16 May, 2006

Divorce: The Church

Does anyone else find it annoying to check comments on my multi-thousand word posts, especially when I write them back to back to back? I sure do.

My apologies.

Maybe this post will be short. Relatively short? It could happen - really, it could. :-)

But it didn't. Sorry.

---

Matt 13
The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'
28 " 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
29 " 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

I think this passage holds mountains of significance. There are several little points hidden in its compact story that it seems most people miss. For our purposes, though, I think we can limit ourselves to the obvious.

The saved and the unsaved grow in really close proximity to each other. They are both in the same churches. The very servants of God cannot be trusted to remove the unsaved from among us until the end of the age. And yet, we expect hormone impaired children to reject really attractive weeds and pick wheat every time.

Are you wondering why the Christian divorce rate is the same as the world's?

I see 2 causes. 1) We're just human, and products of our society, and 2) we marry people who are not as well and truly converted as they seem to be.

(Some of you will believe that those people were saved, and then fell away. OK. I have no need to argue that here. That interpretation works just as well for my purposes. The parable teaches that the wheat were wheat from the day they were planted, and the weeds were weeds from the day they were planted. So, while it might mean either, I will go with the theory that they were never saved. Just mentally substitute, "fell away" where appropriate.)

It's not easy to be a Christian in America. Nope. It's dead simple, mind-numbingly easy, and it's almost hard not to be Christian. Even our atheists use nominally Christian phrases in their arguments against the God in Whom they don't believe. Unless you go out of your way somehow, everyone is going to believe you are a Christian. 76.5% of Americans identify themselves as Christian in some meager way. 44% of Americans identify as born-again.

This ain't the world Paul planted his churches in.

And we have glorified a proofless faith. When the phrase, "... I will show you my faith by my works ...," is read out loud (by accident, usually) a chorus of voices rises to explain how James wasn't really trying to undo anything Paul said. As if Paul ever said that we were saved for licentiousness.

Attend a church, feel some sincere feelings, say an emotional prayer, believe you are saved, and suddenly you are among the faithful. Jesus taught His disciples the truth about the faith.

Matt 13 (again, just a little earlier)
The Parable of the Sower
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear."

Put these two parables together, and you get a sobering picture. Only a fraction (hopefully a sizeable fraction) of the seed will fall on good soil, and even after that happens, the enemy will come and sow false seed in with the good. It is desparately easy to unwittingly marry an unbeliever in America, especially under the intoxicating influence of human attraction.

Given this, what can the church do to prevent divorce?

1) Tell the truth about marriage to our children.

It was fruit that made the difference between the weeds and the wheat, and between the good soil and the rest. We need to start teaching about fruit. And preach to our youth that enthusiasm does not equal fruit. We all look good on missionary trips. Meeting a really cool person in YWAM is a good thing, but does that person still look as verdant and committed to Christ when they get back home?

When we are young, the world looks all sunny one day, and all gloom the next. Today the world is a shopping basket of wonderful choices in a mate, and a sahara of rejection tomorrow. The truth eludes the young, and our churches ignore their need. Many of the beautiful people around them are verdant weeds, and many of the rejections they receive are blessings from God their Provider.

Our children grow up believing in the eHarmony approach. You have to search out someone with whom you are compatible on 70%+ the 40+ relationship scales. You have to be constantly looking. You have to find your soulmate.

I don't doubt eHarmony is right, but soul-mating ain't cutting the mustard.

Teach our children that mating about pulling in a yoke together. There's time and opportunity for play aplenty in marriage, but every bit of the profit to be had from marriage comes from pulling in the same direction together. They will be pulling in that harness together long after they quit looking like rock stars - if they choose wisely. If they choose poorly, then they will be looking for a mate all over again, without the obvious benefits of youth to aid them.

Do you know who can help them decide whether their current infatuation is worthy of love?

The gray heads.

Teach our kids to seek out advice from seniors who know the young men and women in question. Even if that means going to another church to seek these people out. Even if that means restructuring our churches so that our old people get to know our young people. Especially if it means restructuring our churches so that our young people have a motivation to impress our old people.

2) Save troubled marriages

At some point it occurs to everyone that they need counselling.

I think this point occurs between 1 and 5 years after the last counsellable moment is dead and buried.

I don't know what the numbers are, but once the love is gone, receiving counseling is like chewing on sand and washing it down with vinegar. One spouse will probably be all for it, but trying to get the other one to play along at that point is not a recipe for success.

I doubt that counseling is all that medicinal anyway. I was greatly helped by counseling after my divorce, but he really didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. The difference was that I believed him when I could no longer believe myself. In a golden past, one that even our grandparent still remember, people got along just fine without counseling. They had another resource. Wisdom.

We need our old folk to step up to the plate for our middle-agers going through the wringer.

We subdivide our people off into seniors' and parents' and youth groups, and wisdom hardly crosses the divide. I think that when I've got another 20 years under my belt, I might be able to smell a husband with thoughts of leaving on his mind from the foyer to the baptismal! But really, if I don't know him, he'll just smell like another suspicious, cow-licked kid.

We have to give that hoary head with wisdom a chance.

