Category Archives: Defending Traditional Marriage

13 Things I DON’T Want To Do In 2017

From a Sermon

Four years ago I preached a sermon to close out the year of 2012. The following 13 points were what I decided I did NOT want to do in 2013. The same could be said for 2017.

Unfortunately, numbers 10, 11, & 12 are the only ones I’ve not done; the rest were failures. Just goes to show you why a preacher needs to preach to himself more often.

I Don’t Want To…

1. Believe another politician. Why did I ever? I won’t do it this year, that’s for sure. Even if he/she is telling the truth, how would I know? Let God be true, and every man a liar, especially those running for office (Romans 3:4).

2. Eat more in one sitting than the average family in Africa eats in a week. (Prov. 23:21; 21:17)

3. Lie, cheat, or steal, even when it’s socially acceptable. This is especially important during tax season, but there are many times we lie to each other, deprive each other, and take what isn’t ours. Have you ever told someone you were “fine” when you actually weren’t? You lied. Used two coupons instead of one, just because the cashier didn’t notice? You stole.

4. Be angry.  Anger rarely solves anything. Angry people are miserable and always finding fault. Angry people turn a leisurely drive into a demolition derby. “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

5. Whine or complain. What do I have to complain about? Really?

6. Tell people how stupid they are. I don’t understand why some people act the way they do, but I need to be a little more understanding of idiots, morons, ignoramuses, and bone-headed nincompoops. They must answer to God, not me, for their actions (Rom 14).

7. Add another x to my large. I can’t afford any more clothing. Even now I must wear Hawaiian shirts year-round because nothing will stay tucked in. I mean, seriously! The last thing I need is to expand the “temple.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

8. Lose another favorite sock. I can’t figure out how it happens, but something has to be done.

9. Waste time.  Today I listened to my two girls play with a new ukulele. They laughed and sang.  Soon they will be grown, and there will be no more music, games, or bedtime stories. “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).

10. Get a divorce.  Many do it because the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. They don’t realize the unnatural stuff has a nasty aftertaste. I want to stay with the woman God gave me. Who could be better than a gift from God?  “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18).

11. Give one more dollar to a guy on the street….without offering the gospel as a condition. If he wants a dollar, then fine. I’ll give him $5 if he lets me tell him about Jesus.

12. Be on a reality TV show. So many people say, “Anthony, your family would make a great reality show.” I say, “Yes, I know.” However, it ain’t gonna happen. The world isn’t ready for it.

13. Forget to pray. I don’t pray enough. More is better. What I need is to follow David’s example and pray morning, noon, and evening (Psalm 55:17). I shudder to think how much I’ve given up by forgetting to spend time with God.

James 4:17  “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

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Filed under Christian Living, Defending Traditional Marriage, Divorce, Do not judge, Future, God, Life Lessons, Preaching, Relationships and Family, scary new year, the future, Uncategorized

Responding to Temptation

Young Woman,

I don’t care how young you are, 20’s or whatever. I don’t care how pretty you are, at least what I can see. I don’t care how much fun and full of energy you are; I’m not. I don’t care how much you want to please me. I don’t even care how much you care about me, or how much you need me. 

You see, whatever you have to offer, no matter what it may be, is not worth my marriage. No amount of “love making” could compare to the love that’s been built over the last 23 years with my wife. 

I love my wife and I love my God who gave her to me. I love my daughters and the trust they place in me. Nothing you can offer is worth what I’d have to give up. 

Lastly, marriage is designed to be symbolic of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Because of this, and because of the gospel, I will remain faithful to my wife because Jesus is faithful to me. 

In other words, I’m not interested in what you have to offer. 

Respectfully,

Happily Forever-Married Man

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Divorce, Marriage, Relationships and Family

Happy Fox Is Leaving

If you have lived for any amount of time, like most of you surely have, I’m positive there’s been a time or two when the air was knocked out of you by some bad news.

Think of something you’ve experienced – not so bad as the death of a loved one, though, – and you’ll understand how I feel right now.

