Fatherhood

Manhood is responsibility...

Dr. Harry Schaumburg is right. Internet pornography is false intimacy. It's sex with a phantom who has no moles, wrinkles, or bad breath; a woman who makes no emotional demands and bears no children. But God's law limits sex to those men willing to bear responsibility. God says you must vow lifelong fidelity to a woman and you must propagate a godly seed. Sex without intimacy is sex that repudiates responsibility. But, guess what? Sex without responsibility isn't sexy.

I remember waking up in bed with my wife the morning after our wedding day and thinking, "This is the rest of my life!" I was happy. I loved Mary Lee and love her even more today. Still, there was some bit of terror that morning as I realized the irrevocable step I had taken. There was no return. From this day on I was responsible for this dear woman and all the children she would present to me. Somewhere Chesterton says the two most romantic things in the world are getting married and mailing a letter because you can't take either back. You see, permanence and responsibility are romantic. Commitment is romantic. Vows are romantic.

We have young men and women getting married all the time in our congregation, and often they ask...


Leadership is male: Women as trustees over Christian colleges...

With the collapse of Evangelical theology and the consequent unfaithfulness of Evangelical churches and institutions, many churches and fellowships of churches are starting their own colleges and seminaries. Readers of this blog will be familiar with New St. Andrews College, Bethlehem College and Seminary,  Clearnote Pastors College (site down just now for redesign), Reformed Evangelical Pastors College, and Athanasius College. There are many, many more. 

One question these new institutions must address as they set up their governance structures is the same question older colleges and seminaries have had to wrestle with: Should we have women serving on our school's top governing board?

As I have corresponded with a number of leaders of these colleges...


Finish training your sons and daughters here in Bloomington...

Here's an interesting article on manhood today. (Or should I say boyhood?) It's the Wall Street Journal so maybe their paywall will keep you out? Teaser:

Except perhaps in very conservative communities, men with sufficient social skills can find sex and companionship without need of a matrimonial commitment (and for those who lack social skills, a willingness to marry is unlikely to provide much compensation). The culture's unrelenting message—repeated in Hymowitz's article—is that women are doing fine on their own. If a woman doesn't need a man, there's little reason for him to devote his life to her service.

George Gilder said it all back in the seventies in a book titled Sexual Suicide (since updated and retitled Men and Marriage). But you know, George Gilder is gauche. Admitting you've read him is sort of like admitting to being a collector of Dennis Rodman memorabilia or a fan of Charles Murray. Anyhow, did you get that "except perhaps in very conservative communities?"

Sadly, I'm not sure Protestant Reformed churches qualify any longer.

In our experience here in a university community where we watch college students individuate from their PCA and Reformed Baptist (including SBC) parents, the prevailing message of Reformed parents to their college and grad student children is that a good education trumps sexual purity and holiness. Of course, they don't put it so honestly. Instead, they tell their daughter that she must...


Take the time and watch this...

Wonderful testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ. Wonderful example of fatherhood after the Father Almighty, a mother in Israel, and brotherhood in Christ. Thanks, Taylor.


Tim Keller's "divine dance": the Trinitarian twist...

Reading some of Tim Keller's books recently, certain emphases stood out. One being something he calls the "divine dance." Keller prefers framing discussions of the Trinity with this analogy. He concludes with it in The Reason for God and opens with it in King's Cross (aka Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God)...

Exploring the background to this analogy, I came across a very helpful book, Engaging with Keller: Thinking Through the Theology of an Influential Evangelical, contributed by various authors, including Pastor Kevin J. Bidwell.


Sanctifying androgyny: "a woman can do anything a non-ordained man can do"...

Some may be unfamiliar with the saying, "a woman can do anything a non-ordained man can do." Trust me, this is a mantra in PCA and other Reformed leadership circles and it has received precious little critical scrutiny. Here then are several reasons why a woman can't do everything a non-ordained man can do.

First, a woman cannot impregnate her husband. A non-ordained man can impregnate his wife. There. I’ve written it. If this biological fact doesn't seem to have any application to the mantra, we can see how the androgyny of our world has seeped in and permeates the church's thinking.

