So not every guy proposes with lip syncing, rolling cameras, and a choreographed entourage.
Yeah — so what if your Dad didn’t?
He just pulled that beat-up Volkswagon Rabbit of his over in front of Murray Reesor’s hundred acre farm right there where Grey Township meets Elma Township, pulled out a little red velvet box, and whispered it in the snowy dark: “Marry me?”“He didn’t even get down on one knee or anything?”
You boys ask it incredulous, like there’s some kind of manual for this kind of holy.
And I’ve got no qualms in telling you no. No, he didn’t even get down on one knee – it was just a box, a glint of gold in the dark, two hallowed words and a question mark.
I know. When you’ve watched a few dozen mastermind proposals on youtube, shared them with their rolling credits on Facebook, marvelling at how real romance has an imagination like that.
Can I tell you something, sons?
Romance isn’t measured by how viral your proposal goes. The internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness – so don’t ever make being viral your goal.
Your goal is always to make your Christ-focus contagious – to just one person.
It’s more than just imagining some romantic proposal.
It’s a man who imagines washing puked-on sheets at 2:30 am, plunging out a full and plugged toilet for the third time this week, and then scraping out the crud in the bottom screen of the dishwasher — every single night for the next 37 years without any cameras rolling or soundtrack playing -- that’s imagining true romance.
The man who imagines slipping his arm around his wife’s soft, thickening middle age waistline and whispering that he couldn’t love her more…. who imagines the manliness of standing bold and unashamed in the express checkout line with only maxi pads and tampons because someone he loves is having an unexpected Saturday morning emergency.
The man who imagines the coming decades of a fluid life – her leaking milky circles through a dress at Aunt Ruth’s birthday party, her wearing thick diaper-like Depends for soggy weeks after pushing a whole human being out through her inch-wide cervix, her bleeding through sheets and gushing amniotic oceans across the bathroom floor and the unexpected beauty of her crossing her legs everytime she jumps on the trampoline with the kids.
The real romantics imagine greying and sagging and wrinkling as the deepening of something sacred.
Because get this, kids — How a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.
And a man begins being romantic years before any ring – romance begins with only having eyes for one woman now – so you don’t go giving your eyes away to cheap porn. Your dad will say it sometimes to me, a leaning over – “I am glad that there’s always only been you.” Not some bare, plastic-surgeon-scalpel-enhanced pixels ballooning on a screen, not some tempting flesh clicked on in the dark, not some photo-shopped figment of cultural beauty that’s basically a lie.
The real romantics know that stretchmarks are beauty marks and that different shaped women fit into the different shapes of men souls and that real romance is really sacrifice.
I know – you’re thinking, “Boring.”
Can you see it again – how your grandfather stood over your grandmother’s grave and brushed away his heart leaking without a sound down his cheeks?
50 boring years. 50 unfilmed years of milking 70 cows, raising 6 boys and 3 girls, getting ready for sermon every Sunday morning, him helping her with her zipper. 50 boring years of arguing in Dutch and making up in touching in the dark, 50 boring years of planting potatoes and weeding rows on humid July afternoons, 50 boring years of washing the white Corel dishes and turning out the light on the mess – till he finally carried her in and out of the tub and helped her pull up her Depends.
Don’t ever forget it:
The real romantics are the boring ones — they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs.
Be one of the boring ones. Pray to be one who get 50 boring years of marriage – 50 years to let her heart bore a hole deep into yours.
Let everyone do their talking about 50 shades of grey, but don’t let anyone talk you out of it: committment is pretty much black and white. Because the truth is, real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit: Who am I willing to suffer for?
Who am I willing to take the reeking garbage out for and clean out the gross muck ponding at the bottom of the fridge? Who am I willing to listen to instead of talk at? Who am I willing to hold as they grow older and realer? Who am I willing to die a bit more for every day? Who am I willing to make heart-boring years with? Who am I willing to let bore a hole into my heart?
Get it: Life – and marriage proposals — isn’t not about one up-manship — it’s about one down-manship. It’s about the heart-boring years of sacrifice and going lower and serving. It’s not about how well you perform your proposal. It’s about how well you let Christ perform your life.