Names

The first thing you need to know is that I name children on my school bus. If that sounds strange, the reason is because sometimes I can’t remember their parent-given names, especially early on in the school year. Therefore, I give them a name in the same way my Native American ancestors did; I name them based on something I see.

For example, one girl is tall and thin as a stick, so I call her Sticky. There’s a boy who always runs from his house to the bus, so I call him Runny Boy. Flower Girl lives on a street called Magnolia. Flower Girl’s little sister, a 5th grader who started riding my bus in Kindergarten, blew bubbles on the bus, so… her name is Bubbles, a name which she fiercely defends (she’ll go by that name in college one day).

Another little girl started riding my bus four years ago, I believe. The thing that set her apart from every other child on my bus was her smile – it was constant and predictable. So, when she started riding my bus it was cooler weather, therefore she always wore a hat that looked like a fox head (with ears and all). That’s when I started calling her Happy Fox.

The Notification

This afternoon, as I was standing in the big room where all the children come to sit in their designated areas, each one with a sign that displays the number of the bus they will ride, Happy Fox walked up to me with only half a smile.

“I’m gonna be leaving you,” she said with an uncharacteristically somber tone.

“What? You’re gonna be leaving me?” I asked jokingly.

“Yeah,” she said, “I’m not going to be riding with you anymore.”

A little shocked, I replied, “Really? Why not?”

With an brave little attitude that some kids have – the kind that care about the feelings of others and don’t really expect your sympathy – she explained, “Yeah, well, my mom and dad are breaking up, and I’ve got to go live with my dad…so I won’t be riding anymore after Friday, I think.”

That.  Hurt.  On.  So.  Many.  Levels!!

The Others

Here’s the thing: God hates divorce! You want to know why? Well, besides the fact that it is the opposite of what God wants, which is a picture of faithfulness that mirrors His faithfulness to us, it hurts a LOT of people, especially the children!! … And the bus drivers!!!

Too often couples will separate for the most petty of reasons. Others break up for good reasons, but the reasons were preventable. Nevertheless, no matter the reason, there are very few of them that are insurmountable, should the offended couple think of others besides themselves.

Today was a good example of the ripple effects divorces have. Sure, some couple thinks their lives are going to be better now that they don’t live with each other, but children are going to suffer; future families are going to suffer; risks for many bad things are going to go up; and even people like me are going to cry, get in an ill mood, bite the heads off their own families, and write depressing blog posts at the end of the day.

I just pray that Happy Fox can keep that smile.

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Depression, Divorce, Parenting, Relationships and Family

The Fill-In-the-Blank-ers Should Protest

In a culture where self-identification is the norm and homosexuality has become the new 90-foot golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar* before which all must bow, a lot of other sinners are getting shortchanged.

As recently as this June another, …umm, “popular” …umm, “Christian” musician (Trey Pearson) came out of the proverbial closet and admitted he is gay. The married (to a woman) father of two admitted that he’d been hiding his true feelings for too long, trying to be something he was not meant to be. Marriage vows and children aside, it was time to give in to his desires and finally enjoy his life the way he believe God intended.

From his “coming out” letter…

“I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about who I am, and who I was made by God to be, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom.”

“In sharing this publicly I’m taking another step into health and wholeness by accepting myself, and every part of me. It’s not only an idea for me that I’m gay; It’s my life. This is me being authentic and real with myself and other people. This is a part of who I am.” – click for source

Now, let’s not get all tangled up in the doctrinal issues surrounding Trey’s treatment the “peace that passes all understanding.” After all, how can we blame poor Mr. Pearson too harshly for his heresy when his mentor and former pastor is Love Wins! himself, Rob Bell?

No, for the sake of this discussion, let’s focus more on something else: the glorification, affirmation, and weight-shifting freedom associated with one admitting and embracing his divorce-inducing sexual activity. 

Do a search of all the articles written in support of not only Trey Pearson, but Ray Boltz (came out in 2004) and others, all who left their wife and kids behind to follow the leading of their passions – their “true” selves. What you will find are accolades, praises, whole-hearted attaboys for men (and women) who’ve broken sacred vows and left their spouses and children to pick up the pieces.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but despite the illiterate notions that Jesus never addressed homosexuality, thereby condoning it, didn’t He say something very clearly about divorce? And what about adultery? Isn’t that one of the big “Thou shalt not’s”?