An unordained man penetrates, but a woman receives. And this isn't simply biology...


Fathers who withhold spankings exasperate their children...

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. - Colossians 3:21

But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. - Hebrews 12:8

Here's a good post reminding fathers and mothers that God our Heavenly Father will hold us accountable for our obedience to His many commands that we spank our children:

You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol. - Proverbs 23:14


Raising sons and daughters to love their sexual identity...

A man of our congregation e-mailed a link to a piece on another blog written by a pastor's wife lamenting her fears that her son would have to "prove" his manhood among the Christians in her community and church down in Mississippi. The man commented, "the point (in the post) I thought was most interesting (was her writing):

...and so I come back to my sensitive son, with his preference for imaginative games over competitive ones. I wonder if he will soon find himself a misfit in the Christian community, pressured to prove himself—not by his neighborhood friends, who won't care what he is—but by other Christians, who want him to stand up for a certain kind of disappearing manliness.

Responding to this quote from the post, the man responded: "I get that some boys will grow up to be poets, and writers. I was an English major. But, I can testify to the fact that I definitely needed wrestling, and football—not to prove anything, but to learn how to just be tough and a man."

So I went and read the post and left a comment, there...


An updated reading list on sexuality...

Here's a reading list of thirteen books on the meaning and purpose of the two sexes created by God—man and woman. It's been slightly reworked since it was last published.

1. Scripture, starting with these texts
2. Henrik Ibsen: A Doll's House
3. Paul King Jewett: Man as Male and Female
4. Stephen B. Clark: Man and Woman in Christ
5. Walter Neuer: Man and Woman in Christian Perspective
6. Steven Ozment: When Fathers Ruled
7. G. K. Chesterton: What's Wrong With the World or The Thing
8. Doug Wilson: Reforming Marriage


Abraham Kuyper: a giant we need...

A Review of James Bratt, Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat.

In history today, studying the “little people” is in and studying the giants is out. Kuyper was a colossus and has not been particularly well-served by biographers. When we study him, we can see further ahead since we are dwarves standing on the shoulders of a giant. Consider his accomplishments and the highlights of his life.

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) had two conversions, three nervous breakdowns, and at least four vocations in his extraordinary life. He started a political party, a university and a denomination. He wrote book after book, column after column, gave speech after speech, and was one of the finest devotional writers of his era. As we say in my family, he was...


Fatherhood outside St. Mary's and inside Walmart...

(Prince) William says he practiced making sure the car seat fit securely before driving off. "Driving your son and your wife away from hospital was really important to me," he said.

Standing in line at Walmart, I watched a normal Joe ahead of me buying his daughter her school supplies. The man helped his eight-year-old daughter transfer pencils, notebooks, and other stuff I didn't recognize from the cart onto the small 20-items-or-less checkout counter. Halfway through the piling up, the girl looked up at her Dad and demonstrated her budding gift for commanding the male sex: "Dad, let me do it!"

He acted like he hadn't heard and, thankfully, Her Royal Highness didn't protest again. Last on the pile was the annual backpack with this year's graphics and colors. Then, having accomplished her part of the mission, the girl walked a few feet and sat down on a bench from whence she surveyed her domain and awaited her father's duty of paying for her life and happiness. You know, money.

Dad wasn't tall and wore shorts hanging down to his calves. Nothing notable in his looks or clothing, nor in the way he fulfilled the privileges of fatherhood. As he ran his credit card and punched buttons, the cashier smiled and asked if school was starting this week?

He said "yup, Tuesday" and they exchanged conspiratorial looks of knowingness. I thought for a second about getting down on my knees and pleading with this innocent father not to send his precious daughter...


Teaching fatherhood missionally...

[TB: This is a guest post by our faithful Edinburgh correspondent, Ross Clark. Good idea.]