Sure, go ahead, have fun, make a ridiculously good memory and we’ll cheer loud: propose creatively — but never forget that what wows a woman and woos her is you how you purpose to live your life.
I’m praying, boys — be Men. Be one of the ‘boring” men – and let your heart be bore into. And know there are women who love that kind of man.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t flashy – because love is gritty.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t about cameras — because it’s about Christ.
The kind of man whose romance doesn’t have to go viral — because it’s going eternal.
No, your dad did not get down on one knee when he proposed – because the romantic men know it’s about living your whole life on your knees.
There are Fridays. And the quiet romantics who will take out the garbage without fanfare. There will be the unimaginative calendar by the fridge, with all it’s scribbled squares of two lives being made one. The toilet seat will be left predictably up. The sink will be resigned to its load of last night’s dishes.
And there is now and the beautiful boring, the way two lives touch and go deeper into time with each other.
The clock ticking passionately into decades.This post was written by A. Voskamp. You can find the original post here: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/11/the-real-truth-about-boring-men-and-the-women-who-live-with-them-redefining-boring/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Let me tell you a tale of three pastors. All successes in their own right. I would be pleased to be a member of their congregations. They are good men, godly men, holy men. They have the same Holy Spirit working in their lives.... yet, they are different. And sometimes, they rub me wrong. At least two of them do...
One pastor was talking about how the Military creates dependency. "In the military, you don't have to make any decisions, all decisions are made for you, you just obey orders. They feed you, house you, raise you into a fighting machine. They tell you where to live and who to make friends with." (Just in case you're wondering, no, this pastor has never served in the military, although he has had numerous military folks in his congregation.) Yet, when I think about this pastor, he went straight from high school, to college, to seminary, to his first church. He serves in a denomination where the pastor is a professional. The churches in which he has served have always providing housing, paid his expenses, and given him a nice salary. (He is well within the top 1% of financial earners in his church. To his credit he does tithe his salary.) His denomination tells him when to move to another church. Does that sound independent to you?
Another pastor was talking about how the new generation of churches will be smaller and transient with bi-vocational pastors. This pastor is a good scholar. He has researched trends in the church and realizes that is what he needs to be training the next generation of pastors to do. Yet, when I think about this pastor, he went straight from high school, to college, to seminary, to his church. He serves in a denomination where the pastor is a professional. The churches in which he has served have always providing housing, paid his expenses, and given him a nice salary. His church isn't a mega-church by any standards but it is a good sized, medium church. He remarked the other day, "I haven't mowed a yard in years. People from the church come over and mow my yard (actually the yard of the parsonage where he lives that the church provides for him as part of his salary package)." Does that sound bi-vocational to you?
Another pastor, now at the end of his ministry due to his age, reflected with me regarding his life as a minister. He never had a church of over 250. He accepted meager salaries in spite of having seven children. He told me stories about God's provision: coats for his children that suddenly appeared on the doorstep one frigid winter morning, receiving "blue milk" and cheese from the local dairy, having an abundance of fresh farms eggs from an unnamed person in the community, working side-by-side with parishioners in painting and refurbishing the church (and telling of the wonderful theological truths and friendships that occurred during these times), caring for the church building by cleaning toilets, mowing the yard, taking out the trash, etc. Also, he never had a parsonage. Every home he lived in he either rented or owned (ironically, now at a ripe old age, on his meager salary, he owns several homes and they are rented by pastors or parishioners of his former churches). Each of these homes, he cared for in painting, refurbishing, caring for the lawn and shoveling snow. (Oh, that reminds me, he shoveled the snow at his churches. He wanted his church to be welcoming even during bad weather.) He stated he would never cancel church. "What if someone found their way to the church during bad weather only to find the doors locked? What if that was the time that they decided they needed Jesus? If even only one person showed up, I still had church." He NEVER wanted to count on the church to take care of him. He told me that he knew that he was called to be a pastor and in doing a pastor's work, he KNEW that God would take care of him. His salary was just to pay what expenses that he had as he never went into debt, owing no man anything.
