Sunday, December 27, 2009

wild things - reading list

here is a list of books that the authors of "Wild Things: The Art of Nuturing Boys" suggest for further reading:

Frank Pittman “Fathers and Sons” Psychology Today Sept/oct 1993

The Best Old Movies for Families: A guide to Watching Together by: Ty Burr

“The Way of the Wild Heart” And “Wild at Heart” by Eldredge

By Gurian: “Boys and girls learn differently!”, “The good son”, “The wonder of boys”, “The minds of boys”

“Raising Cain” By: Kindlon and Thompson

“Raising a modern-day knight: a father’s role in guiding his son to authentic manhood” By: Lewis

“Last child in the woods” By: Louv

“Real boys: rescuing our sons from the myths of boyhood” By: Pollack

“Adam’s return: 5 promises of male initiation” By: Rohr

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a few quotes from francis bacon

"They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea."

"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."

"He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other."

"Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New."

"Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism, but larger amounts bring us back to God."

- Francis Bacon

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wright's OT vs. it's environment

G.E. Wright wrote a comparitive religions book for the period of time in which the Old Testament was written. He answers the question, "What was so unique about the OT during that time?"
I've boiled the book down into an easy-to-read quick reference chart for anyone interested in a cliff notes version of the book.
Transcendent God
Moral and fair God
God made and controls nature
One God
God acts in linear history
The Godhead is essentially sexless, no word in Hebrew for goddess
Prohibition of images of God
God and humans have a special personal relationship
Social justice
God dislikes and disagrees with evil
“Heros” of OT faith are described as being flawed, while these men may be God’s messengers- they are in no way like God
Free will, faith is the ultimate religious achievement
Sin, repentance, forgiveness
No oaths in God’s name
Festivals are for remembrance of historical events
Sacrifices are for our sake
Separate offices for king and priest
Prophecy and fulfillment Wise sayings
Salvation by faith

Contemporary Religions
gods limited to shrine, mountain, etc.
gods unfair, immoral, capricious.
gods are nature, storm-god, etc.
Thousands of gods
Cyclical experiences
Always male and complimentary female goddesses.
Idols, shrines
Everything in nature relates together in a natural way
emphasized Survival of the fittest
If someone is suffering, the gods are punishing them
Heros are unflawed, powerful, full of glory, able even to trick gods – full of renown, often considered as good as gods
Sympathetic magic rituals, manipulating the gods is the greatest religious achievement
Oracles, dreams, omens
Oaths were a huge part of daily life
festivals are for preserving harmony between people and gods
Sacrifices are for the sake of the gods, to appease or even “feed” them
King was the religious leader
Uncertainty about the next life, works.

true spirituality - schaeffer

“When God turns inward to Himself, he is a Trinity, but when when we turn inward, there is no one there to answer…This not only causes psychological problems, but it also destroys my relationship with others. “People without God… hang too much on their personal relationships, and they crush and break.
No love affair between a man and a woman has ever been great enough to hang everything on. It will crumble away under your feet…”“If I acknowledge that I am really not God, and that since the fall we are all sinful, then I can have true human relationships without battering myself to pieces because they are not sufficient in themselves, or because they are not perfect.” Shaeffer, TS 344, 345

Friday, December 18, 2009

Challenge Group - Isaiah 7-12

Chapters 7-12 of Isaiah are set in a time of war, when the people and even the king were terrified. King Ahaz failed to trust God, and is spoken of poorly in the Bible. In this section, Isaiah tells the people that they do not need to fear this current threat, but he brings up a time when things will be much worse for them because of their lack of repentance. He also sprinkles in the message of hope in the future that God will bring about, mentioning the birth of Immanuel and the peace that the remnant will enjoy someday.