Consider how much easier it is to expose your weaknesses in front of a senior than a peer. Consider how much more likely it is that a senior might know what to say!

Brotherhood and sisterhood are necessary, too. I am not slighting peers helping peers. I might even agree that we have a large weakness in that area. But, if we are weak on our peer to peer relationships, we are crippled in our senior to middle to youth relationships. Most of our seniors have seen the bottom side of life at some point, and learned a thing or two.

After 60 years of fire and flood, the best of them don't panic, don't overreact, and don't underreact.

Someone who's been through fire and high water can handle talk of adultery, despair, and abuse. Someone whose been there might even be able to confront lovingly on any of those subjects.

Too many of us try to figure these big things out alone.

I know I did.

We listen for good sermons, read good books, and keep the Christian radio on, but sermons don't fix marriages. People fix marriages. The Holy Spirit could, but He doesn't. You see, years ago He gave the wisdom the church needs today to those people who meet in room 107, and now He wants them to pull it out of their store houses and share it.

Bring in the gray-heads.

3) Rescue those who fall.

There's some good people out there who are questioning everything. Divorce makes you do that. We "divorced" are a people who have some seriously teachable moments!

But only grace can take advantage of those moments. A person going through that kind of trauma is a moving target. One day they're too depressed to hear anything, and the next they're too bouyed up by a beautiful scripture to hear anything.

On those days, remember the words of some old cowboy somewhere, "Never miss a good chance to keep your mouth shut."

Weep with them. Rejoice with them. Take notes. Take very good notes (on paper if you must) because some day you are going to have a wide open door. You have been weeping and rejoicing with them along the way, so when that day comes, you will know what to say. It will seem like a miracle because you'll know exactly what they needed to hear all along.

We all love to be listened to, but to hear exactly what we need to hear, exactly when we need to hear it, is one of the most beautiful things in the world.

I don't know a divorced person who doesn't want to feel "worth rescuing". Keep reminding them that the Shepherd leaves the 99, and rejoices when He finds that one that was exploring the wilderness.

Oh, and our seniors are really good at this. :-)

Prevention is better than cure, and cure is better than healing, but the church is ideally equipped for all three. We only need to intentionally restructure our churches to allow our people to support each other.

And that requires leadership.

I hope to return to the subject of leadership some time this week.

38 comments:

Milly said...

Again. . .Good job cowboy. I didn't feel I had anyone to support me when I was down. I latched onto God and that's a lot. The thing is that you need a day- to-day support. My parents were angry and hurt at what was going on so the help was a bit biased, I’m the baby. I now have gotten to know more people in our church and I know exactly who to call if I need to.

You also have to let go of the shame to reach out for someone. That’s a hard thing to do.(I’ve spent a lot of time with friends who’s husbands have strayed, it kills you to know that everyone knows)

I’ll say this again at some point someone is going to read this post and know that they aren’t alone. This is God.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

The place of grey-beards in the body is unquestioned.

I feel like our society is reaping what it sowed. We put our kids in daycare, gave them their own church services so that they didn't interrupt our service, we hire nannies, and baby sitters so that we can be apart from them.

Now these children are in their 30's and the parent's are in retirement. The children separate themselves from their feeble parents. It is the Harry Chapin, Cat's In The Cradle.

Know your elders, and know your mate before you tie the knot. Say it loud brother!

God Bless
Doug

Andreia said...

I happen to like my nanny.

ALOT

AND she is a huge plays a huge part in my kids moral development.

Lets face it. Its not just the 30 year olds that have separated themselves. I tried to start an informal mentoring program with older women in my church (Titus 2) and it went nowhere.

I also have been told by more than one older woman that she did not want to teach the children because she had "done her time."

Having suffered with a marital affair, I have watched countless couples in trouble. Like Kevin, I can smell them coming in the door. Very recently, I reached out to such a couple and was dismayed to learn that NO ONE in the ENTIRE church had spoken to them about their situation despite the fact that the wife disclosed her affair in a small group meeting. UUGH!

So much for leadership.

****sorry to be so sour on this****

Milly said...

Andreia,

I also have been told by more than one older woman that she did not want to teach the children because she had "done her time."

I've been told that myself. I understand why they feel that way.

AND she is a huge plays a huge part in my kids moral development.

My mom babby sat two kids they love us and we love them, Mom was considered the other mom.

I tried to start an informal mentoring program with older women in my church (Titus 2) and it went nowhere.

We had trouble getting enough at MOPS.

I understand how you feel.

Weekend Fisher said...

You know, awhile back Dawn Treader was even blogging about gently reviving the option of arranged marriages (or at least parental help in match-making). At the time I was annoyed that he stole my thunder -- I'd already been planning to blog on that, and whether we were smart to ask our kids to make life-long decisions at an age where they just aren't equipped for it. Not enough experience, not enough emotional stability, not enough discernment about what is love and what is a hormone-high. And too many myths about the evils of parents helping arrange marriages. Really, most parents just want the best for their kids. I've not only read about but also talked to people from "arranged marriage" cultures, many of them think they have the better deal.

