|10/23/2014 02:00 AM|
|Beat the Odds: Episode 351|
Arm yourself against divorce, plus Dan Chun helps you pick a spouse, and a listener thinks her friend’s rushing into marriage.
|10/24/2014 03:48 PM|
|Tall Women and Short Men|
Since I've been married, there are a few questions people have started asking me about dating. A few even came up during Pursuit 2014. Here is the first of two common questions people ask me about dating and marriage. I'll write about the second one next week.
"I couldn't help but notice your husband is shorter than you."
This one doesn't really come in question form. It's stated more as an observation with an implied question behind it of, "How do you handle that?"
If you saw me during the last day of Pursuit, you probably noticed it, too. It's ironic because when I was younger, I told myself I wanted my husband to be taller than me. That became a challenge when I was taller than most of the boys my age in high school and college. I got so used to people being a little shorter than me that I stopped noticing. And when I stopped noticing, I stopped caring.
I always let people in on a little secret: I find taller people intimidating simply because I'm not used to it! They laugh, but it’s true. I’m used to scrunching down in photos to make myself more level with my friends. Sometimes in our pictures Josh looks taller than me, and it always happens by accident (or habit).
For a while I worried about things like engagement photos and how those would look with my being taller. It turns out I worried about nothing because the poses our photographer chose for us worked perfectly! And in some of our wedding pictures, you can’t even tell.
Girls, if you're dating a man shorter than you, and guys, if you're dating a taller woman, here's some advice: Laugh about it and move on.
Some days Josh and I notice our height difference more than others. Sometimes I'll look at him and tell him, "You're really short today," and he responds with, "You're really tall." Sometimes he speaks up first. And then he puts his arm around me, and we let it go. If you don't let it bother you, it won't.
I asked Josh how he coped with the height difference when we first started dating. We met online, and before we met in person, we had a discussion about our heights. I knew I was an inch or two taller than him going into the “just talking” stage of the relationship.
He weighed in:
“Over time, the height difference just becomes more and more natural. Where it may begin with awkward hugs, it's just a process of learning to interact with that person just as you would learn to converse with them. We all can adapt to these physical differences and learn our partner through time. It's a process.
"We have to overcome our pride for these physical things and be open to what God might have in store for us. From my experience, God is always trying to stretch my perspective and works in ways that challenge me or that I wouldn't expect. We all have to be open to God changing our hearts and perspectives even when it comes to our preferences in a potential spouse.”
It's not worth forsaking a great relationship because you're worried about what other people might say. As a disciple of Christ, your worth and your beauty are defined by your identity in Him. Traditional couples where the husband is taller than his wife are not guaranteed success. The relationships that last are centered on Christ with a more inward focus on the hearts, not outward appearances.
Would you be comfortable dating a taller woman or a shorter man? What are some of your tips for coping with height differences in relationships?
|10/22/2014 01:00 AM|
|Of Course You Will Die|
Ebola. It is the latest disease to strike fear into much of the world’s population. People are dying in Africa from Ebola. Now it has appeared in the United States. Even with precautions now being taken at US entry airports, people are frightened. How can I avoid contacting Ebola? Can I survive if I do? And if I can avoid Ebola, what about MERV? Or what if Avian Flu comes back? Or the Black Plague?
If I manage to avoid catching some deadly disease, what about car wrecks? Plane crashes? Industrial accidents? What if terrorists strike where I live? How about school and work shootings? Murders? The possibility of death is everywhere. And we have not even mentioned tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, fire, and earthquakes.
Even if you manage to avoid all of these threats, there is still the deadliest one of all: old age. It will get you if nothing else does. Let’s face it, we are all going to die. Me, you, everyone. How can anyone live in the face of certain death, and with no certainty about when it may happen? All your plans, hopes, dreams crushed. Everyone you love gone forever.
Unless you believe in Jesus.
Christians believe that when Jesus rose from the dead he conquered death. He defeated the enemy of life. Because we believe in Jesus, we too will live again. We believe that we will be raised from the dead. We believe that we will live with our Christian loved ones forever. We believe that our life here on earth is under the control of Jesus. We believe this world is not the end, it is not our home. We are aliens and strangers here. That is why Jesus followers remind each other to not be afraid. Not to be afraid of anything in this life… even death.
And that is our hope for life. Because we believe.
I would love to visit with you more about the hope we have. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit our website at www.hopeforlife.org.
© Herald of Truth Ministries
Steve Ridgell serves as the Director of Ministry for Herald of Truth Ministries in Abilene, Texas and writes for Hopeforlife.org. You can reach him by writing to email@example.com.