1. Historical Backdrop
a. This section is set during the Syro-Ephraimite War (735-732b.c.e.)
b. Rather than trusting God, Ahaz looked to the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser the 3rd for help. 2 Kings 16:2-9
c. Tiglath-Pileser the 3rd conquered Damascus and dispersed the Aramaens in 732 b.c.e.
d. 10 years later, the northern tribes rebelled again, and were also dispersed into Assyria (722 b.c.e.) Samaria was destroyed in 721 b.c.e.
e. In 701b.c.e., when Hezekiah was king, Sennacherib of Assyria laid siege to Jerusalem. Hezekiah initially trusted in Egypt, but eventually repented and trusted God for their deliverance. When this happened, the Assyrian army was destroyed.
f. Isaiah lived past the date of Sennacherib’s death in 681 b.c.e.. Then, it is believed that he was put in a hollow log and sawed in half for his belief.
2. Summary of the Section
a. In chapters 7 and 8, God comforts the faltering and terrified people by telling them that Ephraim and the Aramaens are not going to succeed. He also makes reference to “Immanuel”, a child born of a virgin.
b. In the first part of chapter 9, God assures the people that the other strong nations of the day are not going to last – but Israel will be restored to glory at the end of the age. Here he brings up “Immanuel” again, saying that a child will be born who is called “Mighty God”.
c. 9:12-10:15 warns the people of Judea about a siege that will come about because the people are unrepentant in their failure to trust God. In 9:20 he predicts that the siege will be so bad that people will eat the flesh off their own arms and hands and still feel hungry.
d. 10:20-11 discuss the faithful remnant who do the exact opposite of what the unrepentant people in 9 do. He encourages them that the mighty nations of this day will be cut down, and a branch of Jesse (Christ) will spring up and make things better in the future. This section descibes the Millenial Kingdom in cool detail (i.e. a child playing by a viper's den, lions eating hay, etc..)
e. Chapter 12 focuses on how God is our salvation. We should trust Him and not be afraid.
3. A Closer Look at the themes
“Immanuel” will be born
Other strong nations will not last, but Israel will
Most are Unrepentant, but a Remnant will Trust God and His Wisdom
Do Not Be Afraid
More about Fear-- Prov. 3:25-26, Ps. 112:7-8a
-- Fear comes from an inappropriate view of God.(Rm. 8:15, Heb. 13:5-6, 1 Jn. 3:21-22.) Fear and faith are often brought up together as opposing attitudes.
-- We are used to relying on ourselves or other people. We need to be re-trained.
-- It is only as we abandon ourselves to the care of God that we will no longer be self-reliant and autonomous. It is only as we rid ourselves of alternate safety nets (plan bs) that we will no longer be double-minded. We need to learn from the mistakes of Ahaz and the people who "feared what everyone fears rather than fearing God" and who depended on self and others instead of God.
-- If we want a dynamic life, we need to stop worrying about our safety.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

wild things part 3

The Heart of a Boy
This final section of the book is divided up into 4 chapters: Nurturing a Boy’s Heart, A Boy and his Mother, A Boy and his Father, and Rituals, Ceremonies, and Rites of Passage. The book then ends with a few pages on hot-button topics such as: sex, drugs, porno, ADD, etc..
Near the beginning of this section, they say,
“No guy makes it past seventeen or eighteen without receiving his fair share of dings to his manhood – and that’s if he’s lucky. By the time most guys get their driver’s license, they have already experienced enough emotional and spiritual fender benders that their hearts are dented for years to come…When a guy’s heart has been wounded, the results are significant: Self-protection, distrust of others, suspicion of God, and fervent reliance on the four horsemen of self-sufficiency: training, talent, intellect, and willpower.”
But, they also paint a picture of how hard it can be to relate to a boy – esp. at certain stages. For example, boys can go through a stage of being inarticulate, hardheaded, annoyed, defensive. But, we as parents need to try to break the emotional code and show unconditional love. They suggest different ways to see him for who he is, “name” him (or use positive/loving nicknames to reinforce to him the positive aspects of his identity), and patiently draw him out – being willing to pick your battles when it comes to making a big emotional push. Something big and overwhelming can’t happen all the time, otherwise it will become commonplace and ignorable.
Tips for this section include:
1. Read about him
2. Meet him on his turf.
3. Practice curiosity. Have a jar of questions that you read and ask at the dinner table or at a special brunch.
4. Tell tales about yourself sometimes, esp. to show an example of emotions.
5. Catch him off-guard. Surprise him with a visit to his room and an encouragement.
6. Require him to use his words. Don’t let him off the hook with the whole, “boys will be boys” line of thinking.
7. Show physical affection.
8. Teach him to manage his emotions. Have him think through different options (for example, I could go shoot some hoops if I’m feeling mad, then when I’m not as angry I could talk to my parents or friends or write in a journal)