And "counseling" back in the day meant that if the spouses were mistreating each other, they were accountable to the old married couple who had already weathered the storms, since they probably lived under one roof with the man's parents. The young couple wasn't typically going solo until they were a little bit older.

DugALug said...

Andreia,

I am sorry if my words offended you. These following comments may further agrivate you, so I will say 'sorry' in advance. I don't think anything I said was untruthful, cold, or insensitive, but it clearly must have struck a nerve with you.

As far as nannies go, liking your nanny is great. Many people who are in single parent situations need this sort of support. Many others, whose lifestyle mandates dual income look at a nanny as an invaluable resource to allow them to continue on with their careers or maintain the amenities that they have grown accustomed to.

I would encourage anyone who has children to make sure that they consider their children's well being in their decision to take both parents out of the house.

What is total bunk is letting the nanny, daycare worker, or school teacher be the moral compass for our children. We were the ones who had the kids: it is we who are responsible for their upbringing. There is no goverment initiative, church program, or community outreach that can replace parenting.

My wife and I make tremendous sacrifices for our girls: both time and money. We love them fiercely and we don't begrudge any of this: we are happy to be able to do it. We made the choice to have my wife stay at home with our girls. It was our choice to have children, not society's. It is not the duty or responsibility of my community to raise my child.

Respect goes both ways and the patterns of segregation started by the older individuals that you mentioned won't just automagically go away with time. We have become a society that has taken selfishness to new levels. So many believe that it is the government's, church's, or some other's mandate to raise our kids. The fact is that it is solely our own.

The battle begins with us, as parents. We need to recognize the symptoms that are all around us: reffering to adults by their first name without a 'Mr.', 'Mrs.' or 'Miss'; the ingratitude of accepting offerings without a 'thank you'; asking for things without a 'please'; questioning an adults authority when given instructions. These things, as minor as they sound, start the cycle of disrespect.

I taught pre-kindergardten Sunday School for over 15 years at my church. I can safely say that I watch a great errosion of all of these simple issues of respect in my time in that class. As frustrating as this was, in trying to maintain a class of 30, 4 and 5 year olds, I was much angrier with the parents than the kids. This problem wasn't the kids, it was their upbrining.

Issues of respect must be given much more than lipservice. It is the God given responsibility of parents to instill this in their children.

Also, if you want the elderly to hang around the children, make them children that the elderly would like to hang around. It is amazing how respect and likability go hand in hand.

What does all of this have to do with divorce? Children follow the patterns of their upbringing. So breaking the cycle of divorce in our country starts in what we model to our children. Respect for the elderly transcends into listening to their wisdom on pivotol decisions, such as marriage. Respect for my mother evolves into respect for my wife. Recognizing and appreciating their sacrifices helps me to recognize and pick a mate that will be willing to do the same for our children.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

This post received more editing than any of the preceding 4. Now, I'm glad! The topic got personal in a hurry.

I have no input on nannies. In the churches to which Paul was writing, a nanny was a given for people of one social class, and not even a possibility for the other classes. The church had members from all the classes, and masters held slaves who were also brothers.

Paul did not call anyone to change social class. He called everyone to destroy what that class meant. He called masters to rule, but to rule with love. He called slaves to serve even heathen masters with love. But he called no one to set free their slaves, except Philemon, and that was only guardedly and for specific service.

I guess I am for seeing what nannyhood looks like in the kingdom of God. Cool thoughts, and totally new to me.

codepoke said...

Andreia,

I tried to start an informal mentoring program with older women in my church (Titus 2) and it went nowhere.

I am completely with you here. I don't think our seniors are chomping at the bit to render this service. I also know that it's only the top slice of senior Christians (assuming by then we know who they are :-) who would really be helpful. The hoary head comes without wisdom as often as with.

I don't believe our church structure is capable of supporting this need we have for each other. But then, I don't think our church structure can support many of our needs, except for that of doctrinal entertainment.

I also have been told by more than one older woman that she did not want to teach the children because she had "done her time."
I sympathize. The senior would do the best job, if she wanted it. Is she willing to teach the young mothers, though?

I vote for a generational span. Let's have the seniors working with the middles and youngs, and the middles with the youngs and the children. At this moment in my life, with one child gone, and another teetering on the edge of the nest, I have the time to be doing some teaching.

I find that when people have a mission, they rise to it. If I think my assigned mission is "babysitter" though, give it up. I bet that's what turns the older ladies off.

I have taught the children before (when I was not the token heretic in my church :-), but when I did, they did not get standard fare. No flannelgraph for Kevin! I made my babysitting into a mission, and did my thing happily.

dismayed to learn that NO ONE in the ENTIRE church had spoken to them about their situation despite the fact that the wife disclosed her affair in a small group meeting.

You know why, right?

Everyone just thought someone else had stepped up to the plate. It's an awkward subject, and since someone else was handling it, they would not burden her with one more nosey intrusion.

Like you say. So much for leadership.

codepoke said...

Weekend Fisher,

arranged marriages

I hated the whole mate-finding process. I hated it enough to sign up for an arranged marriage, had the opportunity existed. I hated the whole thing with its scrum of worthwhile "prospects", and first come, first serve (socially crippled losers to the back of the pack) process.

