Saturday, July 30, 2005

It's Saturday....

.....and the sun is shining. The air condtioning is OFF and the temperature is fabulous. It is not a day to be inside blogging. And in obedience to my own husband I must go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Yes, dear!

I have appreciated all the comments about our posts on Created to be His Help Meet both publically and by e-mail. Your stories and critical analysis both postive and negative are helpful. Thank you for the feedback. The discussion is far from over. Please feel free to add your thoughts at any time. We read them all.

I have not taken any criticism personally. I am not upset that someone may disagree nor am I mad at anyone. I only ask that if you disagree that it based on the substance of what we have shared and that you correctly state our postions and not leave the impression that we are attacking the Pearl's personally or that we disagree with everything in the book. Neither is true.
Also, if you have written something with a reference to us or our website that you provide a link so that others can verify what we said and that is being portrayed accurately. I agree with Michael Pearl when he stated in his newsletter from May of 1999.
I am one that believes in the free disssemination of and access to information. Each person must assume responsibility for his own beliefs and actions. It does not disturb me when others differ with me, nor am I alarmed when I differ with others. Truth stands alone. We must be on its side, it will never be on ours.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

You gotta love the irony!!!!

The same week that I am reviewing Created to Be His Help Meet we get a call from an ABC TV producer in New York wanting our family to appear on one of their shows. The pay is awesome. Ten Grand! Wow! Too good to pass up! There's just one problem the want us to appear on Wife Swap! No kidding! We are just laughing ourselves silly over this. Apparently they haven't been reading my blog or they NEVER would have asked. They found us on our Civil War Dad's Website and fell in love with the kiddo's all dressed up. I needed a good laugh today and this was just too much for us! I've never seen the show and I don't really plan on watching it. The name alone makes me crack up!

Needless to say we told them no.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Created to be His Help Meet - Part 4

This is the fourth of several posts on Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. All of the posts have been jointly written with my husband.Part 1 Part 2 Part 3.

In Part III we began a discussion on how the Pearl's address domestic violence. By the variety of comments I have received, it is clear that many have come to different conclusions on where they stand. That is the problem! The Pearls do not clearly define domestic violence and how a woman can still remain faithful to her vows, reverence her husband, but not subject herself or her children to repeated abuse or battering.

In this post we will examine Michael Pearl's stand on domestic violence and consider the "Doctrine of Wrongful Suffering In Silence" that he teaches.

Micheal Speaks

In Michael's portion of Chapter 23 (When NOT to Obey - Exception Clause), he compounds the confusion on domestic violence that Debi began in Chapter 13.

Michael first explains spheres of authority. All authority is God's but He has delegated some authority to other authorities -- angels, government, church, husbands, and wives. Each authority is free to use and/or abuse its power within certain limits. If that power is used properly, then all is well. But God also allows some abuse of power up to a certain limit without His interference. Once that limit is reached, however, the authority is subject to a higher power. Michael explains on page 260,

If any authority abuses its power beyond that which God has allowed, it becomes subject to a greater power - as when a husband physically assaults his wife, and becomes subject to the power of the state.
He then continues with a discussion of the husband's sphere of authority and how he loses his headship by crossing the "bright red line of criminal acts or imposing immoral behavior on the family, bringing God or government to intervene" as we discussed in Part III.

The Doctrine of Wrongful Suffering in Silence

At this point, rather than explain further how a woman should handle situations where a husband crosses that "bright red line" or engages in domestic violence, Michael launches off into the doctrine of wrongful suffering in silence.

If you are not at least moderately versed in Scripture and in the will and ways of God, this doctrine of suffering abuse in silence for the glory of God will amaze you. (emphasis in the original)

Using I Peter 2 and 3 as the primary text he states on page 262,

The servant is not given the option of deciding that the master is not acting within the will of God and therefore should not be obeyed. It is acceptable with God (God's will) for the underling to suffer wrongfully and take it patiently.

You will surely wonder, "why is it the will of God for the underling to suffer at the hands of an unjust, and perverse authority?" Two reasons are obvious, one of which we have already stated. First, the chain of command must remain intact, even to the point of allowing some abuse. The other reason is introduced in verse 20 - glory.

We were created by God and placed upon this earth to express his glory (Ps. 8:5, Is 43:7, Rom 2:7, Heb. 2:7). Jesus did not live his life in ease for his own pleasure. He lived and suffered for the glory that was to follow (1Pet. 1:11). Lady, you were created to give glory to God. When God puts you in subjection to a man whom he knows is going to cause you to suffer, it is with the understanding that you are obeying God by enduring the wrongful suffering. And when you suffer wrongfully, as unto the Lord, you bring great glory to God in heaven.

I agree that the Christian life is lived to bring glory to God and that all Christians are called to a life of suffering. We will have trials and tribulations in this life -- no doubt about it.

Yet while exhorting women to endure suffering in silence, Michael has not explained when a man has gone beyond his power. He is leaving women -- especially those who are suffering physical abuse -- in a confusing quandry. On the one hand, there is a "bright red line" out there somewhere but no one is sure just where it is. On the other hand, women are encouraged to endure their suffering in silence. In addition, he seems to indicate that as the "underling" it is not even the woman's place to know or determine when the man is obeying God's will.

Michael leaves too many unanswered questions and the resulting confusion can be very harmful to some women in abusive relationships.

What is his definition of "some abuse?"

What is the definition of "bright red line of criminal acts?"

Why is so much space devoted to the doctrine of "wrongful suffering in silence" but nothing on the definition of "wrongful abuse of authority?"

How much physical violence does it take for a husband to be subject to the state?

How will the state (or anyone) know a husband has gone beyond his sphere of authority with respect to domestic violence if the wife is encouraged to endure and suffer in silence?

If "the servant is not given the option of deciding that the master is not acting within the will of God and therefore should not be obeyed," then what is the point of discussing "when not to obey?"

Michael doesnt' say. Somehow in all the letters and counseling experiences that they have had, they could not provide one example of how to apply any of this advice with respect to domestic violence. The closest we come is Sunny and Ahmed in Chapter 13 -- the poorest choice of an example if there ever was one, as we noted in Part III.

To underscore the depth of confusion the Pearl's are creating, the section titled "Practical Examples" on page 266 starts with,

You may still be confused as to when you are to obey and when not.

No kidding! The "practical examples" address the topics of sodomy, cross-dressing, thievery, tax evasion, and church attendance. In two instances, thievery and sodomy, Michael does encourage a woman to bring in the police. He inexplicably ignores the subject of domestic violence.

Why is this? The Pearl's provide a clear answer on their website of how a woman can bring the authority of the state in for her (and the children's) protection and still reverence her husband without divorce. It should also be clearly stated in the book to avoid any confusion on the part of a woman who may be in that situation. Why is it missing?

One answer might be found in this stunning paragraph (The Bottom Line) on page 270, where Michael manages to further confuse, and perhaps contradict, the very clear advice he gives on their website. He writes,

If a wife has an attitude of rebellion, she can find a thousand different exceptions to obedience. But if a woman is really seeking God and asking for wisdom from on high, she will be able to discern the difference between her own controlling spirit and those rare instances that a husband may command outside his sphere of authority - requiring legal intervention. Women who threaten to "report them to the law," or women who refuse to answer the phone any way other than, "He is here, but will not talk," are rebellious. They will never make it to the hall of fame found in Hebrews 11, where Sara was listed, nor will they make it into a heavenly marriage here on earth. (emphasis in bold in original, emphasis in red is added.)

I agree a rebellious spirit is never good.