A Boy and his Mother
“Remember what we said earlier about a mom being the safest place on earth for a boy? Unfortunately, this safety has a downside. It’s called the ‘rubber band phenomenon’. Because a boy feels so safe with mom, he instinctively believes she will never abandon him – no matter what he says or does. Therefore, he starts to believe he can push against his mom emotionally and stretch her out as far as he wants, because she’ll always bounce right back to being that same place of safety. He will be his most tender and his most punishing with her. (As we said before, a mom gets her son’s best and worst).”
James and Thomas outline the 3 biggest mistakes for a mother to make as the following:
1. Being a man-hater. Displaying negative views of masculinity either in how she treats her spouse, comments, or how she reacts to her son. They suggest doing some deep work of counseling and prayer if this deep heart issue is to be resolved for the sake of a son.
2. Being a mother hen. While this is appropriate at a young age, carrying on this over-protective and controlling style into the older ages is really not appropriate.
3. Being too bonded. The extreme of this mistake would be emotional incest. But even the more innocent actions like not respecting privacy, role-reversal (going to a son with personal problems and asking for advice), not approving of any girlfriends, etc. are also damaging. Sons need to become independent in order for individuation to occur.
Tips for moms:
1. Soak it up while he’s young – take a lot of pictures and videos.
2. Don’t panic. Wear a rubber band on your wrist if you need reminding that this is just the rubber band phase.
3. Keep your son’s confidence and honor his privacy.
4. Kidnap him.
5. Be unpredictable.
6. Remember, it’s not about you.
7. Check your heart for negative masculine stereotypes/ bitterness.
8. Stay available to him.
9. Set aside a weekend a year for a mother/son getaway.
10. Respect him.

A Boy and his Father
The authors quote a pretty sad and harsh article from Psychology Today: “For a couple hundred years now, each generation of fathers has passed on less and less to his sons – not just less power, but less wisdom. And less love. We finally reached a point where many fathers were largely irrelevant in the lives of their sons.” After giving a brief history of fatherhood, they continue with some suggestions on how to pass something on as a father. They start with suggesting that a father spend time thinking about the answer to the question: “Where did I learn what it means to be a man?” They believe that thinking through the cultural ideas of “manhood” and their probable own father’s neglect of them, as well as which positive role models they’ve had will be helpful in their journey toward being a powerful father.
They also give some of the following suggestions and tips:
1. Don’t just talk. Do things together.
2. Because all boys struggle with the question, “Do I have what it takes?” – Become a champion and a fan of your son in genuine ways.
3. Impart wisdom like Yoda – especially spiritual wisdom. Boys cannot see Christianity as just a feminine thing.
4. Pass on a legacy.
5. Don’t go it alone – find a community of men to chill with you and your son.
6. Reach out often. This may feel uncomfortable, but it is what a son needs.
7. Have a ritual – especially if it involves something a mother wouldn’t love i.e. pocketknife, shooting range, rock-climbing, camping, surprise taking him out of school, etc..
8. Have some of your son’s friends over for a grill out. Boys like to learn about masculinity in a pack.