Yeah. I have flirted with this idea too. In the end, it comes down to, "but not MY mother." My mother was an Oral Roberts devotee, and my father was an atheist. I would probably have ended up married to a non-believer.

Oh wait. I did that anyway.

Ah well. It would never work here. My son might go for it at some point, but after my daughter killed me in my sleep for suggesting it, the benefit would be lost. :-P

since they probably lived under one roof with the man's parents

I'm 100% with you on counseling.

Interesting about your statement that they live with the man's parents. Of course, you are right, but I wonder if that is not a mistake. No, I'm pretty sure it is. It should be the woman's parents with whom they live.

Gen 2
24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.


He should leave his father and mother, and go to hers. Her father is (and I speak from personal knowledge here) MUCH more likely to stop spousal abuse cold than his father.

This would undoubtedly lead to matriarchy, with inheritance tracked through daughters, not sons. It sure seems to be what God intended in this passage.

But I did not open that discussion here. Phew.

Milly said...

I so need sleep I just read my comment Baby.

It’s very true that society has changed some for the good and some bad. I feel that Satan is passing out the fruit left and right and we are eating it. I also think that yes ma’am and sir are going out because people think it makes them old. It doesn’t I say ma’am and sir a lot. I like to hear it. Dropping the Mr., Miss, and so on is also because they don’t want to feel old. I like it. Do my children use it? Honestly, not as much as I want them to. We are, well some of us, children of the sixties and seventies love, flower power, and peace. That is the time when life truly change for society.

Sorry my Social psychology studies chimed in. I’ll step away from the podium before I go political ramifications on you.

Andreia said...

Codepoke

I appreciate your comments about nannies and the like. It seems particularly strange to me that we even have this argument when for all of history the care of children has not solely rested on one person. As you state, in biblical times children were cared for by many people. Our ideas are the new ideas. Not the other way around.

Im trying not to take Doug's comments too personally because I did open the bag of stink. With that said, I have to tell you more about me to understand this debate.

I have been home for 10 years and have even homeschooled my kids at one point. I was completely sold out to the idea that I was the only person able to do for my kids. And you know what? That idea almost killed me. Not literally but emotionally.

If you listen to many of the stay-home moms in this country you will find a bunch of lost women. I believe it is primarily due to this notion that mom has to do it all. Women need large, broad support networks (including people that will help care for the kids) so that the day to day parenting is not so overwhelming a task. Ever wonder why so many of these women gain weight, shop too much or watch tv?

I have always been very active at home finding much to do to thwart this same isolation.I started a cub scout pack. I have hosted dinner parties for my husband co-workers. I have counselled many new mothers and those with troubled marriages. I have taught bible class. I have volunteered in pregnancy crisis centers, etc, etc. In 10 years, I have done it all. I am like many women that have looked for various ways to use my talents while caring for my kids.

I used to want to use the talents of leadership and encouragement in the church but there was no way to do it in a system that locks me and all women out of any meaningful work. Am I saying that cooking meals for funerals isn't meaningful work? Absolutely not! Its just not meaningful for me.

So what is a woman to do when sweeping and cooking just don't seem fulfilling anymore? Will the Dougs of the world allow us out of our bubbles at any point in our kids development? Are we to shut-down our brains, ignore our talents and stay home so that we can secure our goodness in the minds of those that think that is the only place for us?

I suppose Doug is thinking that I should not have had children unless I was willing to be home 24/7 with them, right? The funny thing is that people grow and change, at least thinking people do.

Its funny to me that we profess to want a church family but yet we hold onto this idea of isolation of the homelife. Either we want to engage in each other's lives in real and effective ways or we dont. The idea that I am the only one that can offer my child anything is ridiculous.

My nanny is NOT the moral compass of my family, thank you very much. However, when I chose someone to be in my home, I chose someone with similar beliefs. My children benefit from learning the same lesson by different teachers, much as you are suggesting that we learn from our elders.

The fact remains that an majority of preschool children in childcare in this country are in the care of FAMILY members. Are you suggesting that there is no benefit to having grandma and grandpa play that important role?

Doug wants to talk about "lifestyles that mandate dual incomes" and I wonder if that includes a lifestyle that would want to be able to provide some form of retirement for aged parents without any savings? Surely,they can live on that $1,000 of social security a month! And if they only hadn't given their lives to church work!

How about helping care for the education of my three nieces and nephews who were left fatherless two years ago when my brother passed away at 38. Does that meet with your approval as a reason to be working? Of course, there is no need to send my niece to college, right? She is just a girl.

I think that before you "encourage anyone who has children to make sure that they consider their children's well being," you should consider the fact that it is likely that they have done just that.

codepoke said...

Andreia,

I am a little over-sensitive in this area, maybe. My father was a practicing Assemblies of God attender for a while. I can remember a few months or maybe a year when my family actually went to church together.

I remember seeing my father go to church volleyball. He had to buy and wear tennis shoes. It is absolutely the most incongruous memory I have. No living soul had ever seen my father in tennis shoes, and yet he did this (I assume for his wife.) It may be the only time I ever saw him act out of character.

