Family


I’ve often wondered where the church would be twenty years from now. It already seems like there is a shortage of men in churches, as well as in seminaries across the board. There is in general a lack of male leadership in the Christian home, which has a domino effect on the newer generations of young men. This article, When You’re Weary of Worshiping Alone, gives a glimpse of women dealing with the absence of their husbands in the church:

After several years of worshiping alone, Debe became discouraged – and sometimes even depressed – that her husband was not joining her in the most important quest in her life, and she was not growing because of it. She finally decided it was time to leave the marriage so she could find someone who would share her heart, worship alongside her, and encourage her in her walk with God. But Debe’s pastor talked her out of it. He encouraged her to start focusing on her growth with the Lord, not her husband’s. As Debe began to do that, she discovered that there was a whole new side of God she never really knew before.

The graver issue that this article doesn’t address is the ministry toward men: how can the church develop male leadership? Here are some thoughts:

1) Outreach to men. I don’t think fight clubs and UFC events are the panacea for the absence of masculinity. But if men can get together for some event or purpose, perhaps the church can think in terms of meeting certain needs of male bonding to develop relationships.

2) Outreach to young men. The church can be a place where young men can receive guidance, attention, and direction.

3) Outreach to families as a whole. The church can certainly address the myriad of issues that affect the home from roles and responsibilities to various needs that can only be met when the family comes together in unity.

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Fighting for Your Marriage. By Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg. Revised ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001. Paperback. 374 pages. $16.95.

I probably wouldn’t have read this book if it weren’t for the premarital counseling that I’m currently undergoing as the date of my wedding approaches. Not that I have any real objections to marriage and relationship books; I just haven’t made it a priority to read them. A bit disappointed with Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, my first and only–that is, until now, I was left with the impression that books on relationships cannot get away from presenting caricatures of men and women. I’m glad now that I didn’t stop there.

Fighting for Your Marriage has the feel of being more of a strategy guide for effective communication than a how-to formula for a cookie-cutter successful marriage. I didn’t get the sense that I have to follow everything in the book to make marriage work. Instead, it reminded me of the different perspectives in relationships without making heavy generalizations of male and female roles. Understanding how these different perspectives result becomes key in honing the right communication skills for a stronger marriage.

(more…)

WebMD:

March 4, 2009 — It seems that even the tooth fairy business is being affected by the recession.

When today’s kids put baby teeth under their pillows, they can expect on average $1.88 the next morning, according to a poll of 744 parents. That’s down from $2.09 last year.

Although kids may be feeling the economic hit, they are still faring better than their parents and other adults invested in the stock market.

“Compared to the tooth fairy’s 10% decrease, the Dow Jones decreased 32% over the same measurement period and global indices performed even worse,” Dani Fjelstad, chief financial officer for DeCare Dental, says in a news release. […]

Too many guys make their way into their 20s and 30s without the marriage modeling and insights that were once easy to find from dads, coaches, teachers, mentors and Christian leaders. When they do find advice about relationships, it’s often spectacularly bad. […]

I really resonated with that comment above. Since I was just on the topic of marriage, I was reading the other day this great resource for guys to “marrying well.” Compiled by various Christian writers, it’s an electronic book available for free. The book can be found by going to www.boundless.org/guys. It reads:

The simple purpose of the information here is to present a path that is as biblical as possible in order to help you marry well. But not just so that you can experience all the happiness, health and wealth that guys who marry well enjoy, but so that your marriage can point to God’s glory and His greater purposes.

This guide is based on a few timeless concepts — intentionality, purity, Christian compatibility and community — that we rarely encounter in popular culture but are a proven path to marrying well.

Reading this article showed me what patience amounts to in a marriage–a lot. From CT’s Today’s Christian Woman:

The day had come. I’d lasted as long as I could in my marriage. Once my husband, Bill, left for work, I packed a bag for myself and our 14-month-old son and left our home. It was the only year in our married life when we lived in the same town as my parents. Obviously the convenience of being able to run to Mom and Dad made my decision to leave Bill easier.

With a tear-stained, angry face, I walked into Mom’s kitchen. She held the baby while I sobbed my declaration of independence. After washing my face and sipping a cup of coffee, Mom told me she and Dad would help me. They’d be there for me, which brought me great comfort.

“But before you leave Bill,” she said, “I have one task for you to complete.” […]

From Consumerist.com:

Reader Jay sent us this link to a training potty with a built in slot machine that goes off whenever it detects a “deposit.”

It’s probably not a good idea to introduce your kids to gambling at such an early age, but what really bothers us is associating the slots with a basic part of life, conditioning kids to want to gamble on the toilet. Do you really want your son spending an hour in the bathroom playing online poker on his iPhone?

The government is offering scholarships (large ones, in fact, amounting to $10,000) for working moms “to cover childcare expenses while they attend school, pay for classes online or to save for their children’s education”:

With a full-time job (or several part-time jobs) and children to raise, working mothers often have very little time to pursue an education. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 80 percent of single working moms lack the education they need to get ahead.

The latest government figures confirm that only 16 percent of single working mothers have a bachelor’s degree or higher and only 22 percent earn more than $30,000 a year. But going back to school is worth it according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earning an associate’s degree can add an extra $6,500 per year of income into your pocket and a bachelor’s degree can add up to $19,000 every year to your paycheck.

But working mothers wanting to pursue a degree often find a financial aid system designed for full-time students living on campus.

This fall, however, working moms can get back to school with a free $10,000 scholarship. Scholarships4Moms.net is helping working mothers across the country go back to school, advance their education and get ahead in their careers. All U.S. residents over the age of 18 are eligible to win a $10,000 scholarship, but the application deadline is January 23 2009, so act now!

[read the rest of the article]

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