But now the Pearl's are heaping one more weight on an abused woman -- not only is her husband allowed some abuse of his power, not only does she not know where the "bright red line" of criminal acts is, not only is she supposed to endure "some abuse" in silence, not only is she supposed to withhold judgement as to when her husband has exceeded his authority -- she now must also check her motives before even thinking to call the police. And since she is well versed in the notion that she is by nature rebellious to her husband...well, on second thought, maybe she should just continue in silence and endure with a smile.

On the Pearl's website, Michael says that women can use the authority of the state as an effective deterrent to abuse or repeated battering. He even says that the wife is to inform her husband that she will go to the law. Michael indicated that a man can have control when he must and that the state can make it a must! Where's all that strong languague now?

On the website, Michael advocates using the law as an effective means of winning an abusive husband. But in the book he fails to even mention turning to the law for help in abusive situations for those women who do want to stick by their men. On page 270 Michael writes,

To those of you who are enduring verbal and physical abuse, we realize that statistically, you are likely to remain with your husband. It is therefore important that you understand how to speak and conduct yourself in a way that will maintain your physical and emotional safety and ultimately win your husband.

The focus is all on how a woman should conduct herself, but there is no mention of the authority of the state. Michael had the perfect opportunity right there to define the line of abuse clearly and provide a biblical solution that would exhort women to honor the Lord, their husbands, provide for their protection and that of any children, and properly appeal to the authority of the state.

This confusing message can be devastating to abused women who are looking to the Pearl's for their wisdom and guidance. The Pearl's are such direct people. They plainly speak their mind. Why are they so vague on this issue? Is a man allowed to hit his wife or not? And what is the wife to do in the face of domestic violence? Any book on submission must provide clear teaching on what is physical abuse and how to respond to it - Created to be His Help Meet does not.

Many have indicated that they have benefitted from Debi's book. That is wonderful. But this is not just about you and me. While we may put into practice a merry heart, other women may be risking their lives and those of their children while practicing the "doctrine of wrongful suffering in silence." Someone needs to give those women back their voices.

That won't happen as long as books like this are being printed, promoted, and sold.

Read Debi Pearl re-visited.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My final post in the Created to Be His Help Meet series will be ready later today or tomorrow. I will talk about the teaching Michael puts forth called the doctrine of wrongful suffering in silence.

____________________


The Old School House Summer issue is available!

It has loads of interesting articles.This is also the issue where TOS is announcing the new Homeschool Blogger site. They have five articles from bloggers who blog at homeschool blogger (yes! I am one of them.) and they also have a list of Do's and Don'ts by Spunky Jr.

The Fall issue will have my first column about blogging. It will feature bloggers from Homeschool blogger and offer tips and other things for readers. If you don't have a subscription...this is a great magazine we have enjoyed reading. Click on the above ad for information.



Monday, July 25, 2005

Created to Be His Help Meet - Part 3

This is the third of several posts on Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. All of the posts have been jointly written with my husband.

Part 1
Part 2

After reading Part I and Part II, many have left comments or e-mailed me saying that they agree there are some doctrinal and/or inconsistencies in the book. But they are content to take the good and leave the bad. That's fine and we do that all the time when we read any book. But what happens when the inconsistencies and questionable doctrine have the potential to keep someone in a harmful situation? Is it enough to say, "I got what "good" I needed and move on" -- leaving others to figure out the "bad" in potentially dangerous situations? Can we in good conscience give a generic "recommmendation" on a book that in the wrong situation can lead to great harm?

This post will look at the advice Michael and Debi give to women who have been physically assaulted by their husbands.

Confusion on Domestic Violence
In the book, Michael adresses the question of "When Not to Obey." On page 261 he states,

God does not step in and divest a father of his authority when he proves to be short-tempered and neglects his children, or when he is excessive in his corporal punishment, as long as it does not cross the line that would violate the just laws of the land or slip into the category of violence against another human being. Children are still required to obey an unreasonable and surly father. Likewise, wives are to obey unreasonable and surly husbands, for they retain their headship until they cross the bright red line of criminal acts of imposing immoral behavior on the family bringing God or government to intervene. (Emphasis added.)

Michael and Debi do not provide a clear picture in the book of where the "bright red line" exactly is or what a woman is to do if that line is crossed. So I went to the Pearl's website, No Greater Joy, looking for clues and found this article about Abusive Husbands by Debi Pearl from May of 1999. Here is an excerpt from Michael's portion of her response (page 6 of the website):

If you or your children have been hit (other than the children being spanked) so as to leave discernable marks two hours later, and you genuinely fear that he will repeat his battering, you can take legal steps without divorcing your husband. In a moment when he is not angry, calmly inform him that the next time he physically assaults you or the kids, you are going to call the law and have him arrested.

You must first resolve in your heart that you are willing to prosecute him and see him go to jail. I visit prisons every week. It is a great place to mull over the consequences of one's deeds. And I have never met a prisoner that turned down a visit from anyone. Think about it, lady; it is a great time for writing love letters and sharing a three-minute romantic phone call once a week. Guys who get out of prison run straight home to their ladies and treat them wonderfully-for a while anyway.

If your abusing husband fully understands that you have the power of the law behind you, he will learn to keep his hands in his pockets. I am not suggesting you do this to be vindictive or to get even with him. It must be done in humility and love. If your husband knows that you are the weaker vessel, desperately seeking your survival and that of the kids, and that you are not trying to punish him, but
that you are going to stand by and continue to love him, that you are going to wait for him to get out of prison and then try to start over again, it may move his heart to fear if not to repentance.

You say, he cannot help himself. Does he help himself when his peers-other men his own size-make him angry? Does he fly out of control and start hitting his boss or his employees? No? Then he has self-control when he must. The law can make it a must, which will allow you to continue with him and demonstrate your womanhood and win him to yourself and then to your God.

God hates divorce-always, forever, regardless, without exception.

In his response on their website, Michael seems to take a firm stand against domestic violence and abuse. And he puts the responsibility for the violence clearly on the shoulders of the husband. The solution Michael provides is excellent. It is necessary to provide a solution to this issue in any discussion on women and submission. (Although it is unclear whether Michael believes it is OKAY for a husband to physically hit or batter his wife and/or children as long as he doesn't leave marks that are discernable after two hours. Hmmm. I sure hope he doesn't think so!)

So how does Debi address this issue in Created to Be His Help Meet?

Ahmed and Sunny
In Chapter 13, The Great Mystery, Debi tells the story of a young woman she knew who had a weakness for guys who needed her. Her name was Sunny. One day, she picked up a hitchhiker of "Arab descent" named Ahmed. They became romantically involved and married. In a very short time Sunny was pregnant and that is when the violence and beatings began. Ahmed often left her home alone for days to be with "friends" and when he returned he would vent his rage on Sunny. This continued for 7 years! Debi states on page 132,

When Sunny was pregnant with their third baby, Ahmed came home drunk and tried to kill her with a butcher knife. Every time Ahmed came home raging drunk, Sunny would leave the house with loud, railing accusations and go to her mother's house and cry out her sorrows. She would get on the phone and call all of her friends and tell them what Ahmed was doing to her but she did not leave him.

Sunny became so desperate that she confided to Debi that she was plotting her husband's murder!

If beatings and butcher knife attacks aren't crossing the "bright red line" of violence, then I don't know what is. The last time I checked, domestic violence and attempted murder were still criminal offenses requiring government intervention.