Once upon a time I was part of an Anglican church. The church had a lot of faults but it got one thing right: it had a heart for evangelism and the Gospel. One of the most effective ways this was expressed was a mothers-of-preschoolers group designed to appeal to mothers in the suburban community in which the church was based. During the years I was a part of this church, most of the adult women who came to faith did so through this ministry. Many churches offer similar parenting courses in order to build bridges with the community as well as minister to their own flock. Here is one such example from Singapore. (And check this out.)

So, after years of following Baylyblog, I've had this idea...


The family wage honored motherhood...

Bob Patterson has a piece in Philly's Inquirer on President Taft's creation of the U.S. Children's Bureau. Headed by Julia C. Lathrop, the Bureau was a "Progressive initiative that sought to protect both motherhood and childhood from the emerging industrialized order":

(Lathrop was a) social conservative (who) believed that maternity - by generating new life for society - trumped the demands of industry and commerce. Considering motherhood "the most important calling in the world," she worked tirelessly to give the at-home mother "the status of a profession".... Lathrop's successor, Florence Kelley, shared the same goals, safeguarding the "fundamental rights of children," including a "normal home life" and childhood that presumed married parents and maternal care and nurture through the early teen years.

"Childhood that presumed married parents and maternal care and nurture through the early teen years." A century ago our civil magistrates created economic policies that honored fatherhood and motherhood. Today they create economic policies that honor sodomy.

Patterson continues...


God protects widows and orphans; blesses with fruitfulness and long life...

In my reading this morning, I took delight in several texts. First, this concerning our Heavenly Father's personal care for the widow and orphan:

You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless. - Exodus 22:22-24)

Oppression of the fatherless leads to...


The irrepressible influence of ungodly and godly fathers...

Happy Father's Day!

Anglican vicar Robbie Low has an article in the latest Touchstone riffing off one of the many studies showing the radical disparity between the influence of fathers and mothers in the churchgoing and religious faith of their adult children.

A simple summary of all these studies is that mothers who attend church do not produce churchgoing children whereas fathers who attend church do. Put slightly differently, if the mother attends church regularly and the father infrequently or not at all, when they reach adulthood their children are unlikely to attend church. On the other hand, if the father attends church regularly and the mother infrequently or not at all, when they reach adulthood their children are almost certain to attend church...


Why is there no ADHD in France...

Sons want structure and authority. They rebel against parents who don't provide them. And do I really have to say that by "structure and authority" I'm not talking about haranguing, berating, demeaning, or beating our sons? Abuse destroys structure and authority.

Here's a helpful article outlining the difference between the diagnosis and treatment of undisciplined behavior in these United States and France.


Tenderness is manly...

A kindness by the Dodgers' Matt Kemp following their away-game loss to the Giants Monday night. Heres' the back story.


A man protecting a woman as he ought...

(WARNING: a part of male anatomy not usually mentioned in educated company is named in this video.) When a woman is in danger, a true man acts without regard to his safety. Immediately. Charles Ramsey's my hero, the more so because he speaks with the honesty that only an education can remove from us.


Living with your wife in a misunderstanding way, as with someone stronger...

Under the post titled "Men and Women as It Ought To Be," a couple men objected to the post. They commented that my commendation of Russian men helping women across streets indicated I was a chauvinist fool, and to prove their point they went on and on about how strong and bright and competent women really are. I put my response here because it's possible I will not get to writing another post today, and I hope this will be helpful to some of you living with your wife in a misunderstanding way as with someone stronger. Smile.

* * *

Dear (brother),

Thank you for your comment. Maybe you think a man who holds up honorable gentlemen for emulation, calling attention to the feminine vulnerability that prompted those men, logically leads to the conclusion that the man who holds up honorable gentlemen for emulation is a chauvinist, misogynist, fool? 

I would not have survived my mother, let alone my wife and three daughters, had I been a chauvinist. As a matter of fact, were I to choose a woman to escort me across the street when I was feeling a bit intimidated by the horns and wet pavement and semis, it would be my wife. For sure. Our family and church family well remember the evening she was so frustrated by the IU basketball traffic on IN 37...