Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Friday, August 11, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Church and Fatherhood

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: Last week I came across a U.S. federal government site designed to be a resource for fathers and families. While of course we applaud any such effort in a period when the family is relentlessly under attack from all sides, it seems obvious secular governments are not well-equipped to teach the more spiritual aspects of fatherhood.

Fathers do not exist simply to pay the bills and do the heavy lifting around the house. The last time we talked, we compiled a list of fatherly responsibilities from scripture, and it was not a short one. God did not intend fathers to be dispensable, whatever our society may think.

Friday, August 04, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Responsible Fatherhood

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The U.S. federal government is teaching fatherhood. Stop and think how many ways that could go wrong.

Now, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) is not a brand new initiative by any stretch. It claims to exist in order to “provide, facilitate, and disseminate current research, proven and innovative strategies that will encourage and strengthen fathers and families, and providers of services.” This looks like it is mostly done through social media, websites and virtual training courses, as well as access to help lines and so on.

Tom: You’ve spent most of your life working with teens, Immanuel Can. How important is it to high-schoolers to have a father present and engaged in their lives?

Friday, April 28, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Billy Graham Regrets …

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Evangelist Billy Graham, in a 1977 interview with Christianity Today:

“One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. I wish I had studied more and preached less. People have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying and preparing. Donald Barnhouse said that if he knew the Lord was coming in three years he would spend two of them studying and one preaching. I’m trying to make it up.”

Tom: Does that quote surprise you at all, IC?

Friday, February 17, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Collect Yourself

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: How much Jordan Peterson have you been watching lately, IC?

Immanuel Can: A fair bit, actually. The guy’s an interesting cat.

Tom: Good. I was afraid I’d have to come up with something original. :) Have you seen him express his thoughts on identity politics?

IC: Yes. It seems to me he’s very strong on the view that one should sort oneself and one’s own life and relationships out first, before getting involved in any sort of collective. So he’s saying to our generation of young people, Don’t focus on complaining about how unfair the world is, or on mobilizing others to do likewise, unless you’re also prepared to address the obvious areas of need for improvement in your own life. Makes sense.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


Jay Deitcher wants to create a new masculine stereotype, one that is empathetic and not “frigid”. When his wife told him she had a bond with their newborn son that he could never attain because men can’t bond with babies like women can, he was cut to the quick and determined to be the best nurturing father in human history and establish a bond with his son never seen before. So he cut his hours as a social worker, became a stay-at-home dad, cuddled and slept with the baby, and took him to events with all the local mothers and their children.

He also determined his son would not turn out to be some kind of traditional male stereotype. The gift of a baby coverall with footballs on it was hidden in a closet, never to be used.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: The Unfair Advantage of a Loving Family

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Yes, Leftism is just plain goofy.

Philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse are deeply concerned about the nuclear family.

What happens, worries Swift, when loving your child makes for an uneven playing field for those without equally devoted parents?

The difference between the solution you or I might propose and the one the political Left proposes is that Adam and Harry would prefer to bring us all down to the lowest common denominator rather than aspire to anything inherently more desirable.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

A Thwarted Coup d’État

“And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind.’ ”

The synoptic gospels recount an incident where Jesus is informed that his family members have gathered outside his residence in Capernaum and want to see him. The Lord then turns to his disciples inside the house and asks them, “Who are my mother and brothers?”

Such a reaction may at first sound a little dismissive to us if we do not understand the circumstances. But of the three accounts, only Mark provides insight into the true motives of Mary and the Lord’s earthly siblings.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Mining the Minors: Amos (8)

Relationship is the foundation of all appropriate correction.

Where there is no set of mutual obligations established, and no agreed-upon standard to be abided by, we are generally fairly careful about playing judge — or at least we ought to be. “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?” asks the apostle Paul. Of course; it is before his own master that each servant stands or falls. It is quite appropriate for a father to punish his own children when they misbehave, a little less so for an uncle to do it, even less so for the neighbors, and wholly inappropriate for strangers to interfere with someone else’s children.

