Tuesday, October 20, 2015


When it comes to forming marriages, churches ought to be catalysts: a person or thing that precipitates an event.

Scratch that, churches ought to be hyper-catalysts.

John relates how the miracle-working Jesus first showed up—of all places—at a wedding, notoriously turning water into wine.  Less notorious was his arrangement of the wedding in the first place.  Jesus brought a specific woman to a specific man.  Afterwards, he facilitated the party already in play.  Notice he didn't make coffee.

John's story alludes back to the Beginning when our Matchmaker Lord arranged the first wedding.  The Lord brought a specific woman to a specific man, and the solitary-aware Adam experienced a similar turning of water into wine.  According to Eugene Peterson's Message, Adam first sees Eve and freaks:

“Finally! Bone of my bone,
    flesh of my flesh!
Name her Woman
    for she was made from Man.”

Somewhere churches lost the wonder.

Somewhere churches lost the excitement.

Somewhere churches lost the priority plan.

Churches lost sight of our Lord's hyper-passion for holy matrimony and its fruit—holy children.  Marriage has been eclipsed by a passion for evangelism, despite the obvious reality that a person must first be born of flesh in order to later be born of the Spirit.  As Paul said, “[T]he spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.”

Churches need to get back in the Game.  A specific man needs a specific woman before he needs a specific, well-paying job.  It’s couples that generally achieve earthly success in God’s eye, not the individual as glorified in our day.  Churches need to re-catch the vision of our Holy Matchmaker.  They need to become catalysts for a holy marriage revolution and put the first things of our Lord first.

Is your church hyperactively promoting the formation of holy marriages?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ashley Madison: Where There's Smoke, There's Fire

If anything, the recent Ashley Madison hack should make us stop and realize, sexual lust in men is common.  Much less common is the bridling of that lust, and instead turning sexual desire into its righteous course.  I'm sure the hack simply reveals the tip of the iceberg.

The church is much to blame.

When the Lord said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”, he most certainly did not mean Adam needed a sex goddess.  Eve was not formed to wait around for Adam in provocative lingerie.  Nevertheless, a sexual outlet was part of the plan.

As Martin Luther pointed out, the command to be fruitful and multiply was more than just a lifeless command, it was the infusing of sexual desire.  That desire has a legitimate outlet.  It is not found in the mind-altering fantasy world of romance novels or in the virtual world of porn sites.  It is found in the marriage bed of husband and wife and the making of disciples for Christ.

In TO THE KNIGHTS OF THE TEUTONIC ORDER: AN EXHORTATION That They Lay Aside False Chastity And Take Upon Them The True Chastity Of Wedlock, Martin Luther illustrated the rampant immorality of his day as a result of marriage not being actively promoted by the Church.  In fact, celibacy was touted by church leaders as ideal, the way to be more useful to God.  Sorta like common exhortations to singles in our churches today.  The result, also like our day,  was widespread immorality among the mostly celibate church leaders and society (Luther was a former monk).  Women and men were shut up in the convents and monasteries, along with their passions.

The Reformation in large part was a setting the captives free.  It was e-Harmony on steroids.

As men and women we are sexual by design, and we have been Divinely given a sexual mission to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.  Toward this end, sexual desire is calculated to stir us on.  It is an internal fire with a God-designed path to burn.

We are extinguishing the flame through pornography, romance novels, and sterilized marriage via birth control.

The Church needs another Sexual Reformation.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hot Momma

From the movie FIRESTARTER

According to Tony Walter and Grace Davie's, The Religiosity of Women in the Modern West, "In western societies, women are more religious than men on every measure of religiosity."   Getting more specific they say, "The dimension of religious life where the difference between women and men is biggest is private devotion—prayer and Bible reading."  Recognizing that all true public displays of religion flow from the private sphere, this observed womanly trait is significant and powerful. The private sphere is where women tap into God.  It should therefore be of no surprise that the Devil seeks to disrupt this explosive area of devotion.  If St. Paul's aim was to secure undistracted devotion to God, the Devil's aim is to distract.  At the moment his distraction tactic seems to be working.  Women's religiosity is in decline.

An often overlooked aspect of the Reformation was its elimination of distraction for women.  Distraction for women in the days of Luther came in the form of a convent.  At the time, the teaching of the Church highly promoted the celibate life.  Men were prodded into the monasteries, women into the convents.  Parents added to the push.  This was seen as the way to get closer to God.  Women were distracted from childbearing in the home.  Today, distraction for women comes in the form of a job.

Starting in the early 1900s, but significantly increasing around the early 1970s, married women began entering the workforce, abandoning the home.  Women in relation to God took a turn for the worse.  Studies have demonstrated how married women entering the workforce showed a corresponding decline in religiosity.  Leaving the home domain had an observable influence on women.  According to Walter and Davie, “Women who stay at home are protected from the secularizing influence of the modern marketplace.”  Additionally, they point out how childbirth raises the intensity of a mother’s religiosity even more.  St. Paul tells us, "women shall be preserved through the bearing of children".

The exceeding tendency of women toward religion in comparison to men has been observed throughout the ages.  It is therefore not coincidental that many of Christ's most devoted followers were women, or that women significantly outnumber men in the pews today.  It is an intrinsic force placed in women by the God of Nature.  Many scholars, however, have a hard time attributing this tendency to the nature of women, choosing instead to attribute it entirely to environmental forces.  Nevertheless, Scripture clearly states, "Male and female created he them".