Here is Debi's advice to Sunny,

I spent hours in prayer and counseling with Sunny that evening. I asked her to make a decision, either leave Ahmed once and for all and put the pieces of her life back together, or to stay with him and begin a campaign of winning his heart and saving their life together. I fully expected her to leave him that night, but I discovered something amazing about her, Sunny really wanted God's will in her life. She had grasped an eternal vision about life, and she now believed God could save her man.(snip)

I knew of Sunny's weakness to blab everything, she couldn't keep a secret to save her life. I also knew her husband was a very private man, and that her blabbling about his sins kept him in a rage. I explained to Sunny that in order to win her husband's heart she needed to reverence him...She was not to speak ill of him again. Her conversation with others as well as with him, would be only praise and appreciation.

It is good that a woman not blab to everyone about her husbands short-comings or sins. No one likes that. And it is well that a woman obey and reverence her husband.

But Debi's advice appears to contradict Michael's adivce on their website and leaves too many troubling questions that could be very dangerous to a woman in an abusive relationship.

1. Does Debi recognize that the "bright red line" of violence has been crossed? If yes, then why did she not offer Sunny the wise counsel of Michael? Wasn't this a clear case of multiple criminal acts over many years? Shouldn't legal prosecution without encouraging divorce at least be considered in this case? Debi's counsel boils down to "leave forever" (divorce?) or "stay, shut up, and endure it with reverence."

2. On the one hand, Michael states that a man can have self-control over his anger or rage. But Debi seems to indicate that Sunny's blabbing is what is keeping Ahmed in a rage. We agree her blabbing doesn't help. But Michael and Debi seem to differ over who controls Ahmed's rage. Let's be clear, it is Ahmed who is responsible for his own rage. Sunny is not.

3. Debi says that Sunny should only speak that which is "praise and appreciation" for Ahmed. Does this mean Sunny should not ever report him to the authorities if the situation warrants such action (which it appears it already does anyway)? Michael's view in 1999 was that the wife demonstrates her womanhood by bringing the full force of the law to establish her protection from future abuse. Keeping it to herself does not appear to be Michael's advice.

Debi concludes the story with Sunny taking her advice. And in just a week, drunken, mad Ahmed begins to change. The story reads like a fairy tale ending with Sunny dreaming big dreams for her man. Ahmed even get's saved. We all love a happy ending. That is great.

I am glad Sunny is no longer suffering. Or is she? I am not convinced that just because a man claims Christ and attends church that he is not beating his wife. But no one will ever know for sure because Sunny is committed to a prison of silence never to speak against her husband. If she is asked about it can she answer truthfully?

Don't let the outcome trick you. Debi did not know the outcome when she counseled Sunny. She placed Sunny, her children, and her husband all at great risk of future abuse or even death.

Debi has also moved beyond her sphere of authortiy. In the book Michael states on page 260,

If any authority abuses its power beyond that which God has allowed, it becomes
subject to a higher power - as when a husband physically assaults his wife and
becomes subject to the power of the state.

Ahmed physically assaulted his wife repeatedly over 7 years. According to Michael, Ahmed is now subject to the power of the state as ordained by God. Debi does not mention that to Sunny and leaves her and the reader with the impression that there were no other options.

Debi has turned Michael's "bright red line" of criminal acts into a murky gray area. She contradicts what Michael teaches with respect to domestic violence in the home.

Domestic violence and abuse is a serious issue. It should be clearly spoken of in a way that leaves no question in the mind of the reader that there are legal options that should be considered.

In Created to Be His Help Meet, Debi does mention legal intervention, but never puts forth a clear strategy of when a woman should bring in the law. Any book on submission should clearly tell how a woman how she can still reverence her husband while pursuing legal options. The Pearls have the material on their website! Why did they leave it out of the book? Instead this issue is blurred by contradictory stories and the advice Debi gives with nary a mention of the law.

The choice of the Sunny and Ahmed story in this book is a potential powder keg. If a woman chooses to stay with an abusive man, then Debi's advice basically boils down to reverently suffer in silence with a smile on your face.

How many women in violent and abusive relationships are going to read this book -- women who Debi says have a "propensity to develop a self-absorbing spiritual intimacy with spiritual leaders" and who look up to Debi Pearl -- and will walk away from it believing it is their duty to continue suffering in silence because that's what Debi Pearl says to do? After all, it worked just fine for Sunny and Ahmed. If it's not working for me, then I must be doing something wrong and I'll just keep enduring the abuse and will try harder.

This is just a prelude. As we shall see in the next post, Michael also contradicts the advice he gave on their website and now puts forth a new and dangerous teaching called the "Doctrine of Wrongful Suffering in Silence."

Read Part 4.

There's lots more in the comments section even though it might say zero.

Friday, July 22, 2005

NEA believes we're amateurs

Here's a great opportunity to teach your children a little logic. Help them find all the logical fallacies in this article on the NEA website. (Don't worry it won't be hard to find them.)

David Arnold, head custodian, at a school district in Illinois believes we're amateurs and that teaching children is too important

There's nothing like having the right person with the right experience, skills and tools to accomplish a specific task. Certain jobs are best left to the pros, such as, formal education. (snip)

Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills? They would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible.

If these teachers are knowledgeable....how come they haven't found a way get the kids to clean the bathrooms like we have????

Thanks for the advice but I think I'll pass on your "wsidom" Mr. Arnold. Here's my definition of a teacher.

(I will continue my post on Created To Be His Help Meet but it may not be until Monday.)


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Created to Be His Help Meet - Part 2

This is the second of several posts on Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. This post is jointly written with my husband. Part 1 is here.

Obedient to Their Own Husbands.

Titus 2:4-5 "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands."

Debi Pearl talks about being obedient to our own husbands in Chapter 22. In that chapter she retells a conversation between Micheal and their oldest daughter,
When our first daughter was just two months away from geting married, she asked her daddy a theological question. Remember now, she was a graduate of Bible college and had spent three years on the foreign field as a missionary. But, rather than answer her as he had been doing for the previous 26 years, he told her, "I cannot answer your Bible question, for now you believe what your husband believes. He will be your head, and you will follow him. It is time to get adjusted to your new role. Ask him what he believes about it."

Micheal Pearl's answer presents an interesting dilemma for Debi. If Michael Pearl believes that he cannot answer his betrothed daughter's theological question without usurping his future son-in-law's authority, then isn't Debi usurping our husbands' authority by providing such advice?

Whose Game Plan?

This is a theological as well as a practical book. Debi offers her theology on complete sanctification from temptation, blasphemy, deception, leadership of women in the home and church, etc. Michael, however, appears to believe that theological questions ought to be directed at the husband, even to the point of refusing his betrothed daughter's theological question. To be consistent with Michael, shouldn't Debi direct us to our own husbands as well?

Contradicting Their Own Advice

Chapter 23 is titled, "When Not to Obey?" On page 258 Debi writes,

...is there ever a time when a woman should disobey her husband? Since this is a doctrinal issue, I have asked my studious husband to help me out on it. (emphasis in original).
So now we're directed to Michael for a theological question! Shouldn't she tell us to go our husbands? Shouldn't Michael direct us to our husbands, as he did with his daughter? Instead, he launches right into a theological discussion on spheres of authority -- never realizing that he has just violated his very own advice to his daughter and departed from his sphere of authority.

Contradictions Abound

On page 52, Debi begins a section with the quote "What does the Bible say?" In that section, a woman writes Debi a letter raising the issue of a woman's role in the church. Specifically, the writer believes a woman has a role at the platform in church and challenges Debi based on the teachings of another prominent minister. A theolgoical question. Instead of pointing the woman back to her husband, Debi launches into her views.