Rituals, Ceremonies, and Rites of Passage
In this section, the authors discuss doing a few special events with sons to teach them a deep lesson. I can’t really divulge any information about this – it’s supposed to be creative and mysterious…

Saturday, December 12, 2009

wild things part 2

The Mind of a Boy
The first part of this section reviews what a boy's mind is like physiologically, and the theoretical implications of that. It basically puts forth that boys are typically spatial, problem-solving, and may struggle in the schoolroom environment for various reasons. It was interesting, but that subject is explored in much better detail in other books, such as "How to Organize for Your Child's Brain Type".
The next part describes some common mistakes that parents make with sons. They are:
1. Confinement (vs. redirection and open space)
2. Verbal or Emotional Flooding
3. Sparring
4. Rescuing (i.e. telling a teacher not to punish him, etc.)
5. Squelching (i.e. telling your son not to do a creative project, etc.)
6. Shaming
7. Guilt-Tripping
8. Sabotage (unrealistic expectations)

They continue to give some tips on helping to develop a boy's mind:
- Cut out the energy drinks
- Create ways for him to excercise
- Limit TV and video games
- Make sure he gets enough sleep
- Teach him about his emotions
- Read. Read. Read.
- Give yourself a report card - be realistic about yourself as a parent. Ask your friends and/or a spouse for input in this area so that you're not too hard on yourself or to soft.
- Create opportunities for him to use his gifts = games or toys that require problem-solving or spatial skills, imagination, etc..
- Pick his brain
- Plan family movie nights and take turns picking the movie and then talk about it after.
- Volunteer at his school and model service in the community

In the next part, they talk about different learning styles. Then they discuss some of the principles from the popular new book "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Cline and Fay. Cline and Fay use military analogies to speak to parenting extremes - "helicopter parents" (parents who hover) and "drill sergeants" (parents who are overly strict).
They close with a section describing the unconvetional things that may teach boys big life lessons - namely: struggle, regret, duty, incompetence, and community.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wild Things - the Art of Nuturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas

I've read a bunch of parenting books - but, I must say that this one is one of my faves. When I read it, I don't feel like I'm wasting my time with a bunch of fluff. There are great sections on practical areas such as developmental stages, learning, relationships, discipline and more. The book is big - 340 pages - but it is well worth reading all the way through.
The book is divided into 3 sections: The Way of a Boy, The Mind of Boy, and The Heart of a Boy. I'll review each section seperately over the next few days.

Section One: The Way of a Boy
In this section, James and Thomas describe the different developmental stages that a boy goes through. And they give helpful tips for parents at the end of each description.

Age 2-4 The Explorer-They are very active
-They are aggressive and show love through things like wrestling. Tantrums can happen during this stage - which is often a way to communicate a desire like, "I'm hungry" or "I'm tired".
-They are curious and like to learn by doing+touching (kinesthetically).
-They are self-determined, and need some space to do things independantly.
-They need boundaries and re-direction rather than blanket statements. For example, instead of saying, "Stop hitting." - say, "It's not ok to hit your sister, but if you have some extra energy why don't you see how many times you can climb up and down the stairs in 2 minutes."
-They crave and do well in open space.
-They have a short attention span and tend to be internally unstructured - so they thrive in an externally consistent environment. A routined, ritualed schedule is a good thing at this age.
-They need understanding and unconditional love - just like all people need.
1. Don't confuse him. Set realistic boundaries.
2. Limit his choices.
3. Anticipate changes and announce transisitions in the daily routine.
4. Set a few straightforward rules that everyone can follow consistently.
5. Demonstrate how you would like hime to behave.
6. Have your discipline make sense.
7. Give him space to roam.
8. Model self-control in your words and actions.
9. Keep it short and simple.
10. Praise him like crazy when he does something right.

Age 5-8 The Lover- They are Tender and kind-hearted in this stage. There is a heightened emotional sensitivity; but it can come out in strange ways. There is often a know-it-all or fearful element to the emotional output that is streaming out during this phase.
- They tend to be much more obedient during this time.
- They have a big attachment to dad at this stage.
- They are very competitive.
- They need reprieve, relationship, routine, and regulation
1. Give him lots of love and affection.
2. Reward his good behavior.
3. Get him involved.
4. Focus him outward.
5. Help him with hygiene.
6. Take him to the movies.
7. Encourage his imagination.
8. Take him camping.
9. Plan family game nights.
10. Read "Parenting with Love and Logic"

