Monday, December 28, 2015

Remembering Christmas

"There's this feeling of angst in my heart. This unsettled sort of ache. I love Christmas. But there's so much about it that just leaves my heart heavy.
What must it be like for Jesus?
How would it feel if your children got so busy celebrating your birthday with each other, they ignored you?
If they spent more time buying gifts for each other, and spending money they didn't have, than just simply slowing down to be with you?
If, instead of gathering together with you, they bickered and fought and peace was no where to be found?  
thought about all the little ways I could make Christmas more about Him. All the ways we could celebrate His birthday and leave the chaos of the world's Christmas outside.
This tiny baby shows up in the night. A king in a dirty stable. A new life begins. A life of the greatest sacrifice to ever happen. A life with the very most eternal significance there will ever be. A life of pure love. A life that would be extinguished for love. A Love that would conquer death. For me. For you. For all of us that choose Him. 
Or is it just about a little manger scene we bring out once a year and then put away in a box? 
Because, truly, Christmas is never over."

This was written by my daughter to her mom's group. I'm so proud of her!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Lazarus Effect

Wow! that's something when you come back to post on your own blog and it confronts you with exactly what you need! And that ties in with what I was going to write about today: "the Lazarus effect."

It's a term I coined while writing my God-in-a-Box blog. And it replays this week. (If you would like a short devotional on Jesus' life from a cosmic perspective, go to http://Godhelps,net and click on God-in-a-Box in the menu.) This week is powerful because all of the blogs are on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead because it runs from Easter to Easter, giving you Jesus' life in a year.

But on to the Lazarus' effect: It's what happens when people reject in-your-face evidence of the truth. (In this case it's the truth about God.) It produces fanaticism. We all are confronted from time to time with evidence that forces us to rethink and reconfigure. I have been again this week in my marriage. It's called growth. A very common process of assimilation and accommodation that you've been using since you were born.

When you get invested in your beliefs so that you can't (won't) accommodate new evidence, you get the hardening, the anger or rage reaction, the denial that breeds the closed, I-know mind of fanaticism. Then BE CAREFUL. Facing the truth may be painful, but it's a whole lot better than shutting down. Healthier and happier for you and everyone around you--especially those closest.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Do you Love so They Know?

I think it was Mother Theresa that said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." For some of us it's easier to do than to love. And we don't even know that we don't know how.

We feel love. We think about it. But we aren't even aware we aren't giving it a voice or expression. One of the hardest, and most beneficial acts you can do is ask those close to you. How do you know that I love you? How do I show it? When do you feel it? And then listen. Take it seriously. Make some choices.

What you hear may hurt, but don't discount, or run or get angry; because it may also change your relationships and the health of your family.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

More Powerful than God?

It really is true that choice is the most powerful thing in the universe--even more powerful than God. Think about it, He is respectful, leaving us free to choose. Many times I've told Him, "I think You gave us too much freedom." He just smiles that understanding smile. Our choice accesses His power, but he won't violate our freedom.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fear and Money are Not Good Decision Makers

21st Century Cures Act risks public health."The 21st Century Cures Act is a drug company stockholder's dream and a consumer's worst nightmare," Barbara Loe Fisher, NVIC co-founder and president, said. "Making experimental drugs quickly available for the sick and dying, who voluntarily choose to use them, is one thing but Congress should not be greasing the skids to license experimental vaccines that government will recommend and legally require healthy children and adults to use. It is a prescription for disaster." Vaccine News Daily July 23, 2015.