Anyway.

The elders of the church took the time to explain to my father how we should be being raised.

Game over.

I pretty much won't touch that subject now without a direct question. If the state of Ohio says it's legal, I'm not going to argue.

My philosophy on child-rearing from day one was, "Sadly, I know I am going to warp my children. I may as well warp them in a way I enjoy getting along with." :-)

Milly said...

I was blessed with being a stay at home mom for a while. I enjoyed it. Then I needed to get out. We chose to purchase a home in a neighborhood that didn’t have twelve year olds with guns, someone raped very close to my house, and the press and police at my child’s school. We have to make house payments.

I gave up my business when I was eight months pregnant because we knew it would be a stress for me to be the cub scout, PTA, church class, new mom, with a job. (plus as stated in my post on Eve and drugs I was huge) I had previously been an in home therapist for autistic children. I realized very quickly that moms, not just those with special needs kids, need a break.

I realized that too much time without stimulation from the outside word isn’t a good thing. Moms need out and the groups like MOPS, as great as they are, aren’t going to give you self esteem. With my first child my mother insisted I go back to work while she took care of him. She had spent her life as a mom taking care of us. Never to return to the workforce. She regretted it. I made sure that they didn’t put “House wife” on her obituary, her wishes.

It’s great if you want to stay at home with your children just don’t fault those who don’t or can’t instead we need to help each other.

DugALug said...

Andreia,

Wow! I don't see how much 'less personally' that you could taken it. I guess I need to respond in kind.

I am thinking that you must have some real issues with your husband, or with men in general. The bitterness is reflected in your writing. I am amazed that not once in your comments did you mention your husband, other than to say that served his co-workers. You talk as if raising your child is solely your responsibility. This is clearly in error: either you don't appreciate your husband's contributions enough, and/or your husband needs to get off his rear and pitch in.

I will tell you that we (as in my wife AND I) homeschool our oldest, tend to our children's needs, do laundry, clean the house, etc.

My wife is brilliant, and amazing. We are both degreed, and she could walk out our front door and have a job in a few hours.

I do my best to make sure that I am doing my part around the house, especially when it comes to doing activities with the children. The choices that we have made aren't always easy, but I guess that is why they are called 'sacrifices'.

You talk as if I cage my wife in the house. I am certain that if you talk to her (which I have and do), you would get a similar picture from her. I am also certain that she does miss things about our life before children. But Andreia, parenting is a 24/7 job: that is why parenting works best with two parents in the house.

I make sure my wife has time alone. This means that from time to time, I take off from work and pick up the girls a leave the house for the day (or the other way around). I insist that she go out and do things with her friends; and, by golly, we go out on dates. It also means that we (as in my wife and I) look after each other, as well as, our children.

Ever wonder why so many of these women gain weight, shop too much or watch tv?

So let me get this straight: men don't gain weight, shop too much, or watch tv? You talk as if women are the only victims here. Let me tell you a little tip about men: if you are miserable, your spouse knows it and is being made miserable too. If they chose to ignore your plight, then they will pay dearly for that eventually. Unfullfilling lifes lead to these habbits. Clearly someone isn't tending to thier spouse needs well enough.

This is not to say that my wife doesn't get frustrated with me from time to time. Well here's a news flash: I too get frustrated with her too. The key here is communication: we tell each other, so that we have the opportunity to resolve it.

I wonder if that includes a lifestyle that would want to be able to provide some form of retirement for aged parents without any savings? Surely,they can live on that $1,000 of social security a month! And if they only hadn't given their lives to church work!

How about, do we really need 2 cars when dad is just at work all day anyway? Does our house really need a pool? Do we need a 4000 square foot 5-bedroom home for our 3 children? Get real! These are lifestyle choices we make that mandate the need for dual incomes. A person who lives in a house, and has 2 cars is considered to be in the top 5 percent of the richest people in the world. If you don't have enough to save for retirement, you may need dual incomes: there is no sin in that. As far as 'giving' to the church, if you aren't directed by God to do so, then don't. Don't throw it up in my face after the fact.

In case you were wondering, here are the facts:

Numerous studies have shown:

Children with one stay-at-home parent, score an average of 8 to 10 points higher on IQ tests.

They are happier. (I kid you not)

They perform better in school.

They are much more likely to attend college.

They are less likely to commit a felony.

They are more likely to help their parents in post retirement.

Sounds to me like they become better adjusted members of society. But those are just facts, nothing religious or emotional about that. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that, if possible it is in society's interest to have one stay-at-home parent.

How about helping care for the education of my three nieces and nephews who were left fatherless two years ago when my brother passed away at 38.

That's very honorable, but isn't it biblical to take care of family? If you have problems with that, take it up with God. Besides this is just a red herring anyway.

You state that your nanny "plays a huge part in my kids moral development." Ummm, isn't that a moral compass. Say what you want, but what walks and quacks like a duck probably is.

As far as other people raising children in Biblical times. Yes that is true. we like to call them 'Family'. That's right, grandparents actually lived in the house with their children. This too contributed to a healthy respect for elders... go figure?!