Age 9-12 The Individual
- They are beginning to look deeply at growing up.
- They are experiencing big shifts in brain and body.
- They like to branch out some and break some rules to gain a feeling of power.
- They tend to do a lot of criticizing.
- They need supervision.
- They respond well to information and straight-shooting.
- They need involvment and positive outlets (i.e. frisbee, paintball, camping, rock climbing, etc..)
1. Be intentional with summers.
2. Keep the dialogue going.
3. Engage with him.
4. Enlist his doctor's help.
5. Get ready for an uncomfortable talk.
6. Make him read a book before he sees the movie.
7. Don't follow the crowd.
8. Keep him active.
9. Watch and discuss "A Christmas Story" together.
10. Fasten your seatbelt - there are some changes that can knock you down.

Age 13-17 The Wanderer- There is physiological chaos at this stage.
- They can tend toward arrogance.
- They will hopefully complete the process of individuation (forming his own distinct sense of self). They may go through several phases - goth, jock, pot-smoker, etc..
- They tend to be very argumentative.
- During this stage, he needs other good voices in his life (Not just you!)
- They need outlets still, and understanding.
- They need boundaries, and need you to survive the testing they will do your relationship.
1. Call your parents and apologize for what you put them through.
2. Enter his world.
3. Commiserate with him.
4. Don't panic.
5. Partner with another family.
6. Affirm your son as much as you can.
7. Feed him.
8. Suggest that he get a job.
9. Make regular dates with him.
10. Talk with him about dating and romance.

Age 18-22 The Warrior
- They figure out the life-responsibility things like college, job, living situation, friends, etc..
- They are reflective and searching for purpose.
- They can expereince ambivalent attitudes toward different areas of life.
- They need guidance and support from their parents still; but mostly they need freedom.
- They need their parents to be patient with them and give them our blessings.
- They need mentors.
1. Don't squash his dreams, even if they are impractical in your opinion.
2. Let him make mistakes and overload.
3. Recover the basics.
4. Welcome his girlfriends with open arms.
5. Do your homework. Know about movies and books he appreciates so you can talk about them.
6. Initiate him.
7. Get him off the sofa.
8. Remember, he's not 12 anymore.
9. Keep your door open.
10. Remember who is king of the castle. It's ok to keep some boundaries about what happens "under your roof".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I just read an interesting article forwarded to me by my dad called, "The Inverse Power of Praise". It was interesting to think about whether our innocent and nurturing comments, such as: "you're so smart!" might actually have a negative effect in children down the road.
The article suggested praising attributes that children have control over (i.e. "You work so hard") as an alternative to "you're so smart". In several case studies in a NewYork school system this sort of praise/nuture developed better things in the children than the children who were told they just had an innate gift. Dr. Carol Dweck says, " 'I am smart', the kids’ reasoning goes; 'I don’t need to put out effort'. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts. "

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Some verses about Heaven

1. The Landscape of Heaven
-Rev. 21:2, 21:9-21 There will be a new Jerusalem
-Rev. 21:25 The gates of the new Jerusalem will never be shut
-Rev. 22:1 There will be a river with the water of life
-Rev. 22:2 There will be a tree of life with different fruits, and
healing leaves
-Lk. 21:33 God’s Word will be there
-Heb. 9:24 The OT forms are copies of heavenly things
-2 Cor. 12:2 It is unspeakable

2. Old things will pass away
-Rev. 21:1 The first heaven and earth will pass away
-Rev. 21:1 There will no longer be any sea
-Rev. 21:4 There will no longer be any death, mourning, crying,
or pain
-Rev. 21:4 The old order of things will pass away
-Rev. 21:5 God will make everything new!
-Rev. 21:22 There will no longer be any temple, because God
will dwell among us
-Rev. 21:23 There will no longer be any sun or moon, because
God will be our light
-Rev. 21:25 There will no longer be any night or fears
-Rev. 21:27 There will no longer be any impurity, shame, or
-Rev. 22:3 There will no longer be any curse
-Heb. 12:26-29 Shakable created things will be shaken away,
but we receive an unshakable kingdom
-Mt. 22:29-30 There will no longer be institutions like marriage
-Rm.8:20-22 The creation will be liberated from all corruption
-1 Cor. 13:8-12 Partial knowledge and dim seeing will be done
away with; we will fully know and be fully known

