blogging madness, healthy living, real living in a virtual world

Okay, I lied.

I said I wasn’t going to write before next month, and with the exception of this little explanation, I’m not going to write. But this counts as writing, so…

What I am going to do is run what I would consider my “best ofs” for the next six to eight weeks, posts I have written over the past 7 years that I am particularly pleased with. After that, I need to get back to what I really want to do, which is read books, write book reviews, and write my own book on a topic that I feel very strongly about.

I started Cal Newport’s Deep Work yesterday, and it is already reverberating in my mind in ways I never anticipated. In addition, it is my firm conviction that the extra things we add to our lives, the things that our lives can do without, are things that we should re-examine, change, or abandon when they cease to add real value to our lives or anyone else’s. That isn’t to say we should only do things we enjoy, but those things which add stress without any corresponding value are things best left behind.

During a season when this particular enterprise was adding value to me intellectually as well as offering encouragement to other people, I (along with some other really smart chicks) wrote some interesting stuff. I call them my “best ofs”, and the next several weeks this space will consist completely of those pieces. Mostly for posterity.

To some of you who have been folwoing me a long time, it’ll feel like re-runs, but I hope they’re the kinds of re-runs you don’t mind enjoying again; kind of like your favorite old movie.

To those of you who haven’t read them before, I can only hope they were as good as I think they were.

 

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el's rabbit trails, family life, healthy living, Homemaking stuff, real living in a virtual world, things that make me go hmm...., Uncategorized

Parting Shots…

I’m going to take a holiday centered break from here beginning November 1st until after the Thanksgiving break. I fervently hope to be able to enter the Advent season with a relaxed mind and a focus on commemorating Christ’s advent into the earth. That means a lot of planning and shopping need to get done now so that I have the freedom to do that.

This is similar to a Frivolous Friday post, but in a more stream of consciousness vein.

~ Growing up:  This past Saturday SAM and I attended the homegoing celebration for the widow of a man from his childhood neighborhood. This man, an electrician, noticed when he was a little boy that SAM had a unique sense of how things worked, and a mechanically inclined mind. He would take him with him to electrical jobs and show him the ropes. Incidentally, we have lived in this house for a long time, have never called an electrician, and not because we’ve never had an electrical problem. The man’s door was always open to SAM and his brothers, and they came and went in his house, and this woman’s refrigerator just as if they were her kids. Her children had the same freedom at SAM’s parents’ house.

The interesting thing about occasions like that one is how strange it is to see people you haven’t laid eyes on in 20 or more years. Many of them I knew from the days pulling my beat up powder blue ’89 Ford Escort up to SAM’s parents’ house at the beginning of our relationship. It’s funny how people you think you’ll be connected to forever sort gradually fade from view as you build a family and grow into a separate person than the one you were when they knew you when. It has a surreal quality to it even as you are so happy to know that they are all alive and well. I can remember when I used to wonder how I lost touch with so and so. Now I know it’s just the way life is.

~ More surreality: I am not a person who hears from God directly as some do, but I had an eery experience recetnly.

I have tiered friendships. There are the couple of women I speak to on an ongoing basis. The ones I immediately pick up the phone to call or shoot a quick text to ask for prayer. There are others I see weekly (and have for years) as a result of our kid connections.

Then there are the friends I connect with maybe a few times a year: holidays, birthdays, etc. I can literally go months without speaking to them and out of the blue one of us will call or text the other and say, “Just thinking of you, friend. Love ya.” I woke up Saturday after having a dream about such a friend and her family. I hadn’t connected with her with since March. I didn’t call her right away, but I did pray for her. I was pretty busy so I shot her a text Sunday, to which she replied, “Oh my gosh…this was right on time!”, and preceded to tell me what challenging blow her family was dealt just last week.

It was definitely one of those things that made me sit up and take notice.

~ Brazen: I shared a story with Hearth (and another friend) the other day which sent us off on a very funny text conversation about a subject that isn’t particularly funny. Namely, the realtively shameless way many women comport themselves for the attentions of married men.