Here is my question and the subject for this post:

If homosexuality is to be considered a sin no longer, all because it corresponds with one’s sexual desires; and if one’s sexual desires should not be repressed if one’s sexual desires constitute one’s identity; what other up-till-now adherent behavior, along with all recognized “normal” behavior, could be used to justify breaking the clearly outlined command of God, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”?

Countless men are walking away from marriages and being praised for it. “Brave” and “courageous” are what they’re called. They succumb to desires which for some reason have become attached to their nature and demand to be respected. The wife and children are mentioned only as a sidebar to the “valor” of the adulterer, and the clearly delineated commands of God are relegated to a dusty “suggestion” box.

What then of the regular adulterer? What then of any number of definers by which one self-identifies? Fill in the blank with whatever you want – voyeur, philanderer, exhibitionist, pedophile, scumbag. Who are we to ostracize any of these if in the event of coming out of their own closets they bring about the destruction of a family unit? Should we not praise them for being brave?

Let us re-read the following part from Trey Pearson’s letter, only this time let’s replace “gay” with a blank.

“In sharing this publicly I’m taking another step into health and wholeness by accepting myself, and every part of me. It’s not only an idea for me that I’m ______; It’s my life. This is me being authentic and real with myself and other people. This is a part of who I am.”

What if we were to insert adulterer? For that matter, what if we were to insert “a fisherman“? As a heterosexual male, I was born – made by God – with a built-in desire to have sex with women. Should I say, “That’s my life, to have sex with multiple women,” would I be taking a step toward wholeness? What if I said, “Fishing is my LIFE!”? Should I be praised for walking away from my marriage vows to catch trout?

Because of the self-identification craze, more and more people are allowing themselves the excuse to give in to every carnal desire and label it as “health and wholeness.” Yet, sad to say, it is a false peace to which they are clinging as their understanding is darkened. They have believed a lie.

In the meantime, a whole lot of other guys are still paying the price for their taboo actions. When will the culture recognize they’re just being true to themselves? Hmmm?

Why should only certain groups have a monopoly on 90-foot idols? Maybe those fill-in-the-blank-ers should protest!

Meanwhile, Shadrach, they’re heating up the furnace.

 

* See Daniel 3:1-30

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Filed under Christianity, Culture Wars, current events, Defending Traditional Marriage, Marriage

Reducing Relationship

I am honored to add my post here as a guest. ~madblog

Somebody didn’t get the “around 5-600 words” memo. But that’s OK, I suppose. I’m just happy madblog’s got a healthy marriage and a husband who’ll do the dishes. 😉 – Anthony Baker

Our Marriage

I have a husband who won’t let me get near the dishes lately. There are always a lot of dishes here, a lot, always. His reasons are clearly excuses.

In 31 years, we have not had Fight One over who works harder, whether he should help with the housework, or whose job it is to iron his clothes, mow the lawn or put the kids to bed. But it’s certainly not because we’re above such things.

We don’t do 50/50 here.

Did other people speak wedding vows which assigned domestic duties, and which spouse was going to be the primary breadwinner? Because to hear some people complain about the sorry thing called marriage, you would think that in their vows, they promised to model Ozzie and Harriet in their suburban 1950’s home. And they don’t want to, so away with marriage, that obsolete patriarchal engine of oppression.

We didn’t sign a contract outlining household duties or role requirements when we got married. We didn’t confuse our wedding vows with societal expectations or TV sitcoms.

Our Vows

What did we vow?

“Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?”

“In the name of God, I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

What we vowed may have been a slight variation on these words, I don’t remember. We knew what we were promising.

Notice that we both vowed the same things. There wasn’t the Housewife Version and the King of the Castle Version.

You’ll also notice that these vows are not limiting, but rather open-ended, except as to duration–until death. We were promising to love, to comfort, to be faithful. We were not promising the nuts and bolts, the how we would achieve these abstract states of existence. We were promising to live the rest of our lives committed to and committing to one relationship.