3. We will be with God
-Rev. 21:3 God will live with us
-1 Cor. 15:24-28 Everything will be subject to God
-Rev. 22:3 We will serve the enthroned God
-Rev. 22:4 We will see God
-Rev. 22:4 God’s name will be on our foreheads
-Rev. 3:21 We will sit with God
-2 Thess. 2:16 God will give us eternal comfort

4. We will be with others
-Rev. 21:24 The nations will live there – diversity
-Rev. 21:24 The kings will live there in splendor
-Rev. 22:5 We will reign in heaven
-Mt. 8:11 We will spend time with ancient heroes like Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob
-Isa. 60:18-22 Even the smallest and loneliest person will be
part of a mighty clan and nation in heaven
-1 Cor. 6:3 We will judge angels – interacting and settling
disputes or questions

5. We will be rewarded
-Rev. 22:12 We will be rewarded in heaven
-1 Pet. 1:4 Our inheritance in haven will never perish, spoil, or
-1 Pet. 1:7 Our faith result in praise, glory, and honor
-Mt. 18:1-4 The humble will be great in heaven
-Lk. 18:18 Sacrifices that we make in this life for God will be
paid back many-fold in heaven
-Jn. 6:27 Work we do for God endures into heaven

6. Our salvation will be realized and experienced
-Rev. 21:4 God will wipe away every tear
-Rev. 21:6 We will drink from the water of life and quench our
-Isa. 60:18-22 All of us will be righteous
-1 Pet. 1:5, 9 Our salvation will be revealed
-1 Cor. 15:35-58 We will have new bodies full of splendor and
-2 Cor. 5:1-4 We groan, naked, awaiting our heavenly clothes
-Rev. 2:17 We will be given hidden manna
-Rev. 2:17 God will give us a secret name written on a white
-Rev. 2:28 We will receive “the morning star”?
-Rev. 3:5 We will be clothed in white
-Rm. 8:23-25 We will realize and experience our adoption as
sons and daughters of God
-Rm. 8:23-25 Our bodies will be redeemed
-1 Cor. 13:8-12 We will know fully and be fully known
-Titus 2:13-14 We will be purified and redeemed from every evil
-1 Pet. 1:13 Grace will be revealed
-Rm. 5:21 Grace will reign, just as sin reigns now

7. Promises about Heaven
-JN 6:40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
If we put our faith in Christ, God will raise us up and give
us eternal life
-Jn. 10:26-28 Once we have a relationship with God, we will
never perish and nothing can snatch us out of God’s hand
-Titus 1:2 God promises eternal life from ages ago, and God
cannot lie

REV 22:6-7 “And he said to me, “ These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.
“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.””

REV 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

death by suburb challenge group

Sphere Challenge Group ’09-‘10
Death by Suburb and the Media Monster: How to Keep Some Quiet in Our Loud Lives

1. Intro = “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9NLT). Our Lord never promises that anything will be easy. He promises only His presence and power, and that is always enough.” – Campbell, How to Really Parent Your Child
2. The Media Monster
3. The Empty Self
a. Inordinately Individualistic
b. Infantile
c. Narcissistic
d. Passive
e. Sensate(mediated by electronic images)
f. Has Lost the Art of Developing an Interior Life
g. Hurried and Busy
4. Casting out the Empty Self
a. Admit the Problem
b. Choose to be Different
c. Change Your Routine
d. Develop Patience and Endurance
e. Develop a Good Vocabulary
f. Set Some Study Goals
5. 5 Groups of Wise Virtues
a. Truth-seeking, Honesty, Wisdom
b. Faith and Hope
c. Humility, Open-mindedness, Self-criticality, Nondefensiveness
d. Ardor, Vigilance, Fortitude
e. Fidelity to God and dedication to His cause as one’s chief end
6. Death By Suburb
1. The Problem: Worldliness