This whole legislating on vaccines is driven by fear and big-money pharmaceutical companies. How many legislators would be pushing this through if their child was autistic from a vaccination? I know people it's happened to, do you? "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." President Roosevelt

We need to be pushing health.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

If there is a counterfeit of something, isn't it because the real is so valuable? so good? so important? Don't dump the important or get scared off by the distraction of the counterfeit.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

OK so I have to admit it. I can't keep up. I just realized three months have passed since I wrote here.
I hate to let it go, but maybe it's time. Or maybe I could make a change. Instead of writing a whole blog, maybe I'll write quotes. Ones I've seen or ones I've written. Like,

God often seems slow, so it's hard to believe He likes failure because it's the quickest way to learn. Could it be He's waiting on us?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Guest Post on 50 shades of smut

To everyone who thinks 50 Shades is all sorts of awesome: Please, stop and THINK

Sign a petition to boycott the 50 Shades of Grey movie here
It’s pretty depressing when you realize that, in 2014, many people seem to think that destruction of human dignity is a small price to pay for an orgasm.
I suppose when I write a column about a book that just sold its 100 millionth copy I shouldn’t be surprised when I get a bit of a kickback. But I have to say—I wasn’t expecting hundreds of commenters, many saying they were Christian, to come out loudly defending the porn novel 50 Shades of Grey, often tastelessly interspersed with details from their own sex lives.
People squawked that we “shouldn’t judge” those who practice bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM), and informed me that “no one gets hurt” and that it “isn’t abuse” and said that it was “just fantasy” (as if we have a separate brain and body for fantasy).
Meanwhile, not a single commenter addressed one of the main arguments I laid out—that with boys watching violent porn and girls being socialized to accept violence and torture inside of a sexual relationship, we have created a toxic situation in which people very much are being hurt.
In response to the defenders of this trash, let me make just a few points.
  1. Not all consent is equal.

People keep trumpeting this stupid idea that just because someone consents to something or allows something to happen, it isn’t abusive.
But if someone consents to being beaten up, punched, slapped, whipped, called disgusting and degrading names, and have other things done to them that I will choose not to describe here, does that make it any less abusive? It makes it legal (perhaps), but it certainly doesn’t make it any less disgusting or violent.
Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey? If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.
Anyone who works with victims of domestic and sexual assault will tell you that just because someone permits something to happen or doesn’t extricate themselves from a situation doesn’t mean it isn’t, in fact, abuse. Only when it comes to sex are people starting to make this argument, so that they can cling to their fetishes and justify their turn-ons. Those women who defend the book because they think it spiced up their sex life are being incredibly selfish and negligent, refusing to think about how this book could affect other women in different situations, as well as young and impressionable girls.
In the words of renowned porn researcher and sociologist Dr. Gail Dines:
In his book on batterers, Lundy Bancroft provides a list of potentially dangerous signs to watch out for from boyfriends. Needless to say, Christian [Grey of 50 Shades of Grey] is the poster boy of the list, not only with his jealous, controlling, stalking, sexually sadistic behavior, but his hypersensitivity to what he perceives as any slight against him, his whirlwind romancing of a younger, less powerful woman, and his Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings. Any one of these is potentially dangerous, but a man who exhibits them all is lethal.
The most likely real-world ending of Fifty Shades of Grey is fifty shades of black and blue. The awful truth in the real world is that women who partner with a Christian Grey often end up hightailing it to a battered women's shelter with traumatized kids in tow. The less fortunate end up in graveyards.
  1. 50 Shades of Grey normalizes intimate partner violence…