Debi strongly disagrees with the premise of the woman's letter. Her answer includes a discussion of how people have believed for centuries the same way that Debi does, Michael's scholarship, the use of the King James Bible, and then adds this zinger,

You will have to go to a "pop" TV evangelist or conference speaker, who depends on monetary gifts from women, to get the modern view that you say is taught by men like H____. There is a reason why those people attempt to appeal to the modern woman. Nine out of ten gifts to these ministries and nine out of ten purchases of books and tapes, are by women. Women who can't be close to their husbands have a propensity to develop a self-absorbing spritual intimacy with spiritual leaders - be they men or women. (emphasis in original)
There are multiple problems with this statement.

First, by offering her beliefs, isn't Debi contradicting her own husband's advice to their daughter?

Second, by responding to such letters isn't she feeding the "self-absorbing" problem she laments?

Third, Debi makes an unsupported assertion about the motives of other minsitries, and specifically that of H____. This is a serious issue. Debi has established herself as a Titus 2 woman. Yet one of the qualifications of a Titus 2 woman is,

The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.

Debi is treading on thin ice with respect to "false accusers" when attributing motives to others without offering any documentation.

Finally, Debi unwittingly swerves into another contradicition. Couldn't the same thing be said about the Pearl's and their ministry -- that they appeal to and sell primarily to women?

Even in Created to Be His Help Meet, which by the way is specifically written for women, there are strong appeals to women.

For example, on page 186 Debi exhorts her captive audience of women to buy the Pearl's book To Train Up a Child, which, she writes, is a

a must read for every mamma who loves her kids and wants them to be happy,
obedient, hardworking, and smart.

I'm not faulting the Pearl's for advertising or the rewards of their labors, but how many of their books are sold to women? Should we discredit their work on the basis of the same argument Debi provided to this woman?

In Part 3 I explain why these issues are important in light of other advice offered in the book.

Please take a minute to read the comments even if it says zero. There are lots of comments.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I'll Be Back

UPDATE 7/21: We are still reviewing and editting the post. My husband has a busy work schedule today and finding time to write is difficult.

My husband and I have not finished the second post yet in my review of Created to Be His Help Meet. I hope to post it tomorrow. Part One is here. Sorry for the mult-day posting. But there is just too much to cover in one day.

On a different topic, here is an interesting blog for you and your children to be aware from Voice of the Martyr's about the persecuted church. It is done by Stacy Harp of Mind and Media. Blogging is alot of fun but when you read a blog like Persecution you realize that it has great potential for impact in exposing the sad situations around the world and making a difference for Christ in what we write. Here's the link Persecution.

Which is another reason to start a blog. And if you start one at Homeschool blogger. If you hurry you could even win a free subscription to the magazine. It's amazing how this has grown. I think I was number 70.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Created to Be His Help Meet - Part 1

Introduction

This is the first of several posts on Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. This post is jointly written with my husband.

Our family has benefitted from the ministry of Micheal and Debi Pearl. Their ideas on tying strings of fellowship and training are helpful as we parent our children. Their writing is direct and, whether you agree or disagree with their ideas, at least you know where they are coming from.

I read the excerpt for Debi's newest book, Created to Be His Help Meet, in their newsletter and thought that it would be equally helpful in my desire to be a better wife. Indeed, she provides many helpful reminders that are easy to forget in the day-to-day life of a busy household. Obedience, submission, and reverence are things that you can never hear too often. I am grateful that Debi is bold enough to attack these issues head on without regard to "trendy wisdom" or pop theology.

But those feelings were over-shadowed by a growing concern that in her zeal to present her case she may have moved into areas unsupported by Scriptutre. These areas need to be examined to determine whether they are indeed Scriptural.

The Review

Years ago, my mother played a silly trick on my dad. He loved apple pie. One day she didn't have time to prepare a pie for him so she threw a few apples and some spices into a pot and set it on the stove to simmer. Soon the house was filled with the aroma of "apple pie." But the reality was far different than the sweet fragrance. When my dad went to get a piece of the pie there was nothing there except the scent of a pie and some ingredients to make him think there was a pie. There was no substance. The truth of the pie was missing. Created to Be His Help Meet made me feel just like my dad felt that day -- disappointed and hoping for something better.

Don't get me wrong. Debi presents some important ingredients for a "heavenly marriage" but other key ingredients are missing. And some of the ingredients she uses are mixed together in such a way that the substance of a "heavenly marriage" is just not there.

What is a Heavenly Marriage?

Debi doesn't actually define a "heavenly marriage." She states, however, that one is possible solely on the basis of the woman's efforts. Consider what she writes on page 30,


It doesn't take a good man, or even a saved man to have a heavenly marriage. But it does take a woman who is willing to honor God and by being the kind of wife God intended.
The flawed premise is that as long as the woman is willing to honor God and be the kind of wife God intended, then she can have a "heavenly marriage." This puts all the weight on the woman and takes Christ, the power of the cross, and the husband out of the picture.

I agree that a foolish woman can tear down a marriage. But a wise woman can do all the right things and still her husband may depart from her. She is not a failure because he is a fool.

On the other hand, even in a good marriage, can it be called heavenly if the man is well-served but never comes to repentance or to know Christ? That's not what I call a heavenly marriage.

To me a "heavenly marriage" is one where the head of the man is submitted to Christ and in turn is the head of a reverent wife. To call a marriage heavenly simply because a woman obeys God and her husband creates an expectation that will not necessarily follow. No matter what the wife does, the man has the liberty to choose or reject Christ (and her) regardless of a woman's behavior.

Where in Scripture does God make a "heavenly marriage" or a failed marriage the sole responsibility of the woman?

Debi's Game Plan

Her prescription for a "heavenly marriage" begins with a merry heart. She states on page 26,
And the day you have a merry heart with be the first day of rebuilidng your marriage into the heavenly gift it was meant to be.
I agree that a merry heart is necessary to a marriage and I appreciate the reminder. But to say that this is the first ingredient is misleading. Consider what D. James Kennedy states as most needful to a marraige. In his book Save a Marriage, Save a Nation (Recently available free from Coral Ridge Ministries) he states on page 17,

I'll tell you what the Bible says you should do if you don't love your husband, if you haven't loved him for years, then you should go home, get down on your knees, repent of your sin, and ask the Lord and your husband to forgive you.
Without this first step, a woman is relying on future good behavior (a merry heart) to cover past sin. It's as if Debi expects that a wife can flip on the "merry" switch and that alone will atone for all past wrongs and sins.

Isn't it more appropriate to confess and repent of our sins to Jesus and our husbands first? Only after that can a "merry heart" do it's work free from the guilt and shame of sin. Then when our husbands begin to experience the joy of our merry hearts, or any other changes we may make, they will know the true source of these changes -- Jesus -- and give Him the glory.

Debi does briefly mention a woman in the Bible coming to Jesus but that's not until the end of Chapter 4. She never addresses confession and repentance to our husbands. Confessing our sins to Jesus and our husbands is critical to the full restoration of the marriage, even if our husbands refuse to confess their wrongs.

The most obvious omission comes at the end of the book when Debi speaks of Diana on p. 248. The woman's husband has left her over the single issue of the number of children they should have. Debi asserts the woman is blaspheming the Word of God and then states,
I have no answer for Diana, whose husband left her with an overflowing quiver of children to rear alone. There is no sure refuge for all the families who have split over this issue.
No answer? No refuge? Christ is our refuge. Confession and repentance are the tools He uses to bring about restoration. A "merry heart" won't take you very far without them. That is a huge ingredient of truth left out of the book.

Debi's Doctrine of Santification

Debi's idea of "complete santification" does not appear to have any Scriptural basis.