a. Environmental Effect:
“The space around us – the physical organization of neighborhoods, roads, yards, houses, and apartments – sets up living patterns that condition our behavior.” –Kenneth Jackson “Crabgrass Frontier”
b. Envy/ Coveting (p.8-9)
c. Self-Love
d. Busy and Chaotic Life (p.168-169 – read)(p.197-198 – read)
e. “Immortality Symbols”
“An immortality symbol is not really about the thing. It’s not about baseball. It’s not really about my child. It’s about the glory that the thing bestows on me.” P.42
-what we call idolatry, identity
f. “Shirkers”
“Shirkers are religious folk who inadvertently disengage from the suffering of the world and who unwittingly collect to themselves every available religious experience.” P.100
“The flow of Shirker Religion is all one direction: toward me” p.112
g. Utilitarian “Transactional” Friendships
“Intimacy is the one thing in…church that everyone craves but few seem to have. You can’t use relationships as a means to position yourself in life and then also expect to experience in them the kind of friendship that sweetens life and takes the edge off its hard parts.” P.154
h. Utilitarian “Transactional” Relationship with God
-Quid Pro Quo

Discussion: How does our environment effect us negatively?

2. Some Spiritual Solutions: 8 spiritual practices to counteract our environmental toxins
a. #1 Inside Space

- Contemplating the Supernatural
- Prayer, Sabbath, and Solitude p.26,28,33
- Listening to God
“becoming still…And to stop the scheming inside my head.” P.32
- Gradual vs. Instant
“It’s not easy to sit and trust that in solitude God will speak to you – not as a magical voice but that He will let you know something gradually over the years (Nouwen)” p.32
b. #2 The Journey Through Self
- “This purification process…is not a journey into my own inwardness, it is a journey through myself, to emerge from the deepest level into the place He is, the point at which God and I meet.(Bloom)” p.44
- Jn. 3:30
- Recognizing and Combating Self-Love
“Self…the inner voice that suggests you live for yourself. The voice of self-love is even more powerful than the voice of the serpent. (Fenelon) p.49-50
“The biggest problem in any church I attend is my love of self.” P.140
“Is this continual resistance [to God] due to the fact that He has not given you what you want in a way that will flatter your ego? (Fenelon)” p.179-180
- Needing God
“the presence of Jesus would be found not in met needs but in unmet expectations and perceived need…the end of myself.” P.192
c. #3 Loving the Unlovely
- Counteracting Coveting
- Change the direction of our gaze
“Instead of riveting my gaze on the possessions of others economically above me, I do an about-face. I turn to face the person whom I perceive to have less than I…opening ourselves up to people in and with whom God seems to be most active.” P.72
“There must be something about beholding the Holy within that pushes you back to the street.” P.46
- “Mortality Symbols” p.48-50,p.190, 198-199
d. #4 Remembering Laughter / Having grace in difficult times
- “Remembering Laughter” story
- Making peace with our allotment of suffering (p.83)
- The difference between bitter old woman and happy old woman (p.90)
- Suffering = the enemy of self-love
“It’s good to learn early enough that suffering and God are not a contradiction but rather a unity, for the idea that God Himself is suffering is one that has always been one of the most convincing teachings of Christianity. I think God is nearer to suffering than happiness, and to find God in this way gives peace and rest and a strong and courageous heart (Bonhoeffer)” p.94-95
e. #5 Pursuing action/ Obedience
- Shirking vs. Obedience
f. #6 Staying put in Your Community“Only in relationships that permit no bailing out can certain forms of spiritual development occur. Marriage is one. Church is another.” P.140
“Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we’re fortunate with ourselves…only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all it’s unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it.” -Bonhoeffer
g. #7 Finding and Keeping Good Friends“there is always a little humility on the part of each toward the others; with all my friends, I feel lucky to be counted as one.(C.S.Lewis)” “[Friendship] heightens the joys of prosperity and mitigates the sorrows of adversity by dividing and sharing them.(Aelred)” p.162
“In friendship I can say I have felt the grace of God.” P.166
(Lk. 24:13-34)
h. #8 Pursuing Time“There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord…spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time (Heschel)” p.176
“Christian contemplation begins at the point where the meaning of the swiftly flowing surface of earthly events is broken to reveal their relation to heaven (Hans Urs von Balthasar)” p.190
3. His conclusion: Mending“Entropy is nowhere more at work than in one’s spiritual energy and good intentions…Mending must be an ongoing continual activity. Entrance into the deeper spiritual life is by way of obedience in the small things…mending one’s life, making small adjustments on a regular basis to avoid the speed and clutter of modern living.” P.184

