Halloween v. Reformation

October 31, 2012

Halloween and Reformation Day, a secular and a religious holiday, exist uncomfortably side-by-side on the calendar. Here are 9 things you should know about the October 31 holidays.

1. The word Halloween was first used in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All Hallows’ Even (‘evening’), the night before All Hallows’ Day.

2. Reformation Day celebrates Martin Luther’s nailing his ninety-five theses to the church door Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517.

3. The Puritans maintained strong opposition to Halloween and it was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that it was brought to North America. (s)

4. While the historical date for the observance of Reformation is October 31st, most churches celebrate it on the last Sunday in October.

5. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans in the mid-1800’s began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. (s)

6. Luther was not yet a “Protestant” when he posted the ninety-five theses. The theses were not particularly radical, and key Lutheran doctrines, such as justification by grace through faith alone, were not included. (s)

7. There has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger’s Halloween candy. (s)

8. The only country in which Reformation Day is a national holiday is Chile. (Though it is called Día Nacional de las Iglesias Evangélicas y Protestantes — National Day of the Evangelical and Protestant Churches.) (s)

9. Risqué costumes were not pervasive in America until right around Gerald Ford’s presidency, when homosexual communities in the United States adopted Halloween as an occasion for revealing, over-the-top attire. (s)

Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator.

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Star Wars Lives On!

October 31, 2012

BREAKING…. Disney has just confirmed that it has agreed to acquire George Lucas‘ Lucasfilm Ltd, and that includes rights to the Star Wars franchise that will now continue on. The companies have targeted a 2015 release for Star Wars: Episode 7, with Episode 8 and Episode 9 to follow as the the long-term plan is to release a new feature every two or three years. “The last Star Wars movie release was 2005’s Revenge Of The Sith – and we believe there’s substantial pent-up demand”, Disney said. The deal also includes rights to the Indiana Jones franchise.
The stock and cash transaction is worth an estimated $4.05 billion, and the companies have scheduled a conference call in a half-hour to discuss the deal, which was approved by the Disney board and Lucas, the sole Lucasfilm shareholder. (UPDATE: Disney’s Iger: Three New ‘Star Wars’ Movies Mapped Out; TV Plans Too)
As for the new Star Wars installments, the companies said Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy would be executive producer on Episode 7 and any additional Star Wars movies, and Lucas would serve as creative consultant. There was no indication about where the story would pick up, though technically in the franchise’s chronology it would follow Star Wars: Episode 6 — Return Of The Jedi, the third film in the initial trilogy that came out in 1983.
Related: George Lucas On ‘Star Wars’ And Disney: Video
As part of the deal, Kennedy will become president of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Kennedy, who was made Lucasfilm co-chairman June 1 as heir apparent to Lucas, will also serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, whose feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date. That doesn’t take into account the franchise’s massive merchandising clout that Disney CFO Jay Rasulo said will generate in 2012 close to the $215 million in consumer product revenue Marvel had when Disney bought that comics business in 2009.
Disney has built its business under chairman and CEO Bob Iger around such major acquisitions as Marvel, Pixar, ABC and ESPN.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” Iger said in a release announcing the deal. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
Disney is paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing based on Disney’s stock price on October 26. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm chairman and founder Lucas.
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said Lucas. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
Lucasfilm’s businesses include live-action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio postproduction. Disney also acquires the technologies from the San Francisco-based company, which operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light + Magic, and Skywalker Sound.

My Grandpa

October 26, 2012

Spending the last moments with my grandpa was a sweet and memorable time. We shared plenty of smiles, laughs, and tears together as he’s ready to meet his Maker and Saviour.

As his mind and body begin to shut down, he was able to articulate his faith in Christ, his Saviour and Redeemer.

I will always remember him as a sweet and gentle grandfather who received so many compliments from strangers about how adorable he was, who confused waitresses when they asked, “What can I get you to drink?” and he would reply, “Whatever.” (They couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t commit to telling them what he wanted to drink so he was brought ‘whatever’), who constantly gave me Gevalia coffee, who answered the phone and responded to the question, “So, what are you up to grandpa?” with, “Oh, I’m about 5’6″ or so.”, and who would always end our conversation with, “Carry on!”

I was extremely blessed to have known him for so long, even though I didn’t have a deeper relationship with him.