The key to another Awakening is the emphatic promotion of procreating marriage, marriage with an undistracted holy woman at home.  This is proven Gospel-grade soil that brings out the best in women.  Make no mistake, a devoted and undistracted momma in the home, means a devoted daddy and kids.  The Devil trembles when a holy woman is in the home.  He knows the whole social order will be affected in significant ways for God.  Hell knows no fury like a momma set on fire with God.

Friday, June 5, 2015

You Didn't Hear This From Dave Ramsey

A critical perspective is missing from the script of almost every popular finance show you'll hear. The missing perspective is critical to families, current or prospective. Know this: families with a stay-at-home-mom will face intense financial oppression. Every family that operates on a single paycheck—which is what most SAHM families do—falls under the gun. This warning is not meant to discourage families, but to strengthen their resolve. It is for this very reason, Christ instructed us to "count the costs" before jumping into any endeavor.

The single-income family has been—and currently is—under economic sanctions. The sanctions generally started in the early 1970s, reaching the greatest severity in our day. They are caused, inadvertently, by the overwhelming popularity of the dual-income family. The early 1970s is when married women began in earnest a new trend. They began leaving work at home, to work outside the home, and in return get a paycheck. They began leaving in huge numbers. From the 70s on, the numbers snowballed (see chart below).

Source: theatlantic.com

Another significant event happened in 1974. Congress enacted the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). The act was designed to end discrimination in lending. What it did was radically change the way banks extended credit. The ECOA effectively mandated dual-income based lending to married couples, a significant change from the general single-income policy that existed up until that time. The net effect was to increase the amount of available money chasing houses, autos, etc. Prices would begin to rise as a result.  Eventually, the economy adjusted to the new dual-income norm. The minority single-income family was left underwater. A look at discretionary incomes over time is revealing.

By early 2000, the dual-income family sported a much higher household income than their single-income counterpart of the early 1970s (see chart below). Two-pay checks are greater than one. Notice, however, that from early 1970 to 2000, discretionary income dropped! I believe this is due to the increasing costs associated with the drastic change in lifestyle. Childcare expenses are minimal with a stay at home mom. Also, no need for multiple cars. Consider now, how a single-income family stacks up in the new pricing environment. Any single-income that can match the median dual-income level can tread water. The majority of single-incomes which can’t, will eventually drown. Drown, that is, without Divine intervention.

If we are to see the Kingdom of Christ prosper—not just a privileged class—the Church must heed the admonition of James, Cephas, and John to Paul and Barnabas: “remember the poor”. Those with a financial surplus must be exhorted to help the families that lack so as Paul said, “that there may be equality”. In the future, once single-income families again become the norm, this practice will no longer be necessary.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Glory In Virginia: Why We Homeschool

From the beginning God, as Creator and Moral Governor of the universe, intended for man to be made in his image, that is, to mirror his moral attributes.   These attributes are related to us by way of his Law, as revealed in Holy Scripture.  The moral perfection of his Law is demonstrated most brilliantly in the morally perfect person of Jesus Christ, the Word fleshed out.  His moral perfection is unchangeable.  It is this unchanging moral perfection which our Lord desires to propagate through our children.  Therefore, it is our mission as parents to instruct our children in righteousness.

Scripture emphatically states: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.   As Christian parents, we are given explicit instructions to bring our children up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord”.   Likewise, Christ said, “Go therefore and make disciples”.   By God’s grace and design, we as Christian parents inescapably assume the role of full-time mentors, our children disciples of Christ.  We are commissioned by Christ, and forming Christian character in our children is our primary task on earth.  For us, Christ-like character is of greater value than academic achievement and the corresponding expectation of financial gain or prestige: “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.”   Home education is essential to fulfilling our mandate.

Our Founders recognized the absolute necessity of a morally vibrant citizenry to the success of our national government.  Thus, they sought to provide for the unfettered flourishing of a religious people.  For this very purpose, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was designed to encourage the development of Christian character, in much the same way free markets are designed to promote economic flourishing.   With similar purpose, our current Virginia Constitution states:

“That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.” 

Our choice to home educate is not a judgement on the capabilities and effectiveness of those in the public school system.  The skill, devotion, and good intentions of those in the public school system is a fact, widely attested to by all, including ourselves.  Rather, we recognize that public schools perform the joint religious functions of moral instruction and character formation; yet they do so apart from an allegiance to God.  The public school effectually posits a moral neutrality, disconnected from Scripture, and we believe moral neutrality in the education of children is not only individually, but socially destructive.  Holy Writ speaks directly to this: “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper…”.   The public school’s commitment to moral neutrality puts it at odds with us as Christian parents, for Christ said, "He who is not with Me is against Me".   And again, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” 

Thank God, Virginia provides an exemplary alternative.

We came to Virginia for the same reason many of our forefathers did: to experience religious freedom.  As parents of nine children, now ages 8 thru 24, we initially chose to home educate in Florida, starting with our first child back in 1996.  However, it was soon realized that there was a conflict between our Christian values and the values of the State of Florida, as evidenced by the academic expectations and standards of the local school board.  These standards were especially burdensome to larger families such as ours.  That is why we made the choice to relocate to Virginia in 2006.  Virginia is the only state in the nation to offer the option of religious exemption from compulsory education for home school families.  This option has allowed us to custom tailor our curriculum to the size and diversity of our family, without the constant fear of reprisal.  In this sense, Virginia has been an oasis of liberty to us.  Our hope is that all states, including our home state of Florida, eventually follow her lead.