It’s not particularly shocking to me, since I don’t live under a rock, but it certainly puts to death this notion of the so-called sisterhood that feminists and masculinists try to put forth as a real thing. What sisterhood there are between women are not about being of the same sex. If it was, certain things wouldn’t be a thing at all.

I have a much greater respect for the woman who said to my husband a couple of weeks ago: “I know you’re off the market, but if you have a brother -or even a friend- who is available, set something up for me. I know your circle must some good men in it.” His circle does have some good men in it. Most of those old enough for her are already taken, though.

~Another day, another diet: So I’ve been flirting with the idea of the keto diet off and on for months. I haven’t been able to bring myself to bite the bullet on it, though, mainly because it’s the kind of thing for which there are no margins. I like margins. There is such a thing as too wide margins, and I know something about those as well. But NO margins? That’s daunting.

Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a go. I, as usual, could certainly stand to lose a few pounds. I’m always wrestling with the same 25. Up and down, up and down. But one of my overwhelming reasons for considering this is the pain I have been battling since I injured myself in late summer trying to impress the man with the heavy duty work I could get accomplished. He was impressed, but unhappy with my lack of priortizing my health.

Apparently something about keto affects the body in a way that relieves pain. I’ll let you know next month how I do with it. My bullet proof coffee this morning was delicious.

~App-oholic update:  So the man got me a new phone, because he just figured I needed one. The old one wasn’t broken. It just had a crappy camera and was always notifying me that I was about to run out of space.

The space problem was more about music, un-deleted text streams, and the myriad pictures and random kid videos that I never bother to transfer, but compared to his phone with years of information and 5 times as much music, mine was a relic. So he replaced it.

About a year ago, I went on right here about my increasing dependence on apps for things I would have found ridiculous a couple of years ago. Ahem. Since I got this phone, my app usage has gone up, not down.  Not only do I have the apps I mentioned before, but I’ve added even more: a HIIT trainer, parallel Bible app, and a put my WordPress app back on there. Oh yes, my Target Cartwheel app. I get a perverse pleasure out of that little cha-ching sound they text me when I combine a cartwheel discount with my red card savings. My husband added Spotify and Letgo because I need a classified app on my phone, I guess?

In other words, I’m wading in apps again. I figured I should confess it since I feel a little wormy about it. And I don’t even have Facebook!

So…this is the view from the rock bottom of app-oholic mountain.

I’ll be around a bit because wordpress app, but I don’t anticipate posting anymore before December. If you’re already well underway with your holiday preparations, do share!

 

 

 

el's rabbit trails, healthy living, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

Grow or stagnate.

I think about this most often in relation to the Christian faith, but it occurred to me today that it applies in most areas of life.

Life provides a wide range of  conversations, experiences, interactions, and trials. To go for years on end, never having our perspectives challenged, understanding clarified, capacity for grace expanded, conclusions honed or faith deepened, is indicative of lack of growth.

If anyone can live 5, 10, 15 or more years and not have the lens of their view in any way changed, or their reactions evolve more maturely and graciously, they’ve lived a stagnant life.

Stagnant water stinks, and the only things which live and thrive in it are bacteria and parasitic insects which transmit disease. Insects like mosquitoes, which fly around biting as many people as possible to spread the diseases they carry as quickly and as widely as possible.

I am thankful for growth, including stretching, painful growth. That I questioned suppositions I was so certain of years ago, and that my smug surety about so many things has given way to an openness about the things that don’t matter as much in the eternal paradigm. Even so, I have grown more certain than ever about other things.

This, of course, requires thought and ours is a culture in which thinking has died a painful death. Even among the supposed smart people. That’s is too bad. Without growth, what’s the point?

*I am not referring to watering down The Faith, its bedrock principles or the clearly commanded principles in Scripture that form the foundation on which the believer is to live her daily life.

 

 

Common sense, cultural absurdity, healthy living, real living in a virtual world, spirit led living, things that make me go hmm....