Here is her answer to a woman whose husband is having an emotional affair. She acknowledges the husband is wrong but then makes this assertion on page 29 without any supporting Scripture,
God has provided for your husband's complete sanctification and deliverance from temptation through you his wife.
I agree that the woman is part of a mutual sanctification that takes place between a husband and a wife (see Genesis 2:18 and 1 Peter 3). But to say that a woman provides for "complete santification and deliverance from temptation" is incorrect. Instead, II Timothy 2:19-22 states,
Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart
And in Hebrews 2:18,

For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them
that are tempted.
Christ and the husband also have a role in the complete sanctification from temptation -- arguably a greater role than the wife. Is the wife really completely responsible for the purity of her husband's thought life or behavior?

From there Debi reduces the solution to our husbands' temptations to our attractiveness. And for some odd reason resorts to unncessary name calling more often associated with immature high school girls, not a mature woman of God. From page 31,

Get down on your husband's emotional level and make yourself more attractive than that office wench and do it now, today!

I agree we are at war and that war has a physical element to it. But Debi's answer to everything seems to be a smile and a roll in the hay. (Nothing wrong with that. We didn't get 6 children without our share of fun!) But to suggest that intimacy with our husbands (more often, more exciting, whatever) is the cure misses the more important point. You can't successfully fight a spirtual battle with only carnal weapons.

The battle we are in is primarily spirtual. I know a few women who are competing with a "virtual wench" and not just computer or video images, but also words in chat rooms and voices from someone on the phone that can't be seen. We are not just in a visual competition for our husband's affection, but a spiritual one as well. A spirtual battle calls for spirtual weapons.

I prefer the approach Esther took. She used her beauty, wit, and courage but primary relied upon her greatest spiritual weapons -- prayer and fasting. Only Jesus can satisfy and cure a sinful appetite. Only Jesus can completely fill that void in a man's heart. We aren't going to do it alone by "exhausting" his desires. That's like trying to cure a drunk by giving him lots of water to drink.

"Rolling in the hay," visual appeal, and joyously pleasing our husbands all have there place, but ultimately a spiritual battle requires spiritual weapons. Debi does not mention this. Another missing ingredient.

Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. If you choose to comment please keep it to a discussion of the book itself. Any extraneous or personal comments directed at the Pearl's or their ministry (good or bad) will be deleted.

Please read the comments section. There are lots of comments even if it says zero.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Keeping them safe

As I was walking into the grocery story some time ago, I glanced to my right and noticed a frail older woman walking with her son. She had a cane in her left hand and was holding the elbow of an adult man (I assumed her son) to steady herself as she walked. As they neared the entrance to the store a car came into their path. Instinctively, the mother took her hand off his elbow and held it across his chest. Her actions indicated that she worried about the safety of her son as he crossed the parking lot. The story is humorous in one sense. A frail old woman is no match for the man or the car. But yet her mother's heart is always ready to nurture and protect her "young". I thought about that story when I read Michelles comment on my blog,

I so much want to keep them home and protect them from hurts,
We all do. But that is not always possible. The best way to protect them from hurts is to trust in the one who can watch over them at all times. Just as the mother entering the store, we can try to protect them from what they may encounter. But we are often out matched in our strength and abilities. Trusting the Lord will provide us with the security we need to provide our children with the confidence they need to survive whatever they encounter.

Proud to Serve

Here's a photo of my two sons with our State Senator Bruce Patterson and a World War II Marine Veteran at a parade we participated in. (I hope I don't violate any FEC codes by providing unregulated benefits to specific campaigns on my blog!)

Slammed by Jenny D.

Jenny D is mad at me. Well not just me, all white middle class Michiganders. She claims I don't care about my children's education.

Michiganders don't much care about their kids' educations. Let me rephrase...white, middle-class Michiganders don't care. Here's the blog entry, and here's the
article
from the Detroit News reporting that:

Nearly half of parents don't think everyone should have a college education nor do they trust the judgment of teachers and professors.

Three out of five define the success of their children without reference to education or the ability to support themselves.

Only one in four believes a good education is essential for getting ahead in life.

It goes on but you get the idea. Quite frankly, I agree with the first point and proud to admit I don't trust the jdugement of teachers and professors. So I guess I'm one of the parents who doesn't care. Yeah right! Sounds like Jenny D. might want to come visit my blog and read The Myth of An Equal Education. In that post I stated,
My children's success is not determined by a degree or a dollar. That a well educated child is one who knows and loves the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength, and loves their neighbor as themselves.
But according to educational elitists I guess that puts me in the category of parents who just don't care.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

An excellent point!

There were a few reasons why I shared my story this past week From Honeymoons to Happy Homes. Mainly, I wanted to finally write it down so that my children will have a little bit of history about our marriage. But I also wanted to share so that others who may read it would be encouraged to seek the Lord and desire grow in their marriages. I was glad when I visited BlestwithSons and read that she was encouraged not to copy what I had done but to seek the Lord herself. Here's what she said,

I read Spunky's adventure in submission, and the treasures she has reaped from it, and I think, "Hey! I want that! I'll do what Spunky did! I'll email my husband in Iraq and tell him he needs to make the decisions about how we are going to homeschool." But there's one small problem. Okay, one big problem. I'm not Spunky. And God has not told me to do what Spunky did. I'm not saying He won't eventually tell me to do what she did...But I haven't actually asked Him yet. And is my motivation in wanting to copy Spunky truly the desire to be submissive? Or is it just female trickery in trying to force my husband to lead the way I think he should lead? And can I instantly assume that because I read something on a blog which resonated with me that it is conviction from the Lord that I am to do the same thing? Maybe. Maybe not.

I think the resonance definitely shows me that I have room to grow in the submission department... Lots of room, actually. I need to take what I've learned from Spunky, and instead of copying her actions, copy her attitude. I need to go to my Father in prayer and ask Him to show me what he would have me do.

Amen, that is exactly the response we should all have when we read something encouraging that the Lord has done in the lives of others. Thanks for making the point.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

From Honeymoons to Happy Homes (4)

This is the final post in the series. Part 1, Part 2, Part 2b, Part 3.

When we first moved into this area eleven years ago, I commented to my husband about how beautiful a certain tree looked down the road. He glanced at it and quickly assessed the situation much differently than I did. "The tree is beautiful now but give it a few years and it won't be so nice." What did he see that I didn't see?

A few feet above the base of the tree there were two strong limbs going in separate directions. My husband rightly pointed out that unless one of the two main limbs was pruned the tree would eventually split apart. The tree was developing two leaders. I began to watch the tree. After a storm, the tree would always lose a few more limbs. The tree began to look a more haggard and beaten. Eventually, it didn't look at all like when I first saw it. Just two weeks ago, the tree split in half and had to be removed.

Our family was the same way. Nice looking out the outside but we had a fundamental problem in the structure. Thankfully God intervened, a proper pruning was done, and the "tree" was spared.

Here's some of the things that God taught me during the 18 month "sabbatical".

A family cannot have two leaders. Eventually, the strength of the family is weakened and in the worst cases a split occurs. That is not to say that this is the only cause of divorce but it is definitely a problem. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Relationships. The children are the limbs of a tree. When the tree is strong, the limbs remain firmly attached. But a weak tree will produce weaker limbs. I am a major branch in the tree but not the leader. My primary role is to be the best supporting limb for my husband so that he can provide direction and not have to struggle with me. As a result, the whole family prospers.

Fear. The fear that my husband wouldn't lead our family was very strong. What would happen then? And there were times when I was tempted to take over. But I realized that we serve a big God who loves my family more than I do. My obedience to let go was needed in order for my husband to begin to lead. Scripture says that in 1 Peter 3, "You will be like the Godly women of old if you do what is right and do not give in to fear."

