Sunday, September 29, 2013

I've got nothing for him

Recently I have developed a new conviction. It's been tried and tested through the metric I use. It's open for debate, however it's going to take a pretty solid, rational appeal for me to question it again.

A married Christian woman has nothing to offer and nothing to be gained from an association with a single man unless he is someone her husband respects and/or is mentoring.

This conviction began stirring within me while reading Sunshine Mary's blog. I commented a bit eluding to it there. But most of this has come from a real life situation.  

We've I've been friends with a young man for several years now. I met him through mutual friends (two couples). One of the couples was close with his parents. I learned quite a bit about his life story and entertained the friendship out of a motherly role.

We've had him at our home several times. Each time he was respectful and carried on with RLB about sports, politics, and Army life. We no longer live in the same area so most of my contact with him has been through Facebook.

This young man struggles with his faith. He was raised much like I was but questioned and left the church and renounced his salvation after what he said was a realization that the existence of God could not be proven. He's told me that he is comfortable with his rejection of a belief in God yet at every opportunity he would challenge something I would post related to Christianity. RLB would engage him and debate, discuss etc. However the non stop bombardment of my posts got to be too much.

He wasn't hearing RLB, that was clear. So I asked him to read one of Vox Day's books, The Irrational Atheist (RLB had previously suggested it to him). He said he'd read it but first relayed his doubts regarding the book and expressed a typical ad hominem.

Over the course of interacting with this man, it became clear there was nothing I could say or do to affect his faith. We've discussed it all. And I've surrendered to being utterly inept at The Great Commission with regards to this man. And it's not just that. There's nothing I could say or do that would affect his opinion of what is or is not moral.

The comment on SSM's blog that I linked to above had the same results...nothing. The man I was speaking to said he had slept on what I said, had no revelation regarding it and came away feeling even more hopeless. That's the last thing I wanted to have happen.

It all makes perfect sense. There is nothing biblical about a woman teaching a man.

The evidence suggests that 1) what a man could learn from a woman, he should be learning from another man 2) much of what I'd been spending my time doing was what Matthew 7:6 warns of: casting pearls before swine 3) in some instances the very opposite of what I hoped for happened.

It really has nothing to do with the woman either. Her presentation matters little, neither does her sincerity or charity. I've read countless examples of a variety of women, with different temperaments and tone, speaking/writing to single men with no evident impact.

There's more to this that I'm developing an awareness of but don't quite know how to express.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also write about what went on with me. Every debate we'd engage in had to be slow and deliberate on my part. I had to conscientiously overcome my own solipsism and knee jerk defensiveness each and every time before I would respond.

I write this for your amusement and to confess that though a woman might appear stone cold logical, don't be fooled, it does not come naturally to us, at least not to me anyway.

There were times that my thoughts would read like the following: "I Can Not believe he is defending the murder of infants in the womb, he knows how much we, as a family, have grieved this issue. I have three children reading this! Is he really so daft that he can not conceive of how offensive he is?"

"How dare he say, on my personal FB page, that the Bible is bullshit! He can't possibly value me as a friend and willingly offend me so personally. He knows my faith, he knows my relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ, is the most important aspect of my life. What is wrong with him?"

You get the idea.

As I said above there is an exception to this. When a woman's husband respects or is mentoring the single man, she can be of tremendous value. It is not about her alone, however. It is the respect the single man has for her husband that allows him to consider her words. When RLB says to one of his single friends, "ask SD to tell you about ____," it is the regard he has for RLB that allows him to hear what I have to say. It's a very different dynamic. From what I have learned, it's the only dynamic that makes a relationship between a single man and a married, Christian woman acceptable. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Keep calm and pray on

The news came in that we had been patiently waiting for. Life had been on hold during the wait. We had our routine and I was gradually getting accomplished the to do list I always have in my mind. However, as it is common with military families, we are not living in our forever home, we've always known this was temporary. The time has come for us to move.

It is so exciting to contemplate living in the state we desire to live, on a property that we've longed for, and in a home that I can make my own. It will be a big change from my current mindset with regards to our house. Most every decision we've made here we've had the eventual sale of the house in mind. For example, we've held off purchasing our forever furniture because of the impending move to ensure what we buy doesn't get damaged or not fit with our forever home. We won't have to do that anymore.