Saturday Stream of Consciousness

Mountain stream

Some thoughts rolling around in the streams of my mind while my beloved works and our firstborn has commandeered our kitchen for business purposes. With some time between loads of laundry, I came here to ramble before I start reading The Children’s Homer  and putting some effort into making a skirt.

~Boring testimonies?  One of my kids shared with me this article from Christianity Today. Because I know intimately some of her struggles, all of my girls’ in fact, I was glad she ran across this piece as she was looking for something else.

I was on my way to having a similar testimony but my inner rebel reared her ugly head in a spectacular way just before I turned 21 making it easier for me to identify a need for repentace. Even still, it was years later before I understood the depth of my depravity apart from Christ and that it was so from the moment I was born into the world. I was totally gripped by ” But I’m a good person” syndrome for a good long time.

~Exercise lethargy: Missing workouts for just 10 days has made me feel like I am back at the exercise starting gate. I know I’m not, but it just feels like it. I’m getting back into the swing of it however. Making proper sleep and tending to the needs of someone else the priority over my early morning workouts was absolutely the right move, but I am glad to be getting back into some semblance of a normal routine. 

It’s kind of eerie really, how the rest of the world keeps moving when ours stops, and how they (gasp!) expect us to somehow get it together and start moving again too.

~Couple dynamics: Spending some time with my stepmom last night highlighted for me how powerful couple dynamics are. It has always been pretty obvious that my dad was the more socially active, community minded of the two of them (even though he was more than 20 years older than her). However, his presence made the dynamic less apparent while his absence has made it almost palpable. It made me think about our couple dynamic. I am much more social than my mom, but my husband is the relational guru of this duo, and it would be a struggle for me to keep our connections alive and relevant without him.

~The prosperity gospel is about more than just wealth and health: There is an unspoken but nearly ubiquitous belief among American Christians. Namely, that if you do everything *right* then you deserve good things to happen to you. Conversely, if you’ve ever been a rank sinner in your life (which supposes that there is anyone alive who never was), then you don’t deserve for good things to happen to you.

It’s another form of the prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all. Matthew 5:45 springs to mind, but more than that, where does any one of us get off declaring evil those whom God has called among His redeemed? This is why I echo what David said: Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” Which brings me to my final thoughts:

~Making the perfect the enemy of the good: My e-friend Scott has been thinking, which may or may not be dangerous. His is one of the few sites I bother to dialogue at anymore, even though he espouses a few ideas with which I disagree. His latest post made me think, and not just about the topic at hand, even though I agree with his thoughts there.

Specifically, I was thinking about how most people, in various areas of life, are pragmatic and appreciate that reality will do, even as we strive for the ideal. It’s not like I don’t understand why this tendency breaks down when the subject is our most intimate relationships, but I wonder how many more marriages, families, and children would be spared to later thrive in something closer to the ideal if we weren’t being conditioned to believe that we all are fabulously unique and specail creatures wh only deserve the very best all the time. Actually, that wasn’t my final thought.

~ Musings from the stats page: I sometimes  look back at an old post when I see on my insights page that someone recently read it. I’m not much one for looking back, or even remembering, the details of what I wrote 3 months ago, let alone more than 6 months ago, so it’s kind of neat to re-read some of those posts on occasion. After reading some of the things I wrote this spring and summer, I noted how closely my thoughts were dovetailing with a verse of Scripture I read this morning in 1 Thessolonians about people being busybodies, minding others’ matters.

Being really big on the idea of “live and let live”, I find anyone’s fixation with things which are really none of their concern equal parts fascinating and grating. I suspect it’s probably just part and parcel of being a denizen of an Internet “community” which is hihgly concerned with orthopraxy as well as orthodoxy, but it really does grate on my nerves when someone teaches a wife to do things that are actually her husband’s business, or mind what someone else should read, write, or comment on. Additionally, there is a lot of Romans 2 on display, which is an excellent reminder for me to stick with discussing issues, and never people. I’ll close this stream of consciousness with one of my daily prayers, which seems apt:

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and My Redeemer.