…and sickeningly, even portrays it as romantic and erotic. Amy Bonomi, Lauren Altenburger, and Nicole Walton published an article on the impact of 50 Shades last year in the Journal of Women’s Health. Their conclusions are intuitive and horrifying:
While intimate partner violence (IPV) affects 25% of women and impairs health, current societal conditions—including the normalization of abuse in popular culture such as novels, film, and music—create the context to support such violence.
Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction, including: stalking (Christian deliberately follows Anastasia and appears in unusual places, uses a phone and computer to track Anastasia’s whereabouts, and delivers expensive gifts); intimidation (Christian uses intimidating verbal and nonverbal behaviors, such as routinely commanding Anastasia to eat and threatening to punish her); and isolation (Christian limits Anastasia’s social contact). Sexual violence is pervasive—including using alcohol to compromise Anastasia’s consent, as well as intimidation (Christian initiates sexual encounters when genuinely angry, dismisses Anastasia’s requests for boundaries, and threatens her). Anastasia experiences reactions typical of abused women, including: constant perceived threat (“my stomach churns from his threats”); altered identity (describes herself as a “pale, haunted ghost”); and stressful managing (engages in behaviors to “keep the peace,” such as withholding information about her social whereabouts to avoid Christian’s anger). Anastasia becomes disempowered and entrapped in the relationship as her behaviors become mechanized in response to Christian’s abuse.
Our analysis identified patterns in Fifty Shades that reflect pervasive intimate partner violence—one of the biggest problems of our time. Further, our analysis adds to a growing body of literature noting dangerous violence standards being perpetuated in popular culture.
  1. Really? Sadism?

I notice that commenters rarely break down what the acronym “BDSM” actually stands for: bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism. If they did, they could no longer make the repulsive claim that “love” or “intimacy” have anything to do with it.
The definition of sadism is “enjoyment that someone gets from being violent or cruel or from causing pain, especially sexual enjoyment from hurting or punishing someone…a sexual perversion in which gratification is obtained by the infliction of physical or mental pain on others.”
As one of my colleagues noted, we used to send sadists to a therapist or to prison, not to the bedroom. And 100 million copies of this porn novel have been unleashed on our society informing people that getting off on hurting someone is romantic and erotic. It is a brutal irony that people who scream about water-boarding terrorists are watching and experimenting with sexual practices far more brutal. As one porn researcher noted, some online BDSM porn promotes practices and behaviors that would be considered unlawful under the Geneva Convention if they were taking place in a wartime context.
It seems the Sexual Revolutionaries have gone from promoting “safe sex” to “safe words”—just in case the pain gets too rough. And none of them seem to be volunteering information on just how a woman is supposed to employ a safe word with a gag or bondage headgear on.
But who cares, right? Just one more casualty on our culture’s new Sexual Frontier.
  1. “It’s just fiction and fantasy and has no effect on the real world!”

That’s total garbage and they know it. I’ve met multiple girls who were abused like this inside of relationships. Hotels are offering “50 Shades of Grey” packages replete with the helicopter and private suites for the proceedings. According to the New York Post, sales of rope exploded tenfold after the release of the book. Babeland reported that visits to the bondage section of their website spiked 81%, with an almost 30% increase in the sale of things like riding crops and handcuffs.
I could go on, but I won’t. As Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah noted, “It’s like a juggernaut. You’d be surprised to see how very ordinary these people are who are coming in. The book is just an explosion of permission for them to try something new in the bedroom.”
  1. What does this book and the BDSM movement say about the value of women and girls?

I’d like the defenders of this book to try stop thinking with their nether-regions for just a moment and ask themselves a few simple questions: What does sadism and sexual torture (consensual or not) say to our culture about the value of girls? What does it say to boys about how they should treat girls? The youth of today are inundated with porn and sexually violent material—is nobody—nobody—at all worried about the impact this has on them? On the girls who are being abused by boys who think this is normal behavior—and think it is normal themselves?
Dr. Gail Dines relates that when speaking to groups of women who loved the book, they all grow deathly silent when she asks them two simple questions: Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey?
If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.
This book and the sadism it promotes are an assault on human dignity, and most of all an assault on the worth and value of girls and women. Please consider the impact you will have on your daughters and the vulnerable and confused people around you when you read and promote this book. Anastasia Steele is, thankfully, a fictional character. But real girls are facing these expectations and demands from a culture that elevates a sexual sadist to the level of a romantic hero. Ask yourselves if you want their “love” and “intimacy” to include sadism and domination, or real respect.
Because you can’t have both.
Sign a petition to boycott the 50 Shades of Grey movie here

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Honoring Grief