As I sat in the rocking chair next to him, while he laid comfortably in bed, I couldn’t help thinking that, if the Lord allows me, to have a lengthy life like his and to be at peace about leaving this earthly realm. I was was so encouraged.

As our time began to come to an end, knowing that this wasn’t a permanent separation, he told me that he loved me and he was very proud of me. (I didn’t break down and cry in front of him, but as I write this I’m balling my eyes out–I think that it’s all just hitting me now.). As he said those extremely meaningful words, he closed his eyes (I mean his one good eye) and I said I loved him and then I closed the door allowing him to rest.

During my time with him, I was able to read him a passage from the Bible in which he was so grateful and pleased to know that he is counted as a servant in the Lord’s ‘boy scouts’ forever.

Revelation 22:3-5
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”

I look forward to reuniting with him one day in the presence of the Lord, where the both of us will worship together forever and ever.

Gratefully His-

Politics

October 25, 2012

When it comes to engaging culture, many Christians think exclusively of political activism. I fully agree that Christians need to be involved in the political process; as I’ve argued so far, Christians are to bring the standards of God’s Word to bear on every cultural sphere, politics included.

But political activism isn’t the only thing—definitely not the main thing—God had in mind when he issued the cultural mandate to mankind. Nor is politics a particularly strategic arena for cultural renewal, as theologian Vern Poythress writes:

Bible-believing Christians have not achieved much in politics because they have not devoted themselves to the larger arena of cultural conflict. Politics mostly follows culture rather than leading it. . . . A temporary victory in the voting booth does not reverse a downward moral trend driven by cultural gatekeepers in news media, entertainment, art, and education. Politics is not a cure-all.

After decades of political activism on the part of evangelical Christians, we’re beginning to understand that the dynamics of cultural change differ radically from political mobilization. Even political insiders recognize that years of political effort on behalf of evangelical Christians have generated little cultural gain. In a recent article entitled “Religious Right, R.I.P.,” columnist Cal Thomas, himself an evangelical Christian, wrote, “Thirty years of trying to use government to stop abortion, preserve opposite-sex marriage, improve television and movie content and transform culture into the conservative Evangelical image has failed.” American culture continues its steep moral and cultural decline into hedonism and materialism. Why? As Richard John Neuhaus observes, “Christianity in America is not challenging the ‘habits of the heart’ and ‘habits of the mind’ that dominate American culture.”

For a long time now I’ve been convinced that what happens in New York (finance), Hollywood (entertainment), Silicon Valley (technology), and Miami (fashion) has a far greater impact on how our culture thinks about reality than what happens in Washington, DC (politics). It’s super important for us to understand that politics are reflective, not directive. That is, the political arena is the place where policies are made which reflect the values of our culture—the habits of heart and mind—that are being shaped by these other, more strategic arenas. As the Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher said, “Let me write the songs of a nation; I don’t care who writes its laws.”

-Tullian

TSA

October 25, 2012

Where do you stand?

A woman who stood up to TSA screeners and refused to allow them to grope her or her 14 year old daughter has been found guilty of “disorderly conduct” and sentenced to one year of probation by a court in Tennessee.

Back in July 2011, Andrea Fornella Abbott of Clarksville, was arrested by Nashville airport authorities for expressing outrage at the TSA procedures.

A police report stated that Abbott would not allow her daughter to be “touched inappropriately” or have her “crotch grabbed”. Abbott also refused to submit to a full body scan, saying that she did not want her or her daughters’ naked bodies revealed by the scanner.

The report noted that she attempted to take cell phone video of the incident but was prevented from doing so by the TSA screeners.

When police were called to the scene, Abbott reportedly cursed at them and referred to the TSA screeners as pedophiles, leading to her arrest.

The Associated Press reports that the prosecution argued that Abbott’s behavior “prevented others from carrying out their lawful activities,” and held up two security lines for thirty minutes.

“You can speak your mind, but you can’t do it in an illegal manner,’ said Assistant District Attorney Megan King, adding “What the defendant did was a crime.”

The defense argued that Abbot was exercising her right to free speech. “Telling a police officer your opinion, even in strong language, to me that’s a First Amendment right,” Abbot’s attorney Brent Horst told reporters.

Abbott herself admitted that she may have cursed at police officers, but considered the exchange to be a “normal conversation” regarding the inappropriate nature of pat-downs on children.