A relationship has the potential to grow and expand, and to build toward almost infinite intimacy. To live under a contract would reduce our love to a pre-ordained set of boundaries.

On another front…

During my tenure as a parent, I’ve been advised by persons who are over The Age of Eighteen, that I ought not to tell adults what to do. All the advice-granters in the world would tell me to say: OK, you’re an adult now, so I’m not allowed to tell you what to do. In return, I give up caring whether you get yourself up for church, school or work. It’s your business and I’m not going to help you anymore. You’re not my responsibility.

There is certainly truth in there. My role as a Mom changes as my child matures and I do have to increasingly step back and let him make decisions, and let him live with the way those decisions play out. I’m fine with Mr. Experience teaching her the responsibilities of adulthood. And I’m not above feeling a tiny bit of pleasure when an “I told you so” would be a legally appropriate thing to say.

Relationships, Not Contracts

But relationships are not contracts. A contract spells out what I am, and am not, responsible for. Beyond the requirements of a contract one does not go. A contract limits my actions.

When we had a young teenager who was self-willed and apparently in danger of going off the rails, the going advice was to put the relationship under contract. This is what’s expected of you, Teenager. And if you commit these crimes, here is a handy list of the corresponding consequences. Now you know what to expect.

It was an invitation not to be resisted. And because our children are creative people, it was unresisted very creatively. There was no instance in which he/she committed Offense X and therefore was liable for Consequence X. It was never that simple.

Because they don’t just want to do X and get away with it; the goal is to confound your attempts to be the authority in the first place. They want to mess with you. It’s all about the relationship, and the rebellious child knows that better than you do.

Contracts and legal agreements reduce a relationship to that which is spelled out therein. Do we really want our family relationships lived via contractual agreement?

Relationships are not contractually binding; relationships supersede contracts. My behavior toward those I love aren’t limited by the letter of the law. Or so says The Author of Relationships:

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:12-13

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” – Romans 12:8

“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8.

Relationships with human beings are infinitely more binding than legal agreements. We are accountable to love one another. To act on their behalf toward their good, even and especially when they aren’t able to appreciate the help, even and especially when we don’t think we have the strength to do it, even and especially when we feel like doing the opposite.

According to J.Budziszewski, “Love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other person.

I want to relate to people in my life according to love and grace, not according to a reductive contractual agreement. At times, I must borrow heavily from an inexhaustible Source to fulfill my part.

I give the Adult a wake-up call because I know he has trouble hearing his alarm, on the morning after receiving the caution not to tell the Adult he should go to bed. Or go pick her up when she didn’t plan for the ride home. Overlook irritating and irritated talk. Dive in to thankless tasks. Really act as though the person is truly loved, and you couldn’t live without her, because it’s true.

Unnecessary Debate

And isn’t the debate over complementarian (no, it’s not in my spellcheck vocabulary either) vs. egalitarian marriage really a hyper-focus on this very thing? They can’t get their eyes off of that simplistically reductive 50/50.

The change agents are so proud of their enlightened egalitarian marriages. They’ve given us something new, something never seen before in the long millennia of human history: men and women, equal in marriage! Hey, congrats and thanks, guys!

I do hate to tell them that the Bible had this one a long time ago:

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” – Ephesians 5:21.

And specifically on marriage:

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” – 1 Peter 3:7

“Each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

Settle what job is whose, for goodness sake, and move on!

A Final Thought

Of course when you have just now thrown away: what women are, what men are, and what you are; and you confuse Ward and June Clever with millennia-old Scriptural teaching, it makes for a little tiny bit of confusion. If you’re going to set out to right societal wrongs, it would be best to get an understanding of the issue all the way down to its foundations.

My husband does the dishes lately without explanation. He fends me off and tells me to go relax. After working all day and then chauffeuring for awhile, then going to a meeting, after working on his own writing, before going to bed much too late and getting up much too early.