I don't know what else to say. I guess we will agree to disagree here.

God Bless
Doug

DugALug said...

Milly,

I couldn't agree with you more, but I do have a question: Is the issue of a parent (not necesarily the mom), staying at home an amoral one?

Is it wrong for a church to say it is better for the children to have a stay-at-home parent? I submit to you that it is not.

I would also say that many women (even in our church) look down upon my wife, for our decision for her to stay at home. My wife is awesome, and I have yet to meet her peer, she should be lauded, not gaufed at. She is MY hero, and her job is FAR more important than mine.

I think it is perfectly valid to acknowledge that dual income is necesary in MANY households. That daycare, nurseries, and after-school programs, are needed for these instances and for single-parent homes, but if it is possible, to reccomend having a parent at home is better.

What do you think?

God Bless
Doug

Milly said...

dogalug,

I would also say that many women (even in our church) look down upon my wife, for our decision for her to stay at home. My wife is awesome, and I have yet to meet her peer, she should be lauded, not gaufed at. She is MY hero, and her job is FAR more important than mine.

I agree. And how cool are you to say that she’s your hero. :-}


This is such a hot issue and we seem to all have opinions. Let me say this, when at my mother insistence, went back to work part time she watched my son. When I became self employed my son either came with me or was with my mom. (He’s a talker so he was hired at a young age to talk to a kid who was a genius and not a talker while I worked with the autistic child he also joined me when I cleaned one of the houses.) I was blessed with being a stay at home mom, as if we do a lot of that.

I could never home school I know my limits. My children need more than I could provide.


As for me working it goes like this my husband and I pass each other on the way. That's right we kiss as one of us goes past at times. My children always have one of us. We have arranged our schedules around them. Because we were very adamant about who raises our children. And this neighborhood has the best schools in the area. Important because my kids deserve the best. My son is in a math class that only a select few were invited to try to get in. I can’t do that kind of math.


As for fathers who aren’t stay at home dads. Don’t look at your daughter holding your grandchild and say I regret not being with you when you were growing up. BTW you most likely will.If you're a good daddy. My dad did and he is the best daddy. He raised us and many other kids with integrity and love.

As for the look down at each other it goes both ways I’ve heard home school don’t home school arguments and stay at home and don’t stay at home. The reason it gets so emotional is that one those are our babies and two it hits our hearts and hurts. We want to do for them and we can be selfish. I think it’s cool that you two were able to provide a wonderful home for them. Others struggle I know that you know it and feel blessed that you can. If we would learn to support each other instead of judging we all be better off. They should support your wife not look down upon her.

Blessings,
Milly

Andreia said...

For the Record:

I am sure your wife is happy.
I believe that you do 51% of the chores.
I dont doubt that your kids are smart.

The fact remains however, that other peoples lives are not so neatly bound.

Women chose to work for two reasons.
The first is money. While you dismiss my situtation as a red herring, it remains the truth.

I have parents that need help retiring. I have nieces and nephews that are fatherless and have a mother with limited earning capabilities. Both things lie on my heart as reasons to work. I want to help.

In truth, you are right about this too. My husband does not earn enought to provide for our immediate family and all therein (retirment, college, tithing) as well as the needs of my parents and nieces and nephews.

The second reason women work is for emotional fulfillment. I submit that it is the thing that creates so much anger. Some women dont need the stimulation a job provides. Some do.
I refuse to believe that women that do are bad or less of a Christian.

What angers me is when people, both men and women, elevate this argument to doctrine. I have yet to read a command to be home in the bible.

I believe that for the most part women try to do the best they can with what life deals them. Plain and simple. The more people I deal with, the more I believe this to be true. Everyone has a story.

Now I can not let these baseless attacks on my nanny or my husband stand.

My nanny spends her spare time at an inner city suburban church helping kids that desperately need it. I know my nannies entire extended family and they are GODLY people. So I stand corrected, IF she is the moral compass, so be it. She is a fabulous young woman.

Furthermore, I do not dislike men. My husband is more than helpful at home. It was his concern for my emotional well-being that helped me see that I was losing myself in the service of the family.

He prompted me to pick up my dream of law school. I thank God for fact that he did not pigeon-hole me into a role that no longer fit.

DugALug said...

Andreia,

'Baseless attacks?' well isn't that pretty?

It sounds like your nanny is a virtual mother Theresa, but you are still missing the point. If you think a nanny is better for your children than you are, then you are sadly mistaken. No one can love or care for your children like parents can.

If you aren't able to pay your bills on your husband's income alone, a nanny is a better option than daycare. I think I left that very clearly in both of my comments. The is no sin in both parents working.

Some women dont need the stimulation a job provides. Some do. I refuse to believe that women that do are bad or less of a Christian.

Now will I belittle my wife's sacrifice? You talk as if it is an act of martyrdom for you to go back to work. If it is for financial reasons, then go in peace: there is higher purpose in that.

Have you considered the general message that is sending your kids: children you aren't interesting enough to me, so I found stimulation elsewhere. Not exactly what I want to say to my loved ones.