You can find that one in Psalm 19 for anyone interested.

 

 

 

American identity, Beauty, cultural absurdity, healthy living, real living in a virtual world, spirit led living

Happiness is boring to postmoderns.

‘Tis a statement of fact that postmodern people -including Christians- have been effectively de-normed. We do not know how to appreciate simplicity, to be content, to be happy,  to rejoice with those who rejoice, or to mourn with those who mourn, or even define bedrock terms from a Biblical framework.

All most of us know how to do today is gawk, gossip, and gripe. It’s a sad truth, but it is a truth nonetheless. This was a hard pill for me to swallow a few years ago when I first committed a more positive thought and conversational life. That’s not to say that I fully achieved this. It was hard then, and it sometimes still is, but it’s easier now that I accept being mostly on my own looking for the joy in the dailyless of life, and being thankful for it.

Every now and again, however, I run across a fellow traveler who is quick to offer a response of heartfelt joy to someone else’s good news, good fortune, or acts of Christian kindness. Someone who offers exuberant, unsolicited praise for their husband, gratitude for their church, and just seems to be looking for the good in a world awash with bad news. It encourages me, as did this piece I stumbled upon via Rod Dreher:

Boy oh boy, is Felix Miller ever right:

Contemporary young people on the right may be described in many ways: Transgressive. Ostracized. Principled. Unpopular. Free-thinking. Reactionary. Traditional. However accurate—and perhaps damning — one thinks these are, there is one label that greatly worries me: Joyless.

He’s not talking about being funny, in a smart-alecky way. He’s talking about something rooted in love. More:

Many on the right, especially those who identify as “Alt-Right,” spend massive amounts of time rejoicing in the pain of those with whom they disagree. The fact that videos about “libtard meltdowns” and “Butt-Hurt Crying Hillary Voters Compilation” have far more views than videos about Shakespeare, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Dante’s Commedia, should tell us something. Young conservatives and reactionaries, much as they flail their hands at the death of Western civilization and the loss of wisdom, do very little in the way of actually preserving the beauty and truth underlying this great tradition. If joy is truly a result of love, man must be very careful to develop the right affections in his breast. Right now many on the right seem hellbent on cultivating affection for dank memes rather than for truth, goodness, and beauty.

Miller says that G.K. Chesterton ought to be our model. We can’t simply say what we’re against. We have to say what we’re for, and not only that, but we have to live it out. If we really believe what we say, then “we must show our countrymen that there is a better way.” Miller suggests eating, drinking, and making all kinds of traddish merry. More:

This may seem abstruse, but in fact it is one of the most practical realizations a young traditionalist can make. Simply change your habits to help bring friends and family into rituals and ways of life that affirm reality. Host a formal dinner! Go to an art museum! Have a picnic in which you read classic poetry aloud! This is how we can create a sustainable traditionalism in the West.

What I am advocating here is not aestheticism, but communally gathering around all that is true, good, and beautiful. Politics is ordered toward promotion of the common good, thus in order to engage in politics we all must first have a love for the good. We cannot base the rejuvenation of our dying civilization upon a shared animosity, for as Chesterton reminds us, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

True, this. Is it any wonder the world is in the mess that it’s in, and the church along with it? Why do so few seem to ask whose interests are served by our perpetual state of discontent, blaming, criticizing, finger pointing, and fighting?

Sadly, I think I know the answer to the questions. It’s because our natures, deep down, love darkness rather than light. Not only that, we’re mentally lazy and cognitive misers. That may be redundant, but it’s worth a double emphasis.

Joyful living and appreciation of others demand that we subdue our sinful tendency toward selfisness and criticism. Put simply, poking sticks and complaining is just more fun, if only because there’s much more company on the crowded road.

The news of the day is grim, and there is lots to criticize, murmur and complain about. Make a choice to choose life over death, blessing over cursing, joy over discontentment. Really, how much can any one of us do to stem the tide of evil perpetually reported for the express purpose of instiling fear and squelching whatever peace we have? Not much, so why volunteer to be terrified and agitated?