Website: Hope for Life!
|10/22/2014 08:54 PM|
|‘God and the Gay Christian’ Discussion, Part 5|
Over the next few weeks, on Wednesdays, we will be discussing Matthew Vines’ book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. (See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
I chose this particular book because I think it provides the most accessible and personal introduction to the biblical and historical arguments in support of same-sex relationships, and because Matthew is a theologically conservative Christian who affirms the authority of Scripture and who is also gay. His research is sound and his story compelling, and he’s a friend—someone I like and respect and enjoy learning from.
We will wrap up our discussion next week with a look at Chapters 8, 9 and 10, but today we focus on Matthew’s analysis of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
The Kingdom of God
Matthew begins this chapter with a startling and sad confession: “I am far from the only gay Christian who has heard the claim that gay people will not inherit the kingdom of God. That message is plastered on protest signs at gay pride parades. It is shouted by roaming street preachers at busy intersections and on college campuses. The result is that, for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, all they have heard about the kingdom of God is that they won’t be in it.”
That sentence just broke my heart.
The biblical passage typically cited to exclude LGBT people from the kingdom of God is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which in the King James version says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [arsenokoitai], nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Matthew points out that the two terms consider here are malakoi [sometimes translated “effeminate”] and arsenokoitai [sometimes translated “abusers of themselves with mankind” or, more recently, “homosexuals” or “men who practice homosexuality”].
Regarding malakoi, Matthew notes that most uses of the word in ancient literature are not related to same-sex behavior but rather to men who were self-indulgent and enslaved to their passions…for women. In the apostle Paul’s culture, it was believed that women were weak and lacked self-control, so a man who indulged his passions without restraint, or who took on the passive role in any sexual relationship, was considered effeminate. This would explain why many early versions of Scripture translated this word as “wantons,” “debauchers,” “licentious,” and “sensual.” New Testament scholar David Frederickson has argued that, given the context, malakoi in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is best translated, “those who lack self-control.”
The word arsenokoitai is a bit more complicated, and has traditionally been understood to refer to same-sex behavior, especially since a similar word combination occurs in Leviticus 20. In Greek, arsen means “male” and koites means “bed.” While there are very few uses of arsenokoitai in Greek literature after Paul, some of the few uses that have survived indicate it referred to economic exploitation, not same-sex behavior. It’s also important to remember that the most common forms of same-sex behavior in the ancient world were pederasty and sex between masters and slaves. (Pederasty was so common that Philo described it simply as the union of “males with males.”)
Matthew points to an ancient text known as the Sibylline Oracles in which the word arsenokoites is used to describe injustice: “Do not steal seeds. Whoever takes for himself is accursed to generations of generations, to the scattering of life. Do not arsenokoitein, do not betray information, do not murder. Give one who has labored his wage. Do not oppress a poor man.” He also quotes from the second-century text, Acts of John, which says, “And let the murderer know that the punishment he has earned awaits him in double measure after he leaves this world. So also the poisoner, sorcerer, robber, swindler, and arsenokoites, the thief and all his land.” The word also appears in 1 Timothy 1:10 after “sexually immoral” and before “slave traders.”
These and other examples from the ancient world have led several scholars to conclude that the term arsenokoites likely describes economic exploitation by some sexual means.
Given our limited understanding of the exact meaning of these words, it seems like it might be better to err on the side of caution and not rely exclusively on them to condemn or support same-sex relationships. (Personally, I think the Romans 1 passage is probably the most important one to contend with. We covered that in our last discussion.)
“But here’s the key point to remember,” writes Matthew. “Even if Paul had intended his words to be a condemnation of all forms of same-sex relations, the context in which he would have been making that statement would still differ significantly from our context today.”
That’s because same-sex behavior in the first century was not understood to be the expression of an exclusive sexual orientation but rather it was understood as excess on the part of those who could easily be content with heterosexual relationships, but who went beyond them in search of more exotic pleasures. So when the translation of malakoi and arsenokoites shifted in the 20th century to refer to people with same-sex orientation, “it fostered the mistaken belief that Paul was condemning a minority group with a different sexual orientation” when “in fact, he was condemning excessive and exploitive sexual conduct.”
At the end of this chapter, Matthew basically repeats his main thesis:
“The concept of same-sex orientation did not exist in the ancient world. Prior to recent generations, same-sex behavior was widely understood to be the product of sexual excess, not the expression of a sexual orientation. The issue we face today—gay Christians and their committed relationships—has not been an issue for the church in past eras…”
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about a threatened gang rape, not an intimate companionship. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 were grounded in cultural concerns about patriarchal gender roles and religious ritual purity. Romans 1:26-27 refers to excessive sexual desire and lust and uses “natural” and “unnatural” to refer to customary gender roles, just as those words are used to describe men with long hair and women who cover their heads.