"For the record" I didn't dismiss your situation as a red-herring, I dismissed your argument in that paragraph as a red-herring. You're in law, you know the difference. As far as the situation, you are doing the honorable thing, many would look the other way. I even said that in my previous comment.

My comments were hardly baseless: I quoted you on most accounts. Read your comments and tell me they don't sound anti-male. It took an observation from me for you to even mention your husband.

Afterall, you said that you opened up this 'bag of stink', don't expect me to just lay down and laud something that I don't think is right.

Cromagnon man signing off

God Bless
-Doug

codepoke said...

Hello Folks,

I am late out the door, so I have not been able to give your comments the attention might wish. I have barely skimmed them, and they seem to be a lot more confused than I'm used to.

Children really are a third rail for those of us who love them, and I have gathered from everyone that they love their children a bunch!

For reasons listed above, I won't weigh in easily on how I think children should be reared. I know they must be loved, that they must be taught how to honor their parents, and that fathers must not exasperate them. Beyond that, it seems there is a lot of room for experimentation, and I am a big fan of trying stuff out.

Obviously, this discussion has moved past profitability, but I think it can still be redeemed. I will try to give it some thought before I get home tonight. (I am really late, now!)

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

You are right this is clearly past profitability. Please forgive me for writing too much and letting my sense of right outweigh my common sense.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

I'm back!

Thanks, DugALug, for the thoughts about common sense. Love is patient, kind, and does not dishonor others. On the Internet, where all discussions are tone-deaf, it is very easy for that to be lost.

After all the water under the bridge, here is your original statement.

I feel like our society is reaping what it sowed. We put our kids in daycare, gave them their own church services so that they didn't interrupt our service, we hire nannies, and baby sitters so that we can be apart from them.

You are saying this is probably the root cause of our current divorce wave.

I don't know. You would have to be talking about things that were happening in the 60's, 70's and 80's for it to be bearing fruit now. I guess that's a reasonable possibility.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

I think that, in our society, we focus on ourselves: more specifically on what we are and are not getting. Divorce is the logical progression in a self centered society. Think about these three principals:

> Lust Of The Eyes
> Loving ourselves more than others.
> Coveteousness

Now think about what the messages of TV and movies say:

> You need to look 'sexy'
> Because 'You are worth it!'
> 'Have it your way'
> By this because you deserve better.
> Show me the money.
> Treat me right, or I'll find another.

It's a forgone conclusion, that our culture drives this decidedly anti-Judeo/Christian message home. It can't help but creep into the churches and divorce is one of its rampant offspring.

-Doug

Milly said...

dugalug,

Divorce has been around for a very long time. My grandparents were. He loved the ladies. She was willing to stay married living apart. Could it also be that we just aren’t willing to live in abusive and miserable marriages? In the past women were told to take the beatings and affairs. They were told to live in misery. Not just women men were put through hell also. Now we live in a society that says you don’t have to stay in a home where someone is hurting your children and you. You don’t have to lay in bed at night and think I wish my life would end soon because this person beside me is miserable and it’s all my fault. Is it true that child abuse is on the rise or are we more aware? I’ve asked an expert and his answerer was yes. We are more aware and it probably is on the rise. No doubt that society is going down hill we are a product of the sixties and seventies. Good and bad. We are also a product of Hollywood where marriages are disposable.


We can’t ignore all of the factors of our society. Had Codepoke been a rancher in Montana during the 1800 they wouldn’t have divorced. She might have relished the days when he were on a cattle drive and welcomed him home because she was the only adult for miles around. They wouldn’t have spoken of the problems. They might not have existed at all. (Hope ya don’t mind the example Cowboy)

DugALug said...

Milly,

I know you are correct that divorce is more partially more prevalent because people have seen that it isn't right to stay in a marriage where the other one is unfaithful or abusive. Also there is much less of the stigma associated with a divorced individual. These things are probably for the better.

Still, you have to admit, if you compare the fact that Lucile Ball and Ricky Ricardo had to be shown in twin beds as compared to say Desparate Housewives, ummmm, we've come a long way baby!.

It took over 1900 years for us to recognize women had rights at all (even though this is clear in the Bible). We, as humans have a lot of growing to do.

My parent's marriage was on the rocks for many years. There was abusive language... on time my mom was so angry at my dad that she chased him a knife. She packed a left a few times too. Yet, through time, and God's grace, more time, and a little accountability, they are now happily married and have been that way for over 20 years. Sometime you just need to tough things out: just not always.

God Bless
doug

codepoke said...

DugALug,

Do you want to talk about how the things you are saying are being received?

In the same way, I don't know how I am coming across.

Both you and Weekend Fisher heard me asking whether divorce was "good". I wrote that it might be "right", but I didn't mean "right" the same way you two heard it. "Right" did not mean "good" to me, but "legally allowable tragedy". That was poor writing on my part, because right does mean good to anyone who's not reading my mind.

To what degree have I come off as saying divorce is good?

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Do you want to talk about how the things you are saying are being received?

Sure CP, I'm up for it.

God Bless
Doug

Milly said...