Horst presented surveillance video of the incident, and claimed that Abbot was the one being yelled at by police. Although the video had no audio, it showed that other passengers were walking around Abbot and the police officers, and that security lines were still moving.

“It’s clear from the video … she wasn’t preventing anything,” Horst said. In closing arguments the attorney stated “Since 9/11, we’re losing a lot of freedom, and we have to draw the line somewhere,” before praising Abbot for standing on principle.

As we have documented, people who opt out of body scanners or those who simply fail to display the proper level of obedience to TSA screeners are routinely subjected to punishment by means of invasive grope downs or other forms of retaliation.

Journalists who are critical of the TSA have also been singled out for retribution.

The TSA is also operating bizarre obedience training programs, including the ridiculous “all stop” policy where travelers are ordered to freeze on the spot for no reason whatsoever. Again, the TSA has admitted that travelers are not mandated to comply with these bizarre displays of security theater.

The TSA has characterized people who do not fully comply with airport screening procedures, no matter how bizarre or invasive, as “domestic extremists.”

The verdict in Andrea Fornella Abbott’s case sets a dangerous precedent along the lines of First amendment rights not being applicable at security checkpoints. The verdict essentially paves the way for criminally punishing anyone who questions TSA procedures, no matter how bizarre they are.

The Shove

October 17, 2012

Mark Taylor (no relation, except first in Adam and now in Christ) is president of Tyndale House Publishers in Carol Stream, IL. He recently wrote in World Magazine about the penalties the federal government is seeking to impose on Tyndale in violation of their freedom of religion and right to act in accord with their biblically informed conscience:

My parents founded Tyndale House Publishers 50 years ago as a Christian publishing company. From the very beginning we have published Bibles, and we also publish a wide range of other Christian books. Our corporate purpose is “to minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles.”

I’ve always thought—in a theoretical way—that I might someday face a situation where the government was asking or telling me to do something that was counter to God’s law as I understood it. If such a situation arose, I hoped I would have the backbone to stand tall and disobey the government mandate. Well, that day seems to have come.

Later in the piece he enumerates the costs to his company:

The HHS mandate became effective for Tyndale House on Oct. 1. If we did not comply, we would be subject to fines of up to $100 per day per employee. We have 260 employees, so the fines could be $26,000 per day. That’s $780,000 per month, and $9.36 million per year—all because our moral and religious compass says that it is wrong for us to provide abortifacient substances or devices under our employee health plan. The federal government is telling us to violate our conscience or pay fines that would put us out of business.

You can read the whole thing here.

Prayers against this ruling, it seems to me, are appropriate, in line with 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” The HHS mandate prevents Christian companies from fulfilling their vocations in godly ways that respect human life and dignity, therefore we should pray that God would move in the hearts of those in high positions so that the government would fulfill its primary calling: the practice and promotion of justice.

Christian Artists

October 17, 2012

Here is an article sent to me by Mark Rodgers of the Clapham Group. See what you think.

Bono Asks “Can Christian Artists Ring True?”

Posted on February 18th, 2011 in Featured by Clapham Group

Randall Wallace, one of our nation’s best storytellers (screenwriter for Braveheart), spoke the truth this last month at the National Prayer Breakfast. He reminded us that who we are is shaped by our parents, our culture and our choices. But at the same time, the truth is this: we are created by a loving God who, when we turn to Him, can help us become the person He created us to be. To overcome our failures and our frailty. To find blessing in suffering. And to bless others in theirs.

One person at my table earnestly said “I didn’t know he was a Christian writer.” I winced. Did my guest see Wallace’s We Were Soldiers, play his Titan Quest or tune in to his Dark Angel? I know what he meant, but Randall is more than he meant. Randall is what God created him to be. A truth-teller, no matter how hard the truth is to tell.

The conversation reminded me of one I had years ago with the singer Bono. It’s a topic this legendary artist has explored with others as well. In preparation for a meeting with contemporary Christian music (CCM) artists to talk about global AIDS, he wrote me a note: “If the truth sets us free and it does … Why aren’t Christian singers allowed to ring true?” What Bono meant, of course, is that the Church often stifles the creativity and voice of an artist to conform to its own sense of propriety and (in our American context) “family friendly” fare.