As for us and our house, we are making efforts, real efforts, to embrace beauty, family, community, and Ultimate Truth.

 

 

cultural absurdity, healthy living, real living in a virtual world

The Great American Mind Hack.

Irma’s gone -we’re all fine- and wreaked a bit of havoc on some of our extended family farther north. Except for the loss of power and few trees down, they are all fine as well. Floridians south and west of us took much harder hits, so keep them in your prayers and donate money (or not) to whatever charities you will. I wouldn’t however, suggest large doses of media coverage about this storm’s aftermath. I felt the same way about Harvey and was less much anxious about Irma as a result.

All of this brings me to the point of this post: the great American mind hack. It’s real, it’s relentless, and our only defense is awareness and diligence to maintain a firewall against the hackers. This friends, is not easy. At least it isn’t for me. I have been going into overdrive with this one of late, and I still find myself needing to continuously update my firewall.

I don’t have much to add except for a few excellent links I’ve recently encountered on the subject. The first is an article in which Zuckerberg and company pretty much admit they are all about taking away your privacy AND your anonymity as these are vices which allow you to harbor and express your deepest thoughts uncontested and unmolested. Here’s an teaser from How Sillion Valley is erasing your individuality:

To take another grand theory, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has exclaimed his desire to liberate humanity from phoniness, to end the dishonesty of secrets. “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly,” he has said. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” Of course, that’s both an expression of idealism and an elaborate justification for Facebook’s business model.

In a sphere of anonymous (or at least semi-anonymous) bloggers, that should make you shudder regardless of your ideology. Eponymity for everyone! Which is one of the hundreds of reasons we don’t like Facebook.

In that same vein, this interview with Franklin Foer,  the writer of the first piece, where we see a theme begin to emerge:

And you think we’re being manipulated into giving up our privacy? The book mentions that Silicon Valley libertarianism gets all the attention, but you say that the “collapse of the individual” is actually the guiding ethos. How did you come to that?

To be clear, “Silicon Valley” is a fairly glib and imprecise term, so when I use it, I am referring to its elites, and to its thought leaders, not to the average engineer.

I started just watching every YouTube video I could get of a town hall meeting featuring Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, and so on. I started listening to what they were saying and it wasn’t a lot of screeds against government or celebrations of the heroic individual. What I found was this love of all things social. The network is the most fetishized concept in the valley, and as I listened, I began to think the real danger was the collectivism. They were so obsessed with achieving some sort of new global consciousness, and I found them to be completely immune to all reasonable anxieties about the state of the individual.

If supposed libertarianism is getting too much attention, which attitude do you think we’re not looking at enough?

Monopoly. When you listen to most people in Silicon Valley talk about the network they talk about it as a winner-take-all system. The idea of the network is that you make a bet on the right company and they capture the network and all the other market players disappear. I think that’s a very common way of thinking.

If you listen to the way that people like Larry Page talk about competition, they abhor the idea of competition. They think of it as something that’s almost beneath them. So rather than competing against Apple, or Uber, they would much rather focus on their moonshot ideas and doing something truly transformational, and this replicates language that we’ve heard throughout history.

The last link is a video that Hearth shared with me a few days ago, on which the title of this post is based.  The distinctions he makes betweem pleasure and  happiness, and the result of the conflation of the two and the aggressive marketing of plasure seeking onto the American populace is enlightening. I also appreciated his distinction between marketing and propaganda.

Yeah, yeah, I know none of this is news to most people who read here, but it’s worth a listen because we’ve evolved to the point where technology can provide that dopamine *hit* for many people. I am slightly hesitant to buy into this too much, but only because the word addiction makes me uncomfortable due to its ability to offer cover for people in situations where they really can just dig deep and learn to stop it.

Some food for thought I thought worth passing on.

 

 

Common sense, Life hacks, real living in a virtual world, Uncategorized

Friday Frivolities 11: Proper focus edition.