Good for your parents that they were able to work it out. I’ve only heard of a couple of instances where the couple came back stronger. One she shot at him then shot him. The bullet still remains in the door frame to remind him never again to raise a hand to her. And two after he stopped hitting her he turned it onto her son. Now they are fine. Except the children lived it. So I’m a bit biased about staying in a marriage like that because I’ve seen what friends and sadly family members have lived with. I’m a get out of it for the children’s sake person. You lived it so you know how difficult it is.

Without a doubt or society is in the grasp of evil. The end comes closer every day and lucifer wants everyone with him. However, you can’t tell me that most marriages that end in divorce are because of shows like Sex In The City. It’s because it’s easier in the eyes of the world. Thankfully men and women aren’t shunned for divorce. Now with that I’m not saying divorce at the drop of the hat. I’m saying that it’s not as hard for those who sit at the pullet and give testimony on the fact that they felt like failures and because of the new wife, church, and the grace of God they are blessed. It happened in my church I love this couple and can see the blessings they have.

Btw Lucy and Ricky divorced. So the Hollywood example of how to live goes way back to how not to live in my book. My children aren’t allowed to watch that stuff and have no problem telling me to turn the TV off.

Bottom line divorce is hard it isn’t right I’ve never heard someone say it easy.

It took over 1900 years for us to recognize women had rights at all (even though this is clear in the Bible). We, as humans have a lot of growing to do.


We've had this discussion here before. Read back it was interesting.

You've made this interesting for sure.

Blessed,
Milly

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

To what degree have I come off as saying divorce is good?

I don't think you have. I think you have come off saying that divorce is allowable and/or justifiable: tragic as it may be.

More than anything, I heard that divorce is not a sin. Once we ironed through that, I was fine.

Apart from that, I can see little that I have disagreed with over these past four posts. You scriptures are provoking, and it has made for some great talks around our dinner table at home.

Aparently, unlike me, you are not too controversial.

God Bless,
-Doug

DugALug said...

Milly,

Btw Lucy and Ricky divorced

Ricky and Lucy Arnez (sp?) divorced, not the Ricardos. That wouldn't have been allowed that to occur on Prime Time television. ;)

Humanistic thought pervades and Hollywood has always painted an image of a 'better life', but in the end, without God, it is hollow and unfullfilling.

God Bless
-Doug

Milly said...

Still Lucy and Ricky's divorce didn’t go unnoticed. Just as Kennedy’s liaison, we knew it. I’m a huge fan of the show still. Because it’s just so funny. However, spanking your wife on television wasn’t cool for me. My fav .is the baby one. Bottom line television has reflected how society is going. It has also influenced how it will go. So we agree. Yet I think that art imitates life and life imitates art. Our world is changing and we are reflecting it.

DugALug said...

Milly,

Our world is changing and we are reflecting it.

Amen to that: where's my E-Ticket?

-Doug

codepoke said...

I think you have come off saying that divorce is allowable and/or justifiable: tragic as it may be.

Thanks, DugALug.

I'm still rattling DK's statement around in my head from the dogfood post. I think it is just perfect.

[I may purchase the rights to it, write a book, and have Milly market it for me and make all those $$$$ she was talking about.

But I ain't touring nothing for nobody. If past performance is any indication of future returns, then I'm a recluse, people. Addicted to the keyboard, maybe, but a recluse.]

Given your answers, I will move on. Thank you.

Aparently, unlike me, you are not too controversial.

No need to get nasty! ;-)

Statements like that make me do a double take, and hunt for the irony. There was a time that I never heard such comments applied to me. Thank you.

Milly said...

Honestly If you write it. I can market it, throw the party, get it illustrated, and so on. Opra and Dr. Phil think about it. $$$$$ :-}

Milly said...

BTW you can even use some Millyisms.
;-}

codepoke said...

DugALug,

Do you want to talk about how the things you are saying are being received?

Sure CP, I'm up for it.


Sorry, I didn't see this earlier.

I should'a kept my mouth shut. I was a little bit wrapped around an axle yesterday, and I let a couple of your comments to culture get to me. In the refreshing light of the morn' all I see is your willingness to chat about it.

You're a good man, Doug.

Thanks.

Keep on bringing it!

codepoke said...

Sounds like a business plan, Milly. I think we could sell it to the execs at Seinfeld's TV station.

(That's one of my favorite lines of all time. George is selling the idea for his "show about nothing", and the execs ask him:

execs: Why will people watch this show?

George: Because it's on TV!

execs: Not yet, it isn't.)

Too bad your business plan relies upon that one weak link. ;-)

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

I should'a kept my mouth shut.

I too should have refrained from a couple of my comments: I don't know how to graciously or gracefully abstain from defending my point, when my heart is so wrapped in what I believe.

I should also learn to proof my comments. If my words didn't make me out to be a bozo, my typing did. Geez-Louise, it is embarrasing.

You a good man, Doug

Sigh, if only it were true... a lot of grace, my friend, a lot of grace.

God Bless
-Doug

Milly said...

I love Seinfeld and I can honestly do all of those things. Even get you on Oprah and into the opera I’m awake now.

Hmm....the book about nothing. I like it. Why will they read it? Because they will. ;-}

Shape it like a coffee table and. . .