Later at the meeting, Bono remarked to the group that they probably couldn’t put Song of Solomon (one of only two books of the Bible which does not reference God) to song and sell it in a Christian bookstore. Why? Not enough Jesus’ per minute. Too sensual. Not “on message.” But as the Dutch theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which, Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ”

If this is true, why aren’t some Christian artists allowed to speak to the whole of the human experience? To all of creation? As he usually does, C. S. Lewis put it succinctly when he wrote “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects – with their Christianity latent.”

We need more stories and songs that “tell the truth,” as Walker Percy wrote in Signposts in a Strange Land, especially about the human condition. True stories that transform lives and societies. More Uncle Tom’s Cabins and less “little books about Christianity.”

Last weekend we had dinner with several seasoned as well as some emerging artists before going to hear The Civil Wars perform, who have been at the top of ITunes for the past several weeks. The duo’s lead singer, Joy Williams, was at one time categorized as a CCM artist. When they performed at an event we hosted recently, one person remarked how diverse the material was, despite the fact of Joy having been a “Christian artist.” Again, I bristled. Perhaps she was true to her calling then, and is just as true to her calling now. What is most important, though, is that she is true to who God created her to be.

Joy Williams and The Civil Wars rang true. Randall Wallace spoke the truth. Bono told the truth. Sadly, some “Christian artists” aren’t always allowed to tell the “whole” truth. Only some of the truth.

Till All Can Ring True,

Mark Rodgers

Marriage

October 16, 2012

Introduction
CJ tells how he met his wife, Carolyn. They’ve been married for 37 years. It’s all of grace.
And it’s been 37 years of effort or work. The effort is grace-motivated and rooted in the gospel. But it’s effort. This kind of intentional effort can make all the difference.
This is not a sermon; it doesn’t explain a text of Scripture. It’s entirely about application. CJ’s assignment was to draw from his experience and share certain practices that have served him well over the decades in his marriage. “This is about some of what I would say to you if I met with you at Starbucks.”
CJ is speaking primarily to husbands, especially young ones.
Here are three ways that husbands can nourish and cherish their wives (particularly in the context of ministry).

But first:

Qualification 1: There are many other ways to do this. CJ is not implying that you must conform to his practices. You should custom-design your own. But you should have some practices.

Qualification 2: CJ doesn’t want to overwhelm you. He is drawing from 37 years of marriage.

Qualification 3: We do this in the shadow of the cross. We have hope in our hearts because of the gospel.

1. Care for her soul.
George Müller wrote, “I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.” How can you be a means for helping your wife’s soul be “happy in the Lord,” particularly when you have small children?

CJ cared for the children in the morning for a period of time so that Carolyn could have an unhurried devotional time and get ready for the day. This service at the outset of her day made all the difference in the rest of her day.
CJ sought to help Carolyn with her spiritual diet. When the children were young, he shared books that emphasized objective spiritual truth. He wanted her to look outside her soul at Calvary and preach the gospel to herself. He didn’t want her to engage in unnecessary endless introspection. Nor did he want her to read books that simply reminded her of what she wasn’t able to do during that season of life and paralyze her with guilt each day.
CJ sought to weekly give half of his day off to Carolyn. They tweaked this over the years given their seasons of life. When their children were small, CJ gave Carolyn three to five hours of unhurried time to read, reflect, shop, whatever; but it was a fixed time that she anticipated and benefited from on a weekly basis.
CJ wanted Carolyn to have a monthly time with her girlfriends.
CJ arranged for Carolyn to have a 24-to-36-hour retreat twice a year. These served her soul big-time. And when you plan in advance, the event can work itself back from the future and affect your soul in the present; you not only benefit from the event when it arrives, but in advance as well. And if you execute it well, you benefit after the event, too. One of Carolyn’s retreats typically occurred after Christmas; that was serving her soul in October as she anticipated it. And this made a difference in CJ’s soul as well because it was at least a twice-yearly reminder of how difficult her role and responsibility was! His kids would say, “Dad, we don’t normally go to bed at 4:30!” CJ learned that Carolyn’s role was not only more important but more difficult. A husband should not whine about how difficult his job is. “Our wives should be the object of our affection and appreciation on a daily basis for the way they sacrifice and heroically serve.”
CJ protected Carolyn re her involvement in the church. Your wife is not the associate pastor. Help her identify her gifts and her capacity, and protect her from discouragement when her responsibilities in the home (e.g., when you have multiple small children) mean that she can be only minimally involved in the church. She is vulnerable to discouragement, so protect her. She can easily feel that what she is doing is insignificant compared to all that’s happening in the church. Be aware of her world. Encourage her that what she is doing is more important and difficult. “The most effective way you serve this church is by your personal example as my wife and the mother of our children.” There are limitations on her because of this season of life, but the most effective way she can serve the church is to flourish as a wife and mother.

