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It occured to me tonight that one of the greatest ways to strengthen a marriage is to desire to have a child.

  • It is both humbling and (relationship) strengthening for a husband to depend on his wife to bear him a child.
  • It is both humbling and (relationship) strengthening for a wife to rely on her husband for the seed and to give her body to nurture their common child.
  • It is both humbling and (relationship) strengthening for a couple to commit to raising a family together.
  • It is both humbling and (relationship) strengthening for a couple to pray together to their Father in expectancy.

Very rarely do you read a thoughful, intelligent, non-reactionary (from either side) Christian comment regarding contraception. In this post, Albert Mohler discusses some of the issues which are ignored by most or clouded over (by illogic) by the rest.

Using contraception, (at least until we’ve had some time to ourselves, or made some money, or finished our education…) is virtually unquestionable among young christian couples today. But Mohler notes, (in reference to the devolopment of contraceptive technology) that 100 years ago “adults who’d intend to have very active sex lives without any respect to the likelihood of children didn’t exist. And it’s now unexceptional.”

Further, The idea that sex would be severed from childbearing is a very modern concept — and a concept made meaningful only by the development of the Pill and its successor birth control technologies. The severing of this relationship represents a quantum change in human life and relationships, not to mention morality.

Methinks this yet another topic where we’ve allowed the events and minds of the world to shape our thinking, rather than asking our Father what he thinks about it.

but you might get the sack if we don’t agree….

“Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon today dismissed co-author Warwick Marsh, after he refused to distance himself from some of the document’s claims that homosexuality is a mental disorder and that gay men are more likely to molest children.” Read the ABC article here.

The Age reports too.

It is now clear that the Australian government thinks that homosexuality is the norm…[O]ne of the most dedicated champions of the men’s movement and one of the most passionate pro-family advocates was threatened with the sack as a men’s health ambassador by Health Minister Nicola Roxon yesterday. The implication is clear: tolerance of the homosexual lifestyle will now be coerced, if need be. And any opposition to the homosexual agenda will be swiftly dealt with by the Government. Read the rest of this article at Culturewatch.

<sigh> we live in a world which would rather view this as “anti-gay” rather than “pro-family.”

Along with the other people at equipbooks, I have been reading The Feminist Mistake by Mary Kassian. For your own interest check out the notes on the equipbooks site, they are really very helpful.

Feminism’s whole foundation is built upon women’s desire to be autonomous. The whole issue is so clearly a theology of glory (which began in the garden when Satan offered autonomy to Eve and then Adam).

Here are a few lines from Gerhard Forde which show the thinking to be what it is:

He says: In the absence of clear understanding…[i]t is evident that there is a serious erosion or slippage in the language of theology today. Sentimentality leads to a shift in focus…[t]o take a common example, we apparently are no longer sinners, but rather victims, oppressed by sinister victimizers whom we relentlessly seek to track down and accuse.

Since we are victims and not really sinners, what we need is affirmation and support…The language slips and falls out of place. It becomes therapeutic rather than evangelical. It must he trimmed more and more…In thesis 21 of the Heidelberg Disputation Luther says that a theologian of the cross “says what a thing is,” whereas a theologian of glory calls the bad good and the good bad.

But the truth is that A (true) theology of the cross is not sentimentalism. To be sure, it speaks much about suffering. A theologian of the cross, Luther says, looks at all things through suffering and the cross. It is also certainly true that in Christ God enters into our suffering and death. But in a theology of the cross it is soon apparent that we cannot ignore the fact that suffering comes about because we are at odds with God…Now we in turn suffer the absolute and unconditional working of God upon us. It is a suffering because…we cannot abide such working.

The whole article makes great sense and isn’t merely a criticism. He ends: My suspicion is that the malaise of the theology of glory is the ultimate source of contemporary despair. My assumption is that a theology of the cross brings hope—indeed, the only ultimate hope.

Amen.

(The book Forde wrote On Being a Theologian of the Cross is an amazing read too).

I wasn’t sure whether to label the category for this post ‘contraception’ or ‘gender issues’…

I read this blog post praising the efforts of a hardworking supporter of gay rights for educating conservatives (in Nepal) that “homosexuals are just like any other people.” (and they are…they are sinners!) But to quote bodgy statistics like “10% of the population” are like this, just makes me annoyed.

But of more interest to me was a line towards the bottom. Some conservatives from the Nepalese Parliament asked the question, ‘Why do you promote sex which doesn’t give children?’ (clearly exposing something of their worldview).

Interesting question.

Could we ask the same question in our churches today?

Thanks Nicole for the link to this article. My friends will want to read it too. Their long term love is an example we need to hear about.

When I read this to Alan, he reminded me of a sermon we heard a long time ago. The speaker was recounting the story of his father who, as an elderly man, had just buried his wife. His dad commented, “That was just as I’d always hoped; she went first so she didn’t have the burden of burying me.” The talk was given to a group of homosexual men in response to their claim that homosexual love was legitimate. After recounting the story he said “You can have no idea of that type of love.” I’m sure in today’s world this criticism could be applied to most modern ideas of love.

Who couldn’t admire a man who would desire to serve his wife so self-sacrificially?

Anyone else got a true love story to share?