I was thinking about modern life, and how to enjoy our novel conveniences and creature comforts without internalizing the worst traits modernity opens the door to.

For example, being healthy and fit is good. Health is not a frivolous pursuit. Being obsessed with health and fitness to the point of obsession, however, reduces it to vanity and creates a frivolous pursuit of perfection at the expense of dealing with weightier matters Hearthie dropped a few links in the comments sextion recently which brought this to the forefront of my thinking.

The Dreamstress offered two posts exploring the shifts in what was considered the “ideal figure” in generations past. You can take a look at those here and here. As I read through them, looking at the advertisements and pictures, it struck me that most every one of the body types offered as ideal were within striking distance of most of women simply through eating moderate amounts of real, fresh, food, and eschewing junk food. In addition, by just avoiding a sedentary life; not sitting around all the time.

Today’s ideal however, is out of reach for most normal men and women without copious amounts gym time and usually cutting out whole food groups (cookies are not a food group). In other words, it requires that we spend a lot of time thinking about things that we wouldn’t have had to think about so much in a different time and place.That’s not an indictment of any person’s chosen path to good health. After all I’m starting a Whole 80 myself this month. I am just as modern as the next person, but it still strikes me more and more recently.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is the culture of distraction. It started as I read Magistra’s posts (here and here) on the book Deep Work, by Cal Newport. That book is on its way to my house as I type. I hope. I also picked up The Organized Mind during my recent library trip. I guess it’s obvious that clarity of mind is on my list of things to discover and/or recapture.

In the meantime, Hearthie shared this video with me which -in about 20 minutes- offers a Cliff’s notes version of Deep Work with strategies we can start today:

Have a great weekend!

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.

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.

 

 

 

cultural absurdity, el's rabbit trails, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

In defense of echo chambers.

Got your attention, huh?

This really isn’t a defense of echo chambers. Perhaps it is, but not the way echo chambers are commonly referenced. After only a week of serious winnowing, I almost immediately recognized a more consistent and prolonged state of peace in my mind and heart.

This is off the cuff, and I’m not going to spend time editing it, so bear with me and use your stellar intellects to fill the things that should go without saying. I know that’s sometimes hard in 2017 America, but just try. Really hard.

It is commonly accepted as a virtue in American life to be willing to have our assumptions challenged and hear other points of view. To the extent that we are willing to do that, no matter how destructive the form in which these challenge and viewpoints are offered, we are considered “reasonable”, “tolerant”, and “open” to other points of view.

In general, I am a big fan of hearing other points of view. I think it’s good to evaluate ourselves, our actions, and our ways of thinking rather than assume that we’re all good all the time or that nothing about us needs to change. This morning, however, I had a light bulb moment and realized that it’s one thing to be open to examining other points of view. That is a good thing.

It’s an altogether different thing to engage in repeated dialogue with people who have starkly different points of view from you, who disdain your perspective and whose perspective you equally disrespect.

So for example, if I want to read a thoughtful critique of another sister’s view point on marriage and family order or birth control, it is best for me to do that with the intent to read it, walk away from it and examine it without engaging in a dialog with her about it. In other words, I can read Christian feminist Rachel Held Evans’ book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, consider her perspective (with which I still vehemently disagree even after reading the book) and walk away with my soul unscathed by a knock down drag out debate on some Internet forum.

Perhaps I am more cognizant as I am getting older. The husband said last night, “I still can’t believe we have three kids out of college. Where did the time go?” Things like that certainly give one pause about the importance of how she spends her time. I don’t even mind acknowledging that I am getting older because I have not -for the most part anyway- wasted my life.

It is simply healthier to have the lion’s share of our discussions on love, life, and even politics, with those who will encourage us in the values we truly believe are right. Echo chambers -particularly of the Christian variety- serve a distinct purpose.

If and when I engage in dialog with someone whom I disagree for any reason other than to truly understand or offer something to think about for the purpose of trying to help that person from a place of love rather than snobby, smug superiority, I am better off not bothering. To just keep my thoughts- and my fingers- to myself.