2. Cultivate consistent communication.
Your wife wants to talk. Your wife needs to talk. Your wife wants to talk to you. Are you making time for talking? If you don’t set aside time for talking, it normally doesn’t happen spontaneously.
I am an advocate of a weekly date night, and this is informed by 37 years of rarely missing our weekly date night. Over the years we have derived a disproportional benefit from that weekly investment of time. Setting aside one evening a week has made a massive difference in cultivating our relationship and romance.
Carolyn says, “I can wait to talk if I know there will be a time to talk.” So it serves her to know that there will be a consistent time to communicate in an unhurried, distraction-free way when the husband is fully present. Our wives need this.
What’s your plan? What’s your practice? You don’t have to emulate my example of a date night. What’s your alternative? Is there a weekly block of time when this kind of unhurried and undistracted communication can take place?
I know there are challenges involved (e.g., finding someone to care for the kids), but they are not insurmountable.
You need to take an interest in her world and draw her out about her world.
You need to tell her about your world. You may want to forget about your world, but your wife wants to be informed about your world. She is praying for you and can counsel you. It is a form of selfishness not to tell her about your world.
You need to tell her not just about your world but about your heart.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have spontaneous communication. But CJ has found that if there are not fixed times for communication, the spontaneous times are a rarity.
Carolyn said in passing to CJ, “A woman is more eager to make love to a husband who is eager to communicate.”
You can’t deepen your relationship with your wife without this time.
Guys are built differently. They think that closeness is the result of just doing something together. That’s how we roll. I can go to a game with someone and come back and say to someone, “Yeah, we’re close.” Well, if you examined a transcript of the conversation that took place prior to the game, during the game, and after the game, it’d be clear that nothing substantive took place. That was an evening of completely superficial interaction—when there was interaction (there were long periods of no interaction). “Yet you are going to argue that you are close friends?” “Oh, yeah. One of my closest.” That’s not how your wife rolls. You wife actually believes that you do need to communicate in order to be close and that it isn’t sufficient just to do something together; it’s critical that you communicate with each other.
You need to relate to each other, not just relax together. There is a place for relaxing together. But if your times together are primarily about relaxing and not relating, then you should be concerned.

3. Create romantic memories.
Husbands, it is our privilege and responsibility to romance our wives.
Too often romance becomes a casualty of pastoral ministry. But it does not have to be. With the husband’s intentional, informed leadership, romance can be a deepening and growing reality and not a distant memory.
I would include a weekly date night in the romance category as well.
Date night is not something we don’t plan. We don’t go out with no forethought or preparation. No, it is my privilege and responsibility to create a memory with my wife.
This is informed by studying your wife. You need to know by studying her what would be romantic for her. I can assume that what I think of as romance she thinks of as romance, that what I think of as a surprise she thinks of as a surprise. Carolyn has no athletic background or interest in sports whatsoever, so if I say, “Surprise! Two tickets to the Redskins game!” that’s not going to land on her soul like it would on mine. Too often early in our marriage, I tried to bring her into my world instead of studying her. But I discovered what she likes about restaurants and the diversity of food she enjoys eating; she loves the city of Washington D.C.; she loves musicals (I grew up in a blue-collar family where it was about sports; I don’t recall anyone ever referencing a musical, and they probably would have been ridiculed had they referenced a musical). What joy it brings me to plan these dates, inform Carolyn of them, and experience the effect of them on her soul. I’m reluctant to share those examples because your wife may be completely different. She might not prefer a musical, or she may enjoy sports. The point is that you need to study your wife and know how she defines romance so that you can craft a date that serves you in the realms of both communication and romance.
I’m sharing from 37 years of experience. I don’t want any husbands to be paralyzed by guilt. But I do want you to be inspired to do something. When is the last time you planned and executed a romantic memory for your wife? If it’s been longer than a month or two, it’s been too long. You’ve got work to do. You’ve got something to look forward to.
If you don’t know what to do, study her and ask her.