Straight from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog:

There have been few Christian leaders over the past 60 years who have articulated a more robust, clear-headed and courageous case for historic evangelical Christianity than British theologian J.I. Packer. Biblical studies, soteriology, theology proper, ethics, church history—name the Christian worldview sub-category—and J.I. Packer has written and lectured extensively on it. Dr. Packer represents a trustworthy voice among evangelicals.

Read his short but bold truth proclaiming interview here.

This morning after Elizabeth had recounted a bizzare dream she’d had in ‘the land between’ while she was waking up, she and Mick were telling me (while the coffee brewed) of a couple of the guys at church who’d recently had their eyebrows done (!)

It wasn’t the time for a too serious conversation but I had to comment on the article I’d just opened on the gender blog that very minute; The Feminization of the American Male (after all, there are only American males).

When I picked up a coffee at Maccas later on, I noticed that the boy serving me had very dark roots under his bleached hair and his eyebrows were some days overdue for a wax! I really got to thinking about the image idol of our modern age. Read some of the advice to men from the above mentioned article: [When preparing for a special occasion] visit your hairdresser, go for a massage, and have a facial scrub [which] will all add to your confidence. And the question…Can you imagine our great grandfathers talking [about] the slow pampering of a bath, moisturizer, eye cream, manicure kit, pedicure kit, body moisturizer, and body scrub?

Admittedly, most of this is new. Not the vanity, self absorption and pride but certainly the pampering, plucking, dying and primping! The article comments: If men are focused on such trivial things as dry skin and pampering themselves with long baths, it will be all the more difficult to expect them to lead, provide, and protect. Read the complete article on the gender blog here.

Most boys I grew up with would have identified those tips as the realm of the feminine, without a blink of the eye. But then I got thinking about the whole gym culture with its body building, workouts and weight training. Just because this is a manly pursuit, doesn’t make it more ‘right’ does it? Men are built to be buff. They used to build muscles by splitting wood, carting heavy objects and doing real man things. But if the focus of servant-like leadership has become hazy and ‘it’s all about me’ then the gym is as much an image idol as plucked eyebrows and manicured nails, just as much a distraction from ‘who and what am I supposed to be?’

I really don’t think we can lay down rules about how to look and dress, what shampoo to use or whether to wax the T-bar. But I do think that as Christians we should ask seriously; what shapes my image…the magazines on the i-bars at Coles, the neutering of gender issues in our culture or my understanding of myself as a child of God?

And guys…here’s my tip; Jesus was the son of his Father.

I found some treasures in 2 Peter today.

Verse 7, 9. [H]e rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men…the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.

3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless...

A few things of note:

Elizabeth is so tired. The rehearsals for Titanic have been crazy, but with the show actually running now, three nights a week are rehearsal-free. Yay! You must check this television report out that she’s posted on her blog and look under the cut too, because there’s her famous moment; her head is half on the screen for 3 seconds! I saw the dressed rehearsal last week and I can’t wait till we see it for real on the final weekend.

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Mardi Keyes is a worker at one of the L’Abri centres in the States. Although I don’t agree with everything she teaches (she is a christian feminist) but I really got a lot from her teaching on the value of children/what the bible says about children when we were at English L’Abri.

This article on Homosexuality is incredibly helpful (after I’d worked out exactly which angle she was coming from) It is only about 4 pages.

If anyone finds/knows of a copy of her “Feminism and the Bible” please beg/borrow/steal it for me. I lost my copy years ago and I’d like to have another lookie.

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Today on Nicole’s blog she linked to an article written by the 38 year old daughter of a prominent American feminist. The article was revealing particularly in the light of the insights Rebecca Walker shared and the sadness of her current relationship with her own mother. Consider some of these quotes:

Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.

A good mother is attentive, sets boundaries and makes the world safe for her child. But my mother did none of those things.

I don’t want to hurt my mother, but I cannot stay silent. I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results.

I feel terribly sad – my mother is missing such a great opportunity to be close to her family.

On a completely side issue, Michael (17) was behind me while I was reading this article online this afternoon. He could only see the image (of the author) and his comment was “She looks like a prostitute.” When I looked again, I was surprised how right he was. Just a generation or so ago, the haughty face, in fact, the whole demeanor of the woman certainly would have been considered boldfaced. Surprising how our standards change; I had to take that second look to notice.

Since visiting Unichurch last weekend, I’ve been thinking about my mother. Last Sunday was mothers’ day and in the chat-to-the-person-next-to-you time, the service leader suggested the question “what I appreciate about her” as an ice-breaker (don’t you love it?)

I actually didn’t think at all right then, but listened to the young woman who was next to me. But this week as I was milling around the house doing whatever, it occurred to me; my mother never once got involved in anything which took her focus (or responsibility) away from our family for a single minute.

I appreciate that so much.

This is a great article, a personal testimony, which would speak to any woman who has ever struggled at all with submission and serving God with all her heart.

Excerpt:

“[F]eminism rises up in ordinary women in our congregations, homes, and in the least obvious place, the mirror. Feminism is in the core of our hearts apart from the saving work of the shed blood of Christ, and not simply because we are militant against male authority, but primarily because we are opposed to the greatest authority of all—our Creator. The feminist is not some abstract “out there” woman. She is staring right at us every morning…”

She continues: “My ‘recovery’ from feminism is not about learning how to bake pies or a decision to be more feminine…it is about repentance.”

Praise God for this woman’s words and the work of God in her life.

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