I try to apply this principle in my interactions with other people’s kids, no matter how irritating they may be. After all, nobody likes busybodies and meddlers.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Anonymous Asks (91)

“How can I honor an abusive parent?”

Well, they say third time’s the charm. Let’s test that theory.

This is my third attempt at answering a question which is more than loaded: subtext hangs over the post like giant flapping leather bat wings blotting out the sun. It also doesn’t help that I probably misread it first time round. I took it to mean “In what ways should a Christian child honor an abusive parent?” (a relatively easy one), when the author is far more likely asking “How can anyone possibly expect me to give honor to someone who has mistreated me so egregiously?”

Different question, right? And not so quick and easy.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Time and Chance (22)

A significant number of baby boomers are blowing their way through their kids’ inheritances, and they’re doing it guilt-free. Some do it with the blessing of well-off children who don’t need anything, but the justification is usually something along the lines of “Hey, you only live once” or “We worked hard for it! Why should someone else enjoy it?”

You can argue the morality of such a move both ways. On the one hand, giving certain children a pile of unearned money is like throwing it into a black hole. Neither you nor they are really benefiting long term.

On the other hand, there is a venerable tradition of putting something aside for the coming generations. That time-honored custom did not develop for no reason.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Time and Chance (16)

We all know people who we think work too hard. But what is “too hard” really? If we are honest, it’s a bit of a subjective call.

John the Baptist got by on locusts and wild honey, and was happy with one coat of camel’s hair and a leather belt. It’s pretty clear he didn’t have a day job. The Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head, and while he certainly labored non-stop, it was not with a view to acquiring earthly possessions. Still, nowhere in scripture do we find the expectation that all should live life the way Jesus or John lived. In fact, one of the reasons both John and the Lord Jesus were morally free to devote their lives to their respective missions was that they had incurred no earthly financial obligations to others.

For most of us, life is a bit more complicated. Not better, necessarily, but certainly more complicated.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

The Perils of Family Ties

Most books of the Bible have themes. Commentators generally do a decent job of teasing out the more blatant ones and turning them into book titles or pithy summaries. Thus Psalms is “the hymnbook of the remnant”, Hebrews is concerned with “an unshakeable kingdom” and Mark’s is said to be the “gospel of the Servant King”. To their credit, in many cases these diligent students of God’s word also identify and share with us less obvious recurring patterns that could easily be missed by first, second and even third time readers.

In the books of Samuel, one of these recurring patterns is nepotism. It might not rate the subtitle of a commentary, but it’s there all the same, threading its way through the stories of Samuel, Saul and David, chronicling the perils of family ties that are just a wee bit too tight, and their potentially injurious effects on the people of God.

Once you see it, you can’t stop seeing it.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: The Church and Fatherhood

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Responsible Fatherhood

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

How Not to Crash and Burn (50)

Today’s verses are vaguely linked by the unexpected: unanticipated changes in circumstances; sudden, radical changes in behavior; the moment when the thing on which you have glutted yourself loses its appeal; and the moment when you find you have become so hungry anything at all looks like food.

Hey, these things happen. We don’t always see them coming, but they happen.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

How Not to Crash and Burn (30)

Disappointment, despite, laziness ... if you take the verses I’ve chosen from Proverbs 15 as representative of the whole, you might get the idea that Solomon’s a bit of a wet blanket.

Thankfully, for nearly every sluggard he describes, there is an upright man. For every broken spirit there is a “tree of life” and a “healing tongue”. For every grieved mother there is a rejoicing father.

It all depends how you want to look at his instruction, and what you decide to take away from it.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The End of the Family Line

“With no complications,
  fifteen generations of mine
  all honoring nature.
  Until I arrived with incredible style.
  I’m the end of the line;
  the end of the family line.”
— Morrissey

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth …”

Relax, I’m probably not going where you think I am.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Billy Graham Regrets …

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Collect Yourself

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: The Unfair Advantage of a Loving Family

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Antiquated Ways of Thinking

I might fall over laughing if it weren’t so sad.

If feminists want to minimize their own joy in life, that’s one thing. God bless ’em and have at it. But it’s another thing entirely when they set out to trash the culture so comprehensively that nobody else enjoys their lives either.