“The bottom line is this,” writes Matthew. “The Bible does not directly address the issue of same-sex orientation—or the expression of that orientation. While its six references to same-sex behavior are negative, the concept of same-sex behavior in the Bible is sexual excess, not sexual orientation. What’s more, the main reason tat non-affirming Christians believe the Bible’s statements should apply to all same-sex relationships—men and women’s anatomical complementarity—is not mentioned in any of the passages.”
Next week we’ll wrap up with a discussion around the biblical arguments for marriage equality.
Questions for Discussion:
1. What do you think of Matthew’s treatment of 1 Corinthians 6?
2. If Matthew is right—if committed same-sex relationships are simply never discussed in Scripture—do you find that encouraging or discouraging? Given the degree to which LGBT people have been marginalized, and given the controversy surrounding marriage equality that rages throughout much of the Church, do wish Scripture was a bit more clear on this? Do you think it matters?
If you want to learn more about the Bible and sexuality, check out the Reformation Project conference in Washington D.C., November 6-8. Speakers include David Gushee, Allyson Robinson, Gene Robinson, Justin Lee, Jane Clementi, Danny Cortez, Frank Schaefer, James Brownson, Kathy Baldock, Alexia Salvatierra, and Amy Butler.
|10/25/2014 12:01 AM|
|Promise #298 - Saturday October 25, 2014|
|10/25/2014 03:00 AM|
|Quote for Sat October 25, 2014|
"To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living."
— John Henry Newman
Devotional provided by Heartlight®
|10/24/2014 08:00 PM|
“speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
|10/25/2014 04:30 PM|
|'Attack on Titan' Season 2 News: New Season to Premiere on April 2015? First Compilation Film to Get 4DX Screening in Japan|
The creators and producers of the hit anime series, "Attack on Titan" have been very quiet about the show's season 2 premiere. Back in July, there were rumors that the animated series would come back for a 2014 showing, but that did not happen. Now, there are fresh speculations that season 2 could premiere next year, specifically on April.
|10/25/2014 04:28 PM|
|Black Friday 2014: Deals from Wal-Mart, Apple, and Best Buy|
With only a few weeks until the holiday shopping frenzy of Black Friday arrives, shoppers gear up as they prepare to storm Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Toys R' Us, Target, and other stores for the best deals of the year.
|10/25/2014 04:26 PM|
|'Interstellar' Movie Reviews: Christopher Nolan's Space Fiction Film is Raving Good Reactions on Social Media|
While the latest and upcoming film by celebrated director Christopher Nolan is yet to be released in early November, there are some who got lucky to see the movie in pre-screenings.
|10/25/2014 04:16 PM|
|'The Walking Dead' Season 5 Spoiler: 'Four Walls and a Roof'|
The last episode, "Strangers," on 'The Walking Dead' Season 5 showed Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group not yet ready to put trust on Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam).
|10/25/2014 04:12 PM|
|'Once Upon a Time' Spoilers: Emma and Regina to Team Up for 'Breaking Glass'|
This Sunday, fans of the hit supernatural drama series "Once Upon a Time" will see an unlikely alliance between Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Regina (Lana Parilla) in the upcoming episode entitled "Breaking Glass."
|10/25/2014 04:09 PM|
|Missing Plane News: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Latest Search Update, Indonesian Residents Alerted for Debris Wash-ups|
It has already been more than seven months since the Malaysian Flight MH370 disappeared without a trace with 239 people on board. Now latest updates pointed out an alert being hoisted in Indonesia for local residents to be on the lookout for any debris that might be washed up in their shores.
|10/24/2014 12:15 AM|
|The Key to Understanding Body Language in Marriage|
My wife has the worst body language in the world–very difficult to read. Before we ever dated, we were supposed to hang out one night in a group. Eventually everyone canceled leaving the two of us alone which made me happy because I had a crush on her. We … Continue reading...
|10/23/2014 12:15 AM|
|Family Night or a Night Out with the Boys?|
“The strength of a nation is derived from the integrity of its homes.” – Confucius We only get this one shot at being a dad. There are no do-overs in parenting. [Tweet This] It’s all permanent. So when it comes to balancing family and friends, it’s important to carefully consider … Continue reading...
|10/23/2014 08:15 PM|
|6 Ways to Be a Joyful Mom|
Each day we have a choice to make. We can choose to be joyful around our kids or we can choose to be joy-less. We can choose to make our kids smile when we walk in the room or make our kids cringe. Even though every moment can’t be perfect, I hope you’ll have more moments of joy in your life as a mom. Here’s some advice to get you started. First, smile at your kids. Send the message you are happy to be their mom. Second, laugh! Find the humor in life situations. Third, slow down and speak in a pleasant tone of voice. The joy you give will result in happier kids. Read all 6 Ways to Be a Joyful Mom.