Academics. I realized that I was using academics as a vehicle to direct the family. What the children learn and in what manner will determine much of what they become. High standards are important but they can also become an idol that will distract from God's purposes. Harvard is a nice place but heaven is where we're aiming.

We are always being purned. There is never a point at which the process ends and we become the "perfect family". God is continually remininding me of my role in the family. But when I give in and obey what is right the results are always better than I could imagine or achieve on my own.

A final story.
During the Christmas holiday season a few years ago I had made a list of things to do to get ready for Christmas Day. As I set out the Saturday before Christmas to work through my list, God prompted me to ask Steve if he needed my help. He had decided to wash the floors and carpets that day. Not a favorite job of mine, so I was glad to see him doing it. Grateful for my help, he asked if I would go to the store and buy a few more scrub brushes. It was the busiest shopping day of the year, and going out was the last thing I wanted to do! I had already made my list of things to accomplish. How were they ever going to get done?

A part of me wished I had never asked. But I went. And what should have been a 30 minute trip took nearly 2 hours. When I got back home, he asked if I would mind helping him scrub for a while. "Why no honey, of course not." (I was thinking something totally different!) So I had to once again set aside my plans. At this point everyone was in on the action. What child doesn't love bubbles and a chance to make a floor soaking wet in the middle of winter? I began to relax a little and enjoy the moment.

As we were scrubbing, my eight year old daughter Katie came up and whispered, "Momma, do you know what? We have a happy home".

"Yes sweetie, we do." I replied. "And I wouldn't trade places with anyone."

WARNING

Think twice about putting pictures of your children online. It's not something I do very often. BlestwithSons and Sal are both sharing about this danger. It's may not be a good idea. Blogger David Boles explains why. It's definitely worth reading and considering if you blog about your children.

My husband's appointment was cancelled for tonight so I had absolutely no time to blog. For those waiting for my final post in my series From Honeymoons to Happy Homes, I should be able to finish it in the morning.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

From Honeymoons to Happy Homes (3)

This is a series on our marriage testimony. Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 2b .

Giving up control of certain areas would have been easy even desirable. But God didn't ask me to give up control over what to have for dinner or whether or not to do laundry. It was homeschooling that God was after. Steve and I were both convicted to homeschool. But all the decisions about HOW to homeschool were mine. I had not intended to leave my husband out. Steve was busy with school and then his new career and I spent my time reading and studying how I wanted to go about teaching the children. It was through the reading and the conferences that I had developed an image of what the "perfect" homeschool family was like. And that image was becoming more than God intended. It was becoming my idol.

It was spring and all school was set aside. It was fairly easy to do really. I was nearly done with most of the projects and the weather was warming up. So we spent most of our days enjoying the Michigan sunshine and relaxing. By mid summer I was getting a little uneasy. I wanted to go to a few curriculum fairs and order some things from catalogs for the fall. Should I go ahead? Steve didn't say anything about them. I waited. A small dent in the idol.

Fall began with the usual chatter from friends about school and what their families were doing. I just listened and hoped nobody asked what we were doing. Because quite frankly I didn't really know. And I was growing concerned that Steve didn't either. Or so I thought. The few friends I had already told about what God was doing looked at me with odd stares. I decided to just be quiet and wait. Another dent.

By early Decemeber I was running out of patience. How long was I going to wait? God couldn't, wouldn't, shouldnt' make me wait this long. A whole 6 months. And what about the children. They seemed to be doing fine. They were learning but not in ways I had planned. I confronted my husband. Just what are you thinking I asked. He calmly said, "God told you to wait. Please be patient." A big crack.

When his father asked him about what was going on Steve replied firmly, "Dad, you raised your children the best way you thought, now give me the chance to do the same." Steve had a boldness in his voice that I had not seen before. I admired and respected him and I continued to wait. A few more cracks.

Around January he set a time for us to talk about things to do for the new year. Yippee! Progress. The man was finally moving forward. ! I got out the catalogs and made a list of all the things I wanted to do. I didn't even get the chance. He told me that we were going to remodel the basement. Yeah, right! I was thinking Latin grammar and he was thinking manual labor. This is not what I thought was going to happen. But this was no longer just about me and what I wanted. Did I really think that it ever was?

We finished the basement by late spring and I can say by that time not just the basement had been remodeled. God had slowly remodeled our family. And somewhere along the route my son's anger was hardly apparent. When did that change? Why did that change? I think I know the answer but never would have guessed it the year before.

Steve was also becoming a much different man. He had a new confidence and a renewed vision. Along with remodeling the basement we also received a Civil War Diary from his great great grandfather. It was all encoded. He spent many nights with the boys breaking the code. That is how my son Joshua learned to read and how both my boys learned to really love their dad. The false image of my family that I had created in my mind did not compare to the priceless image God was creating.

Soon, my husband was talking about quitting corporate life and starting a home business. Was this the same man? Thankfully no. But I was no longer the same wife either. He even got me to go camping. And not just modern camping. Civil war camping. Complete with corsets, campfires, and cast iron. So much for my vacations at the Hilton. But I was loving it. And the way God were shaping our family. Eighteen months later, the idol was shattered.


Part Four the final post in this series.
Final post

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

From Honeymoons to Happy Homes (2b)

This is a follow-up to Part 2 of my marriage testimony. Part 1 is here.

I don't want to leave the impression that Steve was lacking in joy or that our marriage was in a state of total disaster. Neither was true. Our marriage had become one of habits born out of necessity (Steve's schooling) that continued out of complacency. We were comfortable in our current state even if it wasn't the ideal. (Hey, and when you're in control why question things too much!) I suspect that if things were allowed to continue as they were we would have drifted apart. Living parallel lives in the the same household.

But looking back, I can see God desired something more. Something better. Something only He himself can know and bring about. He wanted a heavenly marriage in much the same way that a gifted runner dreams of an Olympic gold.

I must make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish HIS goal. Just like many athletes, I could stay at "amatuer level" and be content or work hard and endure the costs and the prize. I realized I wanted an Olympic marriage. And the first part of the training required me to humble myself, wait for God and his appointed "coach", to give the next directive. And that's not an easy thing for someone who's used to being in charge to do!

Go to Part 3

From Honeymoons to Happy Homes (2)

This is the second part of my marriage testimony. For part one click here.

Our pastor was teaching a series on the Ten Commandments. He was up to the third commandment "Thou shall not make any graven images" The sermon the sermon was about idols and how God desires our whole heart. I listened and took a few notes but I can't say that I was moved to any notable actions. At least not that morning.

The next day, I pulled out my sermon notes. I reread them and looked up the scripture reference. After a few minutes, I offered up a half hearted prayer. "Lord, if I have any idols please reveal them and break them. Amen." I didn't really believe that I did. But God thought otherwise.

God revealed to me that morning in a way that only God can. I had an idol. It was a big one and God wanted to shatter it.

My image of my family. Gulp!

My family had become an idol to me. It was true. I didn't want to believe it but truth is truth whether we want to believe it or not. What was I supposed to do now? The only thing I knew to do. Seek forgiveness from a holy God and know that when we confess he is faithful to forgive. So I did. But what next? I also realized that the fruit of this sin was creating situations in the home that were not right.

I was leading my home.
I was stealing from Steve the joy of raising his children.
I was to wait upon his direction about how things are to be for our homeschooling and our family.

Gulp! Gulp! Double gulp! I was to go to Steve and let him in on what God had shown me. Now, going to God was one thing. But how do you tell your husband this and ask forgiveness? Steve's a great guy but what did he know that I didn't about how to raise a family. After all, I was the one who read all the child training books. Besides, wasn't this partly his fault too! And what did any of this have to do with my son's anger problem anyway?

