Archive for January, 2010

Blast from the past

Posted: January 30, 2010 in Commentary, For brothers

It so happens that when my ex wife left for another person I was advised by a Christian attorney (who was also a lay marriage advisor in his fellowship) to get a separation agreement early in the process. I did in fact press my “ex” in this; and got a little flak from a few people — not a lot, a little — for this. One of those flak-givers was a pastor’s spouse, a real comforter of Job she was. The “fact” of my having a separation agreement on hand was thought to be evidence, I suppose, for not being whole-hearted about reconciliation. In the State of my residence, as it further so happens, separation agreements are seen by the courts as pretty much legally binding contracts; whereas pre-nuptial contracts have a lot of “give” in them by the time the lawyers get to squabbling; and in the various States there are horror stories of Family Law judges pretty much discarding the language in these documents. It so happened that my ex was of the mindset at that time that things would work out with the new guy, so the terms were fair.

I have previously written here about reforms that are needed in Family Law; my point today is this: If you have found your way to this posting by way of a search engine, and are in a situation similar to what mine was, do not hesitate at all to push for your legal standing and rights to be protected.

In my case, after my ex’s affair eventually crashed to earth, she was blistering in anger towards me; believing, as she put it, that she “could have had everything.” She was not correct completely about this; I doubt it would be as clean-cut. But things were clean cut in my case because I had, prompted by the Holy Spirit and the advice of an attorney, moved to protect myself.

I write this post simply to authenticate for you and acknowledge for you that you need protection and are not sinning by seeking it. Don’t be an ass about this. But don’t be road pizza either.

You will not succeed by “coasting” in your life with God on the strength and understandings of days past. Like the Israelites of days past, who required a daily provision of manna, you require a “daily” provision of manna.

In terms of relations with a woman, should you be blessed by God to have one, you must daily have wisdom (especially in the face of a secular culture hostile to Godly unions) as to how to nurture and protect it. Relying on inertia or past success is the path to failure. I speak from bitter experience: Keep moving upstream.

I link here to an essay by Elusive Wapiti about his experiences of late, having to do with discovering what is going on in the mind of his “ex.” I’ve posted it here because I want to add his perspective to your understanding if you are considering a relationship with a priorly married woman. I do not say that one should not consider such a thing; rather I suggest that you be wise and discerning if you do. This article might help you towards such a place.

This powerful piece by Paul Coughlin is truly something to meditate upon, particularly if you are a pastor or church leader who looks anything at all like the individuals described in it.

Nearly prophetic in its power.

This most excellent essay is a good public response to Pat Robertson’s widely publicized comments about the disaster in Haiti.

An excerpt:

Psychologists see control as a response to a perceived threat. Picture an adult with an inner twelve-year old saying “I’ll hurt you before you hurt me. I’m tough. I say tough things. Don’t mess with me again.” In religion, these leaders often project their way of seeing the world onto God. Please forgive me for painting Robertson with a sweeping brush.

And yet another one:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in..”

——
Edit on 1/19: Here is a good piece by an editorialist for FOX news.

Reading the comment thread on this piece by Anakin (a piece which is worth your time to read) I got inspired by something someone said to come up with this relationship tidbit:

When you go to church with her, take the lead in deciding where to sit to see if she is willing to follow your lead in this.

I link here to this interview with Paul Coughlin published on the Growthtrac website, by Jim and Sheri Mueller.

There are also a few essays on this site about dating and relationships; conventional Evangelical thinking worth refreshing your understanding and contemplation of. This one of note has this gem: “If we believe that we need a human spouse to be satisfied, then people, rather than God, will dictate our lives.”

Rib

Posted: January 6, 2010 in Commentary, For brothers, Poetry

Paul Coughlin says that Christian songwriters need to “take the gloves off” and treat the Song of Solomon as the masculine love poetry that it is, without “spiritualizing” it. I agree. I cannot write either music or song; but I can come up with good verse from time to time, and so I have. It was not written in tribute or memory of anyone but it does come out of my experience as a previously married man.

I’ve made this posting because I have the sense from my experiences in the Evangelical world that some think that the idea of physical attraction is itself something wrong, or sinful — shades of gnosticism. My theory is that deep down we know that physical attraction is very powerful, and we are not sure of the capacity of our Christian lives, or of the working of the Holy Spirit within us, to channel and direct this attraction. Thus the conflicted thinking. I thought I would celebrate that God given aspect to our manly characters.


Rib


A missing piece of soul and mind, and
Echoes of Eden’s Gate. A return to the place
of dance. The secret place, a strand
‘twixt God’s ocean and their beach, His Grace
as well. Given for them and meant to be grand;
These hands on the latch of the other’s soul.
Trust and rest for the warrior bride; for her man
A place of wholeness and feeling whole.
They feel, in honesty, with the night above
Communion with three (the strongest cord) and
The weight and excellent honor of love.
No sorrow or shame in having one’s fill.
Eagle and rose and thorn and dove,
at the place of union, expressed in full.

Food for thought

Posted: January 1, 2010 in Commentary

Ten years ago the world woke up on the day of January 1, 2000 to find that things were running pretty smoothly. Anybody remember the church-inspired Y2K paranoia? What a joke. It is testament only to the fear-mongering that determined believers can generate when they get an idea lodged in their head; not to our ability to collectively think clearly. I recall hearing a radio program from Focus on the Family prior to that day…. A lady with a poorly formed idea in her head was berating the editor of Christian Computing magazine, quoting the bible at him. He was trying to explain from a technically informed perspective that there might be a glitch or two here and there at worst, and she was quoting a verse from Proverbs about the fool who pretends there is no danger. She was not from FoF herself, but neither was the expert on the subject matter allowed sufficient freedom to explain the reality of the situation. Other ministries, TBN of note, jumped on the bandwagon in very inappropriate ways. It was no small thing that happened, and what some people said and did back then has disappeared down the memory hole the way, say, we have forgotten other such things. The “Satanic Ritual Abuse” scares of the 80s, also propagated in part by well established media ministries. The worst excesses of the Discipleship movement, some of which continue to this day in some parts. Et cetera.

Just food for thought. I’m not ranting about Y2K. I’m reminding you that there is never an excuse not to think at the individual and corporate level. The few examples I gave are things which would have never seen the light of day with a just a few more neurons firing in some heads.

….. Today more than ever we are in need of men who think as well as pray. There are some things we can only apprehend with eyes of faith; and there are some disputable matters that will never be resolved, and do not need to be. But there is never a need to reprove another — or for you to be reproved — for seeking to understand a matter or what its nature is.

Recommended reading is here.