So life is good, right? This is what we've been waiting for. It's time to celebrate and rejoice! The longing I've had for years is about to be fulfilled!

And I proceeded into a frenzy of: "I have to do this, and this, and this, and there's no time for this anymore, and what about this and I need to remember to do this and...lists people, we need to make lists, and..." You get the idea.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cool Hand Luke sits across from me with a peculiar expression that reads: "Woman... now why have you gone and lost your mind?"

Simple, there's just so much to do. We won't move until we sell the house so I have to do everything to make it perfect so that it will sell as fast as possible. Because, you know, I'm in control of such things.

Granted, there is a lot involved in selling a home, buying a home in a different state and moving, but as so often is the case, I really needed the correction he proceeded to give me.

"There is only one of two ways this is going to happen, it is either you acting like an overwhelmed hysterical lunatic, or you calmly doing what you can do and praying about the rest."

Oh yeah...that's right, there's God.

In the middle of our discussion, it felt as if a huge weight was lifted right off of me. Followed by a sense of shame that it took a good talking to from him in order for me to remember the most important thing I'd been forgetting.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sometimes the grass is greener.

Most of us have heard the proverbial warning about thinking that the grass is greener somewhere else. The idea behind the wisdom is that we carry our problems with us and it only seems that we would be better off somewhere else. This is indeed good advice to the adventurous youth that are obsessed with change for its own sake.

On the other hand, sometimes the grass really is greener because it rains more there. We have experienced this exact issue while trying to grow a garden in Oklahoma. That is a reality that we must consider when making major decisions in life. Depending on what your goals in life are can determine where you live. It can also determine where you work or who you marry.

Your decision on where to raise your family is an important one. If you are honest with yourself and pray about it, you will get the answer you need. Sometimes that answer will go against the "grass is always greener" warning. It might be a generational issue, however, the warning against going somewhere new was almost law-like in its declaration. We need to deny this cultural push in order to set our children up for the success that we want for them.

Some cities are better to raise your children in than others. Don't lie to yourself about the cultural relativism and chance results of the happily-ever-after-princess story. Put your children in the best possible culture for you to have the in-laws and grand babies you want. Be honest about your goals and about how to best imprint the cultural mores you desire in your family. Then, find the greener grass.

Friday, September 13, 2013

What have you lost?

In a recent Facebook exchange, I said the following regarding how I respond when I am proven wrong or ignorant: 
However, the last four years I have found A LOT I have been wrong about. I am the first to admit that I am indelicate about it. For you it must be a forgivable offense, you continue to engage with me. Many others don't.
The man with whom I was having the discussion then said this: 
In much the same way friends have left you for your ways, I too have lost people I thought were closer to me. (emphasis mine)
What is important to know here is that this is an unmarried man who has renounced his faith in God and has stated he is happy living a faithless life. While reading what he had said and noticing he used the word lost, I found I had a pity for him. A sadness that encompasses and goes beyond the sadness I feel when someone denies God's existence. It was an awareness that the human beings in his life and their closeness to him serve, ultimately, as his purpose in life. He does not know living as Christians do: for God's purpose.

Individuals like this must live with either extreme loneliness or they must be willing to conform to a specific and subjective ideal in order to maintain closeness with other individuals who hold those ideals. In other words, moral relativism. 

I have pondered whether or not I should feel bad when people I encounter in life make a decision to stop engaging with me be it in discussions and debates or just social contact. Most often it happens when I have displayed an immutable belief or conviction. I don't have the answers to everything in life, by a long shot, however, there are many foundational moral beliefs I possess that cannot be changed. Outside of the obvious, belief that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, is; biblical marriage, a belief that all abortion is murder, and that which God calls sin is, indeed, sin, to name a few. 

Now, I'll admit, as a woman, there is a brief sting of having been cast aside from a herd, whatever that herd might be. However there is nothing within me that maintains I have lost someone. What quickly comes over me is an assuredness that though I may never see the fruits of having displayed a conviction, I have done my part, for Him, and that was what was required of me. 

When I have found myself to be wrong, I accept where I have been wrong and move on. I have learned to be generous with apologies and requests for forgiveness. I have also learned there are people who do not accept apologies nor are they willing to forgive. This doesn't cause me but a moment of discomfort either. Again, my focus is God's purpose. I have learned the errors of my ways and would like to move on. The flip side of this is that I tend to be more than generous with forgiveness for those who seek it from me (to RLB's chagrin). 