If you are driving into Winston-Salem from Kernersville, about 85 miles northeast of Charlotte, N.C., expect to encounter a billboard that reads, “Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.

Better drive fast though: last Sunday at 11:00 a.m., the owner of a Winston-Salem women’s boutique called Kleur organized a demonstration against the billboard’s message and its “antiquated way of thinking”.

If that’s their metric, I’m an antique and proud of it.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Not a Fairy Tale

Comedian Linda Beatty has a weekly atheist comedy web show called The Bible and Other Fairy Tales, from which we may safely conclude Linda, like many other atheists, has never actually read the Old Testament.

The real Bible is full of people displaying contradictory, often self-defeating behavior. There are few squeaky-clean Cinderella types, and few transparently evil stepsisters. Rarely are its characters utterly and irredeemably wicked. Rarely are they entirely faithful, wise and obedient. They are real, flawed human beings, driven by their passions, often displaying surprising decency or brutal inhumanity within a few paragraphs of each other.

Fairy tales these are not.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

No Guarantees

For the Christian, winning is not guaranteed.

Oh, of course it’s guaranteed in the long-term. We’ve read the ending of a story that has already been written, edited and published to the world. It is a done deal. All is to be summed up in Christ, and those of us who belong to him are destined to be glorified with him and united with him for eternity.

That’s definitely what you’d call a win. Might not happen in your lifetime or mine, but our long-term prospects are guaranteed.

Short-term is another story. Today may hold what appears to be a resounding loss.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: The Unfair Advantage of a Loving Family

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

My Daughter Says I’m Going to Hell

Cary Tennis at Salon fields a question from an atheist dad whose 13-year old girl is concerned for his soul. It’s an old post but a familiar problem for any Christian who has worked with teens. Tennis’s answer is intriguing, to say the least, coming from an advice columnist, former rock journalist, recovering alcoholic and avowed progressive. 

The letter writer is a single father with shared custody. His daughter is a professing Christian who has attended an evangelical church with her mother for most of her life. When dad broaches the subject of religion, evolution, homosexuality or other hot-button issues from his own worldview, he finds he is distressing his daughter, which is something he’d prefer to avoid.

Hence the request for advice.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Eden and Relationships

We’ve been working through some basic ideas about God’s character that spring from His actions in an environment where sin does not impede our view of the relationship between God and man. Though there is a day coming when the relationship between heaven and earth will be free and unrestricted once more, it has not been that way for a long, long time and certainly not in your experience or mine. In fact, it hasn’t been clearly observable since Eden ...

Friday, June 06, 2014

Blue Bloods and Bloodlines

“Family is the most important thing in the world.” (Princess Diana)
“Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” (Lilo and Stitch)
Whether it’s the personal opinion of a famous celebrity or the theme of a Disney movie, society is not about to run out of bon mots about family anytime soon.

I picked a couple of comparatively moderate ones, the sentiment dialed back to 3 or 4 on the goo meter. If you are in any doubt just how saccharine and cloying such expressions can be, try finding a Hallmark birthday card that accurately reflects your thoughts about spouse, child, parent or sibling. You’ll catch on quickly.

But I read this morning that just 26% of those between age 18 and 33 are married. The current generation is building families approximately only two-thirds as quickly as the generation before them, and at roughly only half the rate of the generation before that.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The End of the Family Line

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Insufficient Authority

This is not a subject I write about easily, but it’s one to which I believe many Christians can relate.

Giant, massive disclaimer: By what I’m about to say, I am not in any way judging or condemning the efforts of serious Christian parents or spouses I know or know about. Still less would I pass any judgement on the parenting and relationship efforts of Christians in circumstances I don’t fully understand.

I am constantly astounded at my own inability to accurately size up other people’s business. What regularly throws me for a loop are these little factoids that pop up in conversation that make you completely reverse your previous set-in-concrete assessment of someone you know, like “Did you know she has a brain tumor?” (No, really, I’m not making this up.)

But since I have very little idea who reads these thoughts other than immediate family members, believe me: I have no particular axe to grind and no particular family situations in mind.

I’m just thinking here.