Like I said in the first paragraph, three pastors: All successes in their own right. I would be pleased to be a member of their congregations. They are good men, godly men, holy men. They have the same Holy Spirit working in their lives.... yet, they are different. And sometimes, they rub me wrong. At least two of them do...
BE A MAN.
We've spent the last two days discussing how affairs happen and the fallout to having an affair. Today, we will make a few pointers about fighting the temptation to stray from our marriages and families:
1. Build the marriage relationship - Communication is the key here. Staying in touch with each other's feelings, pressures and tensions will keep you focused on where your relationship needs work. Caring enough to meet these mutual needs in your marriage will help make your relationship a meaningful one in which to be involved. This kind of communication takes time. Make time for each other.
2. The affair process. Read thru again the 12-step affair process. Then read it with your spouse. Come to mutual agreements about how to relate to the opposite sex. The most important idea to remember is that all sin starts in the mind. If we control it there, it cannot grow. Turn your sexual fantasies toward your marriage. Control your thoughts. Pray for good dreams. God will help you manage this sexual dimension in your life.
3. Walk with God together. Be regular in fellowship with Christians. Be regular in worship. Be regular in your devotional life. Pray together as a couple. Go to meetings for men at your church. Men need to have a place where they can discuss openly and honestly with other men about the tensions and problems they encounter in life. Find a place of ministry in your church. Talk to your pastor, let him know your weaknesses and have him pray for you.
4. Count the cost. It helps us to keep our heads in the real world if we think about the consequences of infidelity. Think about how quickly your credibility and Christian witness would be compromised. Don't think temptation will never happen to you. No one is immune. Think about the fact that sin grieves our Lord. Think about how much it would hurt your wife, kids, parents, and in-laws. Even though thinking of the consequences of our sin can help us resist temptation, we are only truly moral in a biblical sense when we refuse to sin primarily out of our love for God.
Our goal in developing moral character is to get to the place where we act faithfully and consistently simply because to do otherwise would bring harm to the person and cause of the God we love.
Only a real and lasting love for God will guard and buttress our fight against the enemy.
This information is taken from TEMPTATIONS MEN FACE
BE A MAN.
Did you know that the members of U2 are Christians and that they frequently explore issues of faith in their songs? Shocking, right? I know!
A recent BuzzFeed piece got way too many views with the irritating title “11 Bands You Might Not Realize Are Christian.” Author Matthew Perpetua seems to be trying to “out” people of faith in the music world by making over-reaching assumptions about the members’ beliefs based on lyric snippets and his own editorializations. For Perpetua, it seems the inclusion of any kind of Biblical imagery is reason enough to identify a band as “Christian.” In addition to listing U2 in the No. 1 spot, he includes Black Sabbath, Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, Evanescence, Belle and Sebastian, Lenny Kravitz, Kings of Leon, Sufjan Stevens, The Civil Wars and the incredible Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who just released an excellent new album, Spectre at the Feast, and successfully rocked Nashville this month.
Back in 2009, I wrote a piece for Christianity Today that suggested that all music was spiritual. Sure, some of it gets used for ignominious purposes, but the thing that makes music so powerful is the spiritual essence of it. It may be good or bad, true or false, but it’s all spiritual. Bono once said that the best music is either written about people running toward or away from God. T-Bone Burnett, who inspired me as a kid, once said that he could either write songs about the light or about what he sees as a result of the light. Glenn Kaiser rocked my world when he used blistering hard rock to simultaneously share the Gospel with the lost and to challenge the found to engage their pilgrimage with intensity and integrity. Reducing this wide spectrum of expressions down to a bucket labeled “Christian” is a way of dismissing it from the general culture on one hand, or uncritically endorsing it to a sub-culture on the other.
There are several specifically “Christian” uses of music, and I am a fan of them all when done properly. Music can be used sacramentally, as in worship. It can be used prophetically, as a challenge to the church or the world to change its ways. It can be used educationally, to help train people to memorize Scriptures or stories that will enhance their understanding of their faith and its implications. Sometimes music is used well in these purposes. Often it is not. It seems to me the lame/great ratio is about the same in the Christian world as it is in the Top 40.