It’s not because he’s invented a brand new kind of marriage. It’s not because he’s heard on Christian radio that husbands doing housework get rewarded in the bedroom. He has nothing to prove and no secret agenda. He just understands what he promised.

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Marriage, Relationships and Family

Ashley Lied

Her Father

You may have already heard the news, but a hacker released the names and information of men who used the services of the illicit affair provider Ashley Madison.

Screen grab from website

Screen grab from website

Unfortunately for her (I say “her” only because it seems appropriate in a proverbial sort of way) suitors, Ashley Madison was not able to provide complete anonymity to those to whom she promised could arrange an adulterous affair. No, all of her safeguards were useless. She lied.

Well, I guess you could say I am being a little unfair. Ashley Madison didn’t technically lie about keeping the secrets of men wanting to have affairs; she was hacked. But in reality, why would anyone have believed her promises in the first place? After all, she is of her father, the devil, and he is the father of lies.

Other Lies

If Ashley Madison didn’t lie when she said she would keep her suitors’ confidential information secure, then it was the only lie she didn’t tell. As a matter of fact, Ashley Madison was well versed in many lies of which her father, Satan, has been using for ages…some of which are made more dangerous because of the included element of truth.

Ashley Madison’s motto is “Life is short. Have an affair.” Truth is, life is short, especially in comparison to eternity. But what the motto doesn’t tell us is that the consequences of sin can last a lifetime, and eternity is even longer.

Ironically, I just logged on to Ashley Madison’s website and found a few other blatant lies still posted.

  • Over 40,860,000 anonymous members
  • 100% discreet service
  • Trusted Security Award
  • “Our Married Dating Services for Married individuals Work.”

Consequences

Now that the names are coming out, people are killing themselves. How’s that for “marriage dating services…that work?” What was Ashley Madison’s plan? For people to be happy? To have fulfilling marriages characterized by faithfulness? Not hardly.

Like I stated before, Ashley Madison (and her creators) is just like her father the devil and all the “strange women” he has always used to bring men and marriages to destruction.

“For the lips of a strange woman drop [as] an honeycomb, and her mouth [is] smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.” – Proverbs 5:3-5

More men will be seduced. More names will come out. More marriages will be ruined. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. … For the ways of man [are] before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” – Proverbs 5:15, 21

Be warned.

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Filed under current events, Defending Traditional Marriage, Divorce

I Love My Wife

Lifeway

Here I sit in a large Lifeway book store, a Bible and notebook in my lap, a cup of coffee (from Dunkin Donuts) beside me, my phone in my hand, studying, waiting on my daughter to get out of a meeting, and thinking of my wife. 

Lifeway is a Christian bookstore chain. Believe it or not, my wife and I actually spent one of our anniversary date nights strolling through and shopping in a Lifeway store. Why? Because it’s our kind of place – it’s all about the Lord and Saviour we love, Jesus. It’s where we feel like kids in a candy store, but without the risk of overexposure to calories. 

Likes 

In a recent marriage counseling session (yes, we go to one now and then), we discussed life changes and the risk of growing apart. One of the ways couple risk growing apart is by losing interest in the same things, not enjoying the same things together as a couple. 

We used to like some things we don’t like anymore. There are some things one likes, but the other doesn’t. However, Lifeway is one if those things /places we certainly enjoy together. That will never change, because we are both in love with the store’s purpose – Jesus. 

Loves

I don’t say it enough, especially for the whole world to read, but I love my wife! I love Valerie. I will love her with emotion and with action till the day we part in death, maybe longer. 

But the reason our love, our marriage, has survived over 21 years is because we are both in love with Someone else – Jesus. 

Picture a triangle. At the top of the triangle, the single Point, is Jesus, the Son of God.  At the bottom left and right are Valerie and me. The closer we get to Him, the closer we get to each other. Because of Jesus, no matter the likes and dislikes that change with times and seasons, our love for each other can grow and grow without limitation – because we can never get close enough to Him. 

I just wanted to tell the world how much I love my wife. And the closer we both grow, I hope you can tell it, especially in our mutual love for God. 

Love Jesus; love each other. Simple

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Love of God, Marriage, Relationships and Family