Conclusion
Here is a simple weekly practice that makes quite a difference in our marriage. I’ve been doing this for many years, normally on Monday morning at a Starbucks:

I think about my roles as husband, father, grandfather, and how I serve in Sovereign Grace.
I think about these categories in relation to those roles: (1) How can I serve? (2) How can I surprise?
What are the most important ways I can serve Carolyn this week?
How can I surprise Carolyn this week? I always like Carolyn living aware that I am planning a surprise.
This is a simple practice that takes 15-30 minutes. That little time has birthed so many ideas that have made a significant difference in our marriage, and it has protected us from being overextended in ministry. It helps me devote my life to what is most important. If I don’t prioritize and plan, the urgent will overwhelm and overtake the important every day of my life. Every day there will be more demands made on my life then I can possibly fulfill; I must so No to a certain number of people each day. It’s inevitable that I will disappoint certain people. And if I don’t enter each day clear on what is most important, understanding my theologically informed roles and goals, then I am vulnerable to all manner of urgent requests. But I can say, for example, “Will that be taking place on Wednesday night? No, I can’t do that because Wednesday night is date night.” Unless it’s an emergency, I protect that time. I fight for that time. And because it’s preplanned, it’s less difficult to say No.
So what do you do? You don’t have to do what I do. But you need to be doing something.
Husbands, without exception there was a time when it was obvious to everyone whom you were uniquely passionate about. You couldn’t stop thinking about her or stop talking about her and with her. You were always spending time with her and spent serious money on her. Is it still obvious? Ask her, “Do you feel more like a mother than a wife?” The most effective mothers are the most cared-for and romanced wives.
Related:

C. J. Mahaney, Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004).
Mike Bullmore, “Watch Your Planning: The Strategic Role of Personal Retreats”
An Edifying Vision of Marriage

Non-Negotiables

October 16, 2012

Seek God, not sin.
Fear God, not man.
Love God, not the world.
Believe God, not the deceiver.
Obey God, not your appetites.
Serve God, not self.
Worship God, not comfort.

Wasteful Spending

October 16, 2012

This gov’t is soooooo wasteful. This is seriously getting out of hand.

What do robotic squirrels, menus for Martian meals and a musical about climate change have in common?

They’ve all been made possible with taxpayer assistance, according to the latest survey of government waste put out by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Known simply as the Waste Book, the report is a watchlist of eye-opening expenditures, which Coburn blames on a “let them eat caviar” attitude in Washington — at a time when “23 million of our fellow Americans do not have good jobs,” Coburn notes.

Here are some highlights:

– Though skeptics say there’s no such thing as a free cellphone or service funded by the federal government, Coburn’s report shows otherwise. It estimates that taxpayers are subsidizing phone service at a cost of nearly $1.5 billion a year. Though the roots of the program can be traced back to an effort in the 1930s to make sure all Americans had access to telecommunications, it has morphed into program that provided free cell service to some 16,500,000 participants last year.

– Though NASA has no plans or budget for any manned spaceflights to Mars, the agency spends about $1 million each year on developing “the Mars menu.” It’s an effort to come up with a variety of food that humans could eat one day on Mars.

– A $325,000 grant for the development of “Robosquirrel” – a robotic rodent designed to test the interaction between rattlesnakes and squirrels.

– An estimated $70 million loss for producing pennies. According to the Waste Book, “The cost to produce a penny in 2012 is more than two times its actual value.” After the pennies are manufactured and sold at face value, taxpayers are left to cover the loss.

– The report spotlights widespread abuse of the food stamp system – including an exotic dancer who earned more than $85,000 a year in tips, but also collected nearly $1,000 a month in food stamps while spending $9,000 during that time period on “cosmetic enhancements.”

– Nearly $700,000 from the National Science Foundation to a New York-based theater company so it could develop a musical about climate change and biodiversity. “The Great Immensity” opened in Kansas City this year. Along with the songs one reviewer described as sounding like “a Wikipedia entry set to music,” the audience was also able to experience “flying monkey poop.”

In all, the 2012 Waste Book report details 100 examples totaling nearly $19 billion. Coburn acknowledges that’s a drop in the bucket in contrast to the overall federal deficit, which tops $16 trillion, but he says the items are snapshots of the bigger problem.

“Would you agree with Washington that these represent national priorities, or would you conclude these reflect the out-of-touch and out-of-control spending threatening to bankrupt of nation’s future?” he said.