Archives For family

What’s in a name?

Last week, while walking with my family around the neighborhood, we passed by the elementary school, with a yard sign out front. A church was renting the space on Sunday.

“Oasis of Love Family Church.”IMG_0384

I kind of cringed at the name while I snapped a picture. For one, “Oasis of Love” sounds kind of funny. If I moved to Nevada and opened a brothel, I might call it “Oasis of Love.”

But even more so, I cringed at the second part of the name, “Family Church.”

There were lots of things this church could’ve done. They could have used just the word “church.” They might have paired it with the word “community.” They may have called their church a “worship center.”

But of all the choices they had, they used those specific words. And in so doing, they illustrated what many of our churches are guilty of, a guilt that I thought about while I walked home with my new little family…

…Our churches have made an idol out of family.

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Over the last few years, I’ve taken a minor interest as the debate over women nursing in public periodically resurfaces.enhanced-32750-1391391832-2

However, as my wife has been nursing our infant son over the last six months, the issue has taken a new dimension for us. More than once, we have found ourselves without a comfortable place for her to feed him. Several meals have taken place in the car (he is an American after all, and Americans eat in their cars.) We have even been unable to find a proper nursing room in a hospital, a children’s hospital. (It was suggested by a female security guard that we use a bathroom. More on that later.)

What has interested me most, however, has been the feelings we are torn between as we search for suitable feeding spots. Part of me wants her to just plop down on a bench any place we please and let ‘er rip. The other part of me is more sensible and knows that our son doesn’t feed well with distractions.

We also know that we are a microcosm of a cultural debate about the place of female bodies in general. And in general, I think we are getting it wrong.

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What is it about masculinity that seems so…fragile?

If this guy works to be a good enough dad, he’ll reach a level of parenting called “Mr. Mom,.” In other words, be a good enough parent, and you must not be a man anymore.

Our culture gives a lot of talk to what makes a “real man.” We produce thousands of male-centric products. We have lots of ideas about what men do and enjoy.

And yet, for all of this, we seem more confused than ever. Men seem less secure in themselves, less confident in their own masculinity. It seems harder to understand what it means to raise boys into men.

I thought about this over the weekend, as we celebrated men and masculinity. And the problem it seems, is not in spite of all the male-centric discussions and advertising.

I don’t want my son to inherit a fragile masculinity. I don’t want him to have to pursue manhood, the way our culture defines it. So I had to figure out where our confusion comes from.

It turns out that our confusion about masculinity is precisely because of our obsession with it.

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I wonder what kind of sex talk happens in this family...

I wonder what kind of sex talk happens in this family…

I’ll be honest, I have nothing to say about Josh Duggar, his misdeeds or his family.

It’s all been said…vehemently.

Some of what has been said has been reasonable, helpful and redemptive and some of it has not.

And so I sit on the sidelines, having some opinions, but fearing that my opinions are not well-informed enough, not helpful enough to share, and wondering who is really qualified to make definitive statements about this bizarre situation.

But I will tell you, this whole situation has given me pause as a father to give very serious thought about what I will tell my son about life, about sin, and about sex. We Christians complain that the public schools are pushing sex ed. earlier and earlier, but few of us are willing to have the kinds of conversations our children need. This is not an awkward ten minutes at the kitchen table, done because we find out our kid is already messing around. This is a conversation that deserves to be thought about for the ten years leading up to it.

If my son were old enough to have the talk, this is what I would tell him, in light of how Josh Duggar’s life has fallen apart.

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There is a “crisis of masculinity.”fistbump

I read about it years ago: the confusion, lack of drive and antipathy that seems rampant among young men today. It was scary then. It’s even scarier now that I have a son.

The problem is that “masculinity” is a loaded word now. You can’t talk about there being a “crisis” without dealing with the argument that masculinity comes in many forms. It’s true, and I’m no lumberjack. I am a kind of man, but I don’t meet everyone’s standards of manliness.

But what we mean by a crisis is that a generation of boys are growing up and failing to meet any definition we have of masculinity, or rather adulthood. It’s not that they are confused about their gender. We mean that they lack ambition, obsess over video games, watch porn instead of date women, and generally lack the hustle that young men are supposed to have.

I don’t think it’s too early for me to be thinking about this, because God only knows what my son will have to deal with when he is a teenager. But I’m going to do my best to help my son grow up to be a whole, happy, healthy man.

There are a few things that all boys today need to become men.

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“If you were going to become OCD, what kind of OCD would you be?” I asked my wife the other day.peas-lined-up-in-a-row

I had just been watching “Obsessed” on Netflix. It’s all about people with obsessive compulsive disorder. The question seemed like a good way to know a little bit more about my wife. If she were going to lose her mind and go crazy, what kind of crazy would she be?

She thought a moment. She wasn’t sure.

I thought for a moment too and came up with the answer.

“You’d be a hoarder.”

She agreed. The truth is that Cheri is already a borderline hoarder. It is only by my constant pressure that her stuff stays in check and does not take over the house. I’m like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dam, except the dam is holding crap instead of water.

She asked me the same question and I knew right away what the answer was.

The thing is, most of us aren’t OCD, but every single human being on the planet is dealing with the same problem as anyone who happens to end up on a reality cable show.

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