martha mccallum challenge group teaching on parenting

Sphere Challenge Group ’09-‘10
A Christian Home - Martha McCallum

1.Evangelism Starts in the Home
a.When God is our first love, we have no problem loving others.
b.Be filled with the Spirit, so that when you talk to your family you have
spiritual power and authority.
a.Pray this to God: “God, let there be an end to my trying. I’m helpless before
You.” – Murray (Absolute Surrender)
b.Chambers said, “The right to ourselves is the only gift we have to give to
God.” Because everything else we have was given to us, and isn’t ours to give.
a.Our hospitality will bring a life of abundance
b.God keeps open house for the universe.
c.Kids are a part of the mission we have. Also, our children take part in our
calling because they are part of the family.
d.An open house takes a lot of time and patience.
a.View our whole lives as sold out to God – Don’t compartmentalize.
b.Don’t separate your home-life from the rest of the world; that makes children
more selfish. “Domestic transplants” vs. taking your kids out into the world
with you.
c.Don’t be afraid to hurt your kids feelings by having an event at your house.
d.Don’t make the kosmos the center of your life or the center of your child’s
life. Don’t be engrossed.
5.Education and Community
a.Education is an important value.
b.Enjoy being a part of your community
c.Instead of saying “no” to the watching world, balance it out with the love of
d.Be sure you show your children how enjoyable Christ is – He is more important
than worldly temporal things.
a.Share your Christian burdens and insights with your kids.
b.Share the woes of the spiritual battle, Satan’s attacks, etc..
c.Share feelings.
d.Allow kids to be a part of what you go through, Be open. It’s ok to show them
that we as parents can mis-read things and make mistakes.
7.Teach Stewardship
a.Be positive. Encourage your children.
b.Tell your kids how God has gifted them, and that those things come from God.
c.A stewardship is something used for God’s kingdom. Show children how they
might be used.
d.Show them a lofty vision. “God expects a lot out of you. What will you do with
all the gifts God has given you?”
e.Our attitude toward money should be godly; we shouldn’t love money or cling to
it/ worry about it all the time.
f.We should be generous and giving
g.Parents can become lustful for money and security and transfer that lust to
their children.
h.Don’t be afraid to challenge your kids
8.How to Handle Children’s Sins
a.Fighting, defiance, lazy, peer pressure, disobedience, whining, selfishness,
bad sportsmanship, rebellious, stubborn
b.Be honest with your kids. Maybe even say, “You got that from me.”
c.Be realistic. All are sinful and deserving of hell. But God loves and saves
us – and that’s why we give our lives to Him.
d.Paint a vision for how the defects they have could be used in a positive way.
e.Let them know that lying is futile. Your sins will find you out.
f.Give examples of how you changed through the years.
g.The biggest mistake to make here = ignoring sins, “protecting” them from other
kids and authorities, pretending.
h.Another mistake = nit-picking
i.Stick to moral issues, and be positive in discipline.
j.Wait, do not lose your temper. But if you do, apologize.
a.Train them to be godly and effective
b.Teach them about leadership, being unselfish, and outward-focused.
c.Show them that a life with God is the most exciting life there is.
d.Lead in good, not in evil.
e.Have good friends and pray together as prayer partners.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Starting a blog

So, today I am starting a new blog. A few friends suggested I try this. I am hoping to share some info on read books, papers, etc.. But I am pretty new to this - so it may take me a while before this blog becomes awesome...Much thanks for your patience.