I pondered all of this for a few days. I slowly convinced myself that it wasn't as bad as I thought. The children were doing fine for the most part. Steve would forgive me and probably say that I'm doing a great job. Don't be too hard on yourself. All is well! Good job honey and all that.

He didn't say any of that. He looked at me, forgave me, and then said, "Well, if that's what God is showing you then I better pray." That's it. He was going to pray. And what was I supposed to do?

God said to wait for his Steve's direction. Wait. But for how long?

Got to Part 2b

Monday, July 11, 2005

From Honeymoons to Happy Homes

"Honey, what are you doing?" I inquired of my new husband shortly after our honeymoon.

"Making the bed." He replied matter of factly.

"But I just made it a few minutes ago."

"Yeah, but there was a crease from the mattress pad that was bugging me and I wanted to fix it. But instead of complaining about how you did. I thought I would just fix it myself."

Clearly, the honeymoon hadn't ended. I had one terrific husband and I wanted to do everything I could to keep the honeymoon going. I thanked him profusely and we went on with our day.

A few years went by and we settled into a normal pattern of life. Our habits were sensible and our marriage was a happy one. Our first child had arrived and my husband began to attend night school at U of M to earn an MBA.

Our sensible home life was displaced by study groups and late night term papers. Slowly, I began to take on more and more of life's daily decisions. My husband was busy with his schooling and working full time. My keeping an organized home was necessary to maintain order and allow Steve the time required to complete his studies. We lived in campus housing so I shared my time with other mothers in a similar situation. It was a difficult time but not totally unpleasant.

We began the MBA program with one six month old and left with three children under three. When the graduation day arrived a party was thrown for both of us and I received gifts as well. We both worked hard to allow Steve time to study and my efforts were recognized by our family and friends. We were just glad it was over and we could move on with our lives.

Steve accept a job with GMAC finace and I was pregnant with our fourth child. Kristin was fast approaching "school age". I was still in the habit of making family decisions. Unfortunately, that didn't change with graduation. I had read many books and attended a few conferences by this time so I was ready to begin homeschooling.

The early school years went very well. We also purchased our first home and the children seemed to be developing well. I now had five children seven and under and life was busy but fun. Gradually, as the years went on I noticed a few subtle changes in the children. My son, who was about 6, seemed to get a little angrier than normal. He seemed frustrated. But about what, I did not know.

I began to pray and ask God to show me the source of this change. And prayed that HE would provide a solution to "my son's problem". Little did I understand the impact that prayer would have on me and my family...........

........Part 2

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Thanks to Beloved Books

Thanks to Heather at Beloved Books for sharing my article on Youth Group with her audience at Christianhomeschooling.US. The website is to designed to encourage homeschooling families. I was honored to be included in the list of some pretty impressive writers including Cindy Rushton. I hope you check it out.

Also, Heather is offering a camp for families here in MI in August called FIRE 2005.

It sure looks tempting. They have lined up excellent speakers at an awesome campground. The price is affordable too! So if you're looking for a fun family vacation of inspiration this may be your adventure.

(This is very close to our house but unfortunately we are not able to attend this year. But if you decide to go let us know. We may be able to get up there for the day.)

This computer is mysteriously working today and so I'm breaking my no Sunday rule to take advantage of the good fortune.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Lost some links

I'm still in the process of updating my template and in the process I lost some of my links. I am still deciding how to do the links but if you click on the red box on the right and you don't see your link please let me know. Also, if you would like to be added to the blogroll let me know.

Saturday Night 7/9: We're having major computer issues here at Spunky's so I'm still around but just not able to get blog very much.

16 Mistakes Moms Make

One of my favorite new responsibilities at Homeschoolblogger is to pick a blogger of the week, from their portal site. The winner receives a great prize and a chance to be featured in my articles in the print magazine.

This week's winner, Cindy Downes at Empty Nest Mom is a "Titus 2" blogger. While reading her blog I thought this post was outstanding, The 16 Mistakes Homeschool Moms Make. All the points are excellent with a special highlight on mistake number two.

They are not in agreement with their husband. Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" If your husband is not in agreement, ask God to speak to him. In the meantime, keep quiet. God will convict him if that is what He wants you to do. There may be a reason why you should wait that only God knows. Only when you are both in agreement, should you homeschool.

I think this is sound advice not just to begin homeschooling but even as you continue to educate. So many times we can get ahead of our husbands and then get frustrated when "he's not leading". Or the situation with this mom who is struggling with the direction her husband is taking. Take the time to read Cindy's post and glean the wisdom of a woman who has perservered in homeschooling and has finished well.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Online Chat tonight with my hubby and me

Hope you can join us for a chat on "Faith, Family, and Finances". Tonight at 9PM EDT.

We usually spend our nights out on a walk chatting together but I'm looking forward to sharing this time with all of you. Steve has a wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics and me well....let's just say I have alot of opinions on a variety of topics so it should be a fun time. Hope you can join us!

You do not have to have a blog at homeschool blogger to join the chat. But you must be registered. You can register by clicking on the link
live chat at the top of the portal page.

The time of the chat is at 9PM EDT. Hope you can make it!

Husbands, wives, and working together

I received a call the other night from a good friend. She wanted to know what I would do? Here's the situation:

The mom had just given birth to the second child 6 months ago. Their other child is 6 years old. After the birth, of the first child the mom returned to work part time in the late evening. She worked until the birth of the second child. Now that the baby is 6 months old, the husband would like her to go back to work The wife is not as convinced that this is the best idea. The hours are late in the evening and she would arrive home in the middle of the night. She is also homeschooling the older child with Abeka Curriculum. She understands the commitment to homeschool and the time it takes to run a household. The husband thinks that because she was able to manage it all the first time around things will go okay. She already feels more drained with two children and worries that the burden of working will make their family life more difficult. Sleep will be the first area to suffer and then with a lack of sleep we all know how stressful even the simplest tasks can become.

Here's what I told her.

Pray and seek God for guidance and wisdom. Both for her attitude and about how to approach her husband about the situation. Opening her heart to do what is pleasing to the Lord.

I would affirm my husband as much as possible. Letting him know that I want to do what is best for the family and follow his leading in all areas.

When the time seemed appropriate, I would ask her husband to sit down and work out a schedule. On the schedule I would have the day all parceled out into hour increments. Together, I would ask him to help her make it work. Make a list of all the things that need to be done during the week and any specific things that need to be done on a given day. After the list is made, I would begin to write in the logicial times to do these activities. As they work through the priorities, write down the the activities in the boxes on the schedule.

This accomplishes a few things,

  • It shows a willingness on the wife to make things work.
  • It allows both the husband and wife to work together to make it work.
  • It allows the husband and wife to understand the demands on each other during the day and hopefully the best way to accomplish them.
  • If the husband decides based on the schedule that working is not possible it will be his decision.
  • It will allow the husband to take responsiblity for the direction of the family.

The outcome of this schedule may be difficult for the wife to accept. The husband may see that the wife does have too many responsibilities and therefore returning to work would be deterimental. Or he may decide that it could she should go back to work. In either case, the wife should accept the decision. This is the difficult part for most of us. But the marriage is the priority.

What if the husband won't meet to make the schedule? I would still approach things the same way. But when he decides not to meet you are left to make it work on your own. I would make up the schedule on my own putting work in there since that is what he directed. And begin to follow the schedule as best as possible.

Does anyone have anymore helpful advice for this mom?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Pardon the dust!