I am blessed to be married, in a covenant with a man who is willing to forgive me, willing to instruct and teach me, and patient with my indelicacies. (I use the word indelicacies because the word tactlessness has been overused by others in describing me.) His opinion of me is the only one I entertain and obeying God has become the primary focus of my life. 

And, as is true with other groups of individuals, I lack empathy for the atheist/agnostic who suffers the loss of relationship with human beings. Pity and sadness. That's all I've got. 

Christian women, do you concern yourselves with the collective morality of the herd? Do you fear being ostracized because of your convictions? Do you remain silent when you have Truth to bestow? For those of you who mourn the loss of friendships, lost because of your faith and moral convictions might I remind you of Romans 8:31-39:
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”    
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You have not lost a thing when you have lost the association of someone who opposes your Christian convictions. Be encouraged. 

Nice hair.

Most young men, like my son and his ilk, are decent young men. When it comes to asking a girl out, they have a fear of rejection. It is perhaps not a natural fear, but it is a predominate one in today's society.

When a teen-age boy contemplates asking a girl out on a date, the worst case scenarios run through his head. These worst case scenarios include her responding to his question of, " Would you like to go to a movie?" with, "Not with you!" and a resulting escalation of her telling all her in-group friends how much of a loser he is. The proper way to combat this for a young man is to be ready for that response and punch back.

There are several good responses to such a princess. One would be, "Nice hair." It leaves the girl in a general state of confusion. "Nice feet" is also a good response if she has larger feet than normal and it negs her. The important thing for a young man to remember is that the young female is infinitely more insecure than he is. He just needs to control the situation and know he can counter any psychological punch.

It is a difficult thing for him to understand. I have been preaching these things to my own son for a couple of years. However, when I have displayed to him how insecure his sisters become with these small negs, he begins to understand. My daughters heard me telling my son how to respond. Five minutes later I said, "Nice hair" to them and he could see the resulting response.

After this, the girls clearly recognized how emotional they became when I mentioned their hair. I was no longer the teacher; they were. When they explained how it upset them, he finally understood. Now the girl's response could be hesitation, "Umm...I don't know." Then an appropriate response is more confidence or humor. "You realize, I'm a sparkly vampire in the sunlight, right?" or "...but Yoda said you were the one." or "I only have space for three more girls, soooo...." The concept of abundance has to precede the ability to lead a woman.

Many game sites address these issues. We, Christian men, need to simplify the truths and impart them to our offspring. The younger they marry and begin their lives; the better.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Harsh Truth

Sometimes, we need to protect children from harsh realities. It isn't necessary to tell a four year old about how old women and babies are used as human shields in war. It isn't necessary to tell the youngsters about ROE (Rules of Engagement) that demand US soldiers kill those innocents. They get left behind to make a political point. War is an ugly business. It isn't necessary to tell them about the sex trade that exists in many corners of the world. Telling them about parents that sell their twelve year old into sex slavery and how it actually is better for the twelve year old than living in the nastier place that they live in isn't necessary.

The same has to be considered about dealing with first worlder whiners. I can't allow myself to interchange with the non-logical minded morons that inhabit some areas of the internet. That doesn't make me better than them. I am just not the thing they need right now. I am a strong believer in not judging the Potter's creations. It isn't my position to say that I'm better as the salt dispenser than someone else that is the bed pan or candle holder. I might think I'm the salt dispenser but in actuality I'm the toothpick holder. I hope these metaphors reach through my inability to communicate via the written word.

I don't have sympathy or empathy for the bottom quartile of men. It isn't in me. If you find yourself there and are reading this, you are best off finding different postings to read. We link to sources where you can find kinder words. I still find myself pushing my own son to the limit of his ability to process the ugly. There are times that I tell SD to take over. Not because I'm hiding. It's because I'm just not capable of the understanding. I greatly respect those like SD that can bridge that gap. I can't. Fortunately, I know I can't. It has been a great revelation and blessing to our children.

So, if you find yourself not being able to handle some things I say...don't read my writings. If you find yourself offending others frequently, you need to consider whether or not they need your input.