide me into all Truth. Isn’t that contradictory? My husband can’t imagine a life where every single tiny difference of opinion or act that annoys is an attempt to usurp his authority or an attempt to test his fitness so I can decide whether I want to stay or go. If I’m manipulating, and sometimes I fall into that, a swift and sure calling out sets things right quickly enough without thoughts speeding headlong into the notion that I am ripe to file for frivorce.

What kinds of Christians view sex and money in marriage as commodities for which each has traded for in marriage? Where in the New Testament do we see this as a way to approach a relationhip that God has says mirrors the relationship between Jesus our Messiah and His Body? It’s disgusting really, and I am so very thankful for a strong, dominant, yet loving husband who allowed the Spirit to teach him how this thing is supposed to be done.

The result, and trust me on this, is a beautiful interplay between people who know how to love, who respect authority and submission, and still appreciate the unique gifts and talents God has placed in the members of the family to be a blessing to its other members.

So when the man says to me (as he justifiably did quite recently), “Please don’t ever walk out of my house again dressed like that”, it didn’t take long for me to appreciate that he was right to object. I am after all, representative of his glory. The only reason I should be offended by his request is thinking of myself as a free agent representing myself only.

When I suggested that it would be best to wait before embarking on a new household project he is considering, he understood that I wasn’t usurping his authority. Rather, I was doing exactly as he had instructed, keeping record of the accounts as we updated our house over the summer.

If either one of us had been conditioned to see every little question, comment, or slight as a “spit test” on my part or lording of authority on his part, how miserable we would be!

It’s sad that many if not most believing women find the very idea of submission offensive, and that some believing men think headship means any independent thought their wives express is evidence of ftness testing or hypergamy.

For those *teaching* women: You don’t do any favors by telling sincere and well-menaing women that they are vile creatures simply because they display any evidence of being human and that their husband’s less than stellar, but equally human tendencies, are all their fault and that their men would become perfect specimens of godly leadership if only the women would submit right. Talk about manipulation and subversion!

After all…who’s supposed to be leading whom here?

It is so beautiful and comforting when you expect the best of your mate, refusing to assume the worst. Also, as bad a rap as romance gets, it’s kind of romantic and sexy too. And not just for him, thank goodness. God is not trying to make our walk in this life even more difficult than it already is by making enemies of those He gave us to ease our load.

So please…re-examine the Scriptures and your ways of thinking about these things. You’re missing out on SO much if you don’t.

Humility is important, Living with other believers, wife stuff

True love should humble us.

When we are well loved, it humbles us. This should have not been an epiphany for me today, but it was.

I was talking to a friend, and she was encouraged by a compliment I offered about my husband: “He is the one who keeps this ship afloat”. Because we spend enough time communicating and in each others’ presence that she knows how much invest in my husband and family, she admonished me not to underestimate what I add to him.

I don’t underestimate it. I just don’t think about it,  instead directing my energy towards honoring him rather than focusing on me. He is open about his appreciation for me also and is equally likely to extol my virtues when the occasion arises.

When I considered my friend’s sincere desire that I not underestimate what I bring to the table, for a split second I wondered if perhaps my near constant desire to exalt him means I am devaluing myself. Then it hit me: No.

Appreciating and relishing being loved by one who is excellent and worthy of praise humbles us, or it should. My husband is not perfect, but he is unquestionably an excellent man whom I have no qualms categorizing as exceptional. That he loves me at the level of intensity with which he clearly does is deeply humbling. It is not something I deserve.

It made sense today, more clearly today than it has in a long time, the passage describing the marriage relationship as analogous to the relationship between Christ and His church.

This is the advantage and strength, I am learning, of developing good friendships and prioritizing time with them. It’s not all fun and games. There are some things that can only be transmitted in one on one relationships.

American identity, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

Thoughtful commentary by thoughtful, thinking men.

I’ve been knee deep in family celebrations and get togethers for the past little bit. Perhaps there will be more on that at a later date, but I took a bit of time to catch up on some of the writers that haven’t been winnowed from my formerly way-too-long reading list. Some of these are worth sharing. Some I fully agree with and others I appreciated for the opportunity to think about the implications. In no particular order:

To say that Garvey’s Ghost has been on a roll the past few posts would be an understatement. I really enjoy this guy. He thinks, and he makes sense, and even on the rare occasion when I have a quibble (for instance, I am just not into Pan-Africanism), I click away from his stuff with something to consider that is off the left or right’s beaten path.

Next up is Doug Wilson’s thoughts on using profanity. I *get* where he coming from here. I really do, and although I battle with cussing in my head at times, it is extremely rare for a cuss word to come out of my mouth. My husband, who can be pretty incisive with his words, and is known not to pull a verbal punch, finds profanity problematic as well. The difference is that rather than it being indicative of someone’s lack of love for the Lord, he sees it as a lack of ability to think well or quickly enough to convey the depth of one’s convictions or perspective without it.

I’m not particularly moved by squeaky clean language coming from a snooty, snobby, self-righteous person. I’m so over propriety draped over feigned piety that I could spit, and someone who uses a cuss word here or there -unless the setting or situation is wholly inappropriate- doesn’t really bother me all that much. It certainly doesn’t mean they’re a Hell-bound sinner. I said Hell. Is that permissible?

Buried in the comment thread of Doug Wilson’s post was a comment tangentially related to the subject matter, but this guy’s words resonated with me so deeply that I think they bear repeating for their spiritual value. It is this very conviction which has completely overhauled the way I view people. More importantly, the way I speak to and of them:

Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a lot more about how sinful I really am. The part that scares me is not that I sin, but that I don’t fully desire to be rid of it. I do at times, but at others I make accommodations for it’s presence. I’m not sure I know the difference between personal disappointment and disgust, and real repentance.

Yes, brother, whomever you are. I know exactly what you mean. If there’s any good from it, it’s that it keeps my heart tender towards others. Saints who know they are also sinners tend to be less snobby. Or we should be.

Lastly is a C.S. Lewis piece that I was reminded of by a commentator at Zippy Catholic’s. I cannot recall which post this was buried in, but the portion from Lewis they quoted was this bit:

Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. Fur spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.

I was motivated to go re-read the entire article which I hadn’t read in at least a decade, and it was well worth the re-read. Lots of good stuff there, regardless of whether or not you agree with the thrust of Lewis’ argument:

Well, between the reading and the writing of this post, lunch break has gone way over. If I was on somebody’s job, I’d be losing money.

Enjoy the rest of your day. All 15 of ya.