If things are looking a little wierd around here it's because I'm updating my template. Still Thinking is doing a great job on my site. Jake and Alex are a team of homeschool kids who do great work. I highly recommend them if you need template help.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Finances and the family

If your wondering how to teach your children about money and finances listen today as my husband Steve talks to Lynda at Homeschool Talk Radio about that very topic. Financial Discipleship: Training you to train your children. Enjoy!

The Youth Group Question

This is my response to JenIG question about youth group.

Our church youth group is having a sleepover / lock in tonight. Can we go? Kristin asked me last Friday night.

"Absolutely!" I replied.

"Yeah, the Braun youth group is having a lock in. Everybody go to bed!" Jason shouted.

That conversation just took place in our home! We don't participate in youth group. Our family is our youth group.

When our children were young, they stayed with us during the church service. When someone asked my husband "why?" he stated,

"I'm not keeping them out of the sanctuary for the first 18 years and then praying for the next 18 that they come back in. I'm letting them participate from the beginning."

That has been our attitude all along. Children do not need a special place to go unique to themselves on Sunday or any other day. And as our children have gotten older that included youth group. Our decsion did not just factor in what the youth group might do to our children but what our children might do to youth group (my children are not perfect!), or the youth pastor's attitudes towards us. We also examined the purpose of youth groups and the effect on our children.

Youth group mixes two distinct efforts. Evangelism and discipleship. They are two totally different ideas. Evangelism assumes that the children are in need of a Savior. Discipleship involves teaching one who already recognizes their need for a Savior and desires to grow in their faith. To mix them together creates a dilemma for the pastor and the youth group. Who is saved and who is not? How do you teach them? Wrong assumptions (especially among the youth) creates friendships that are hazardous. Bad company corrupts good morals. (1 Cor 15:33) Also, he who walks with the wise becomes wiser still but the companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20)

Youth group creates a dilemma for the father. As my children have discovered from the conversation above, God designed the family as the unit to for the foundation for society and that includes the church. I have seen many youth tire of family life and desire to be with their friends. The heart of the child should be to do the will of their father. Most youth groups do not encourage that type of thinking. The father is usually not even involved in the process. Unfortuantely, most churches don't exhort the father to lead so they have to "fill the gap" with youth group and youth pastor. This becomes a vicious cycle for the heart of the child. A youth group designed to "help" actually becomes a hinderance to biblical restoration in the family.

There is no such thing in the bible as the teen years. Scripture says, "When I was a child I spoke as a child but when I begame a man I put childish things away." (1 Cor 13:11) Scripturally, we move from child to adulthood. There was no pergatory called the teen years to "find yourself". Our culture has created this period and the church has bought right into it. Interestingly, I was speaking with my Muslim neighbor (he's from Lebanon) and in their culture the youth are looked at far differently than they are here. The youth are considered men and workers to contribute to the family's well being. He was amazed at how coddled the teens are here for no apparent reason.

Youth group is self-focused. People tell me they go on missions trips and do outreaches but those are occassional trips. The weekly meeting is centered around the youth. Their "unique" needs make it necessary to separate them from the general congregation to address them specifically. But what is so unique about the teenage years that is any more unique than any other time in life? (Now a momma with 6 children at 40 that's unique! Maybe I need my own group too!) And the idea of youth group is to make it "fun" so they will want to come back.

Girls were made to blush. Most youth groups mix the guys and gals together. This should not be. Our culture actively breaks down the barrier between men and women. And most marriages today are suffering the effects of this. Relationships should be fostered between our young people in an environment of guidance from mom and dad. But youth group removes that requirement and the youth are free to form friendships and beyond without parental guidance and protection.

Brother and sister relationships are hindered. And along those same lines, brother/sister relationships are also worn down. One wise mother told me that be careful what you let the older ones participate in because the younger are watching and imitating. If the older have "fun" activities designed just for them, the younger will want their own. And soon life becomes a rush to the next activity with no time for the building family relationships.

Evangelism and ministry is happening. My family does ministry and outreach. The assumption made by many when we tell them we don't participate in youth is that my children are being "sheltered" from life. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don't need to go into all the ways in which this happening but we are called to be a witness where we are. That is the attitude my children have adopted as well. The church is designed to train the believer to do the work of the ministry. Not the ministry that does all the work for the believer. (See Ephesians 4)

That's in a nutshell our thinking toward youth groups. It is not based on fear of what the youth group might do to my children.

Sally Carkston said in a conference I attended, "In the absence of biblical conviction you will go the way of culture."

It is incumbent upon every mom and dad to study the scripture and decide for themselves the reasoning for any activity they allow their children to participate in including youth group.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

No, I'm not going to quit blogging

I received a few e-mails asking if I was going to give up my blog. The answer is no. As I told Ron I only have a virus, it's not a fatal disease. But with the computer down, I'll have to learn to manage things differently.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

A Blog Virus

Our computer with dial up service caught a virus Thursday night. That meant we were down to one computer with DSL and one with nothing at all. Since my husband works from home as a financial planner and has started a blog at Homeschoolblogger his work is the priority. That means my computer time will be more limited for a while.

Yesterday, I had to finish the
Blogger of the Week for homeschoolblogger, so I went to a coffee shop that also has internet. After sending off the post I went home. I found my mind constantly wondering about my blog all day. And I was getting a little mad at myself for not being able to concentrate on anything else. What did I ever think about before I started blogging? I realized that the computer isn't the only one with a virus.

I think I've coming down with a bad case of the blogs.

As the day went on I was a little more focused. We went to the library and I was able to check my e-mail for a few minutes. But then it was off to help the children find their books and head home for supper. My hubby is having dinner tonight with my dad so I took the children for a swim. I found myself more relaxed at the pool. I sat out with Elaina while the other children splashed and played. What a joy to just sit and watch them!

Blogging is alot of fun. But I didn't realize how much it has a hold on my thought life. I realize some of this might be because homeschool blogger is just getting started and I am involved in the process somewhat. But I don't want blogging to be the center of my life! That place is reserved for Christ alone. He should control my thought life.

So I am thankful that my computer has a virus. Hopefully, by the time the computer is cured I will be too! Please pray for a quick healing!

Friday, July 01, 2005

You can't take God out

Reading the story yesterday about the student who failed a paper because she wouldn't take God out of her text reminded me of my own experiences back in college.

I went to the University of Michigan in 1981. I became a Christian shortly after I arrived my freshman year. When I was a senior, I took a class in Sociology. It was a requirement I somehow missed in my early days. I was the only upper classman in a among about 50 freshman. It was a pretty uneventful class until toward the end of the semester. The professor started to talk about "religion" and free will. He lectured us for about 30 minutes on why there was no such thing as free will. Most of the class sat there feverishly taking notes. My temperature was rising but it wasn't from taking notes.

He concluded his lecture with the question, "So, does anyone still think they have a free will?"

He was met by blank stares from most, a few shakes of the head, and one hand that went up. Mine.

"Yes, I have free will." I stated emphatically.

"Oh, really. And what young lady do you have the free will to do?" He said, looking down at me.

"I can worship God any where I choose." (The class groaned.)

"I coud make it illegal and put you in jail." (The class squirmed.)

"Yes, but I can still worship God in jail."

"I could cut out your tongue." (The class stared at me.)

"Yes, but I can still worship with my mind."

"I can have you killed." (The class was silent.)

"You haven't solved a thing, I will now be in heaven worshipping my creator eternally."

At this point, a friend interrupted the discussion and said to the professor, don't argue with her you're never going to win.

The flustered professor looked at his watch, muttered something about having to get going and dismissed class early. Intimidtion only works for those who are not convinced of their own beliefs.

I passed the class.