But when songwriters who happen to be Christians participate in the larger cultural discussion with songs that address love, lust, fear, war, politics or the beach, must it be called “Christian music” and be sold in separate stores and played on separate radio stations? The prevailing desire to label and categorize that kind of music seems to be the result of two things: Christians who would rather be spoon-fed “safe” music than engage in critical thought or discernment of their own; and snarky pop-culture critics who were exposed to too many Carman videos as children and want to make sure their cool friends know what some artists secretly believe.
I get that there is too much useless music in the world and that some adventurous and open-minded Christians may wish to discover new artists who are particularly thoughtful when it comes to wrangling with the implications of a life lived under the gaze of God. I supposed they might turn to certain articles, like BuzzFeed’s, in that pursuit. But if the discussion is designed to create an alternative to personal discernment and critical thought, or to endorse bad art because it is about Jesus, we have a problem.This post was written by John J Johnson. For the original post with comments, go to: http://thinkchristian.net/will-we-ever-stop-labeling-bands-christian
What about P.O.D. using the f-word? Go to this article previously posted here at Ironstrikes: http://www.ironstrikes.com/2/post/2012/07/murdered-love-pod-uses-the-f-word.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
“Our church has the best youth ministry in town.”
“Everybody knows we offer the best children’s ministry in the city.”
“Our vision is to be the best church in the area.”
Over the last ten years I’ve heard statements like these with increasing frequency. Is this a good thing? Does our desire to serve God with excellence naturally lead us to want to be the best in town? Is the “best” classification the most honorable way to measure our success and effectiveness?
Most people probably view the quest for best as a helpful ambition. Driving to be better and better, at any endeavor, raises the level of quality for all. Right? Competition makes everyone better. Right? In many ways, that’s true.
But what’s necessary to be “best”? In any competitive field, in order to have winners you must have losers. In order to be best, you must conquer the others.
And that’s where the quest for best begins to turn ugly, especially in the church.
In the church, this spirit of bestfulness and competitiveness leads to pridefulness. This has not gone unnoticed by the public. A non-churched mom I interviewed said, “Churches today just want to be bigger and better than the next one. That’s not what church is supposed to be about.”
Yet, the quest for best seems intoxicating. Church gurus advise congregations to find something they can be best at in the community. “What makes you stand out among the others?” they ask. The trouble is, we’re not called to stand out. We’re called to stand behind.
In Mark 9 we see the disciples arguing about who stood out as the best disciple. Jesus confronted their quest for best. He said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” In other words, we’re not called to stand out. We’re called to stand behind those we’re called to serve.
If a church is not called to be the best in town, what is it called to be? It’s called to serve. Humbly. It’s called to touch lives with God’s love, one by one. It’s called to be faithful where God has placed it.
No disciple is called to conquer the other disciples in a quest to be best.
Jesus illustrated and summed up his lesson on humble servanthood by picking up one small child and urging his disciples to do the same, to faithfully welcome the small.
It’s not the kind of pursuit that will jetison a church to anybody’s Best 100 list.This post was written by Thom Schultz. You can find the original post here: http://holysoup.com/2013/05/01/to-become-the-best-church-in-town/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Men have needed other men for centuries. Whether in the trenches or on the field, being part of a band of brothers is a sacred thing. Proverbs shows us that it is critical to have a brother to stand with us through adversity. To overcome pornography, we will need such a man.
Let the Proverbs guide you:
1. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” - Proverbs 17:17 The proverbs extol the value a faithful friend who has your back through thick and thin. They love at all times not just when you are doing well. When the stresses are running high because you blew it again, or when the time of adversity is imminent because your wife is done and ready to leave you, this brother calls you to greatness. They never give up on you or on your sincere desire to honor God with purity and integrity. Find a man like this.
2. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” - Proverbs 27:17 Your accountability partner needs to have “teeth.” You don’t need some pathetic wussy who tolerates your excuses and simply gives you a pat on the back saying, “better luck next time.” You want a man who creates sparks when he clashes with you like steel on steel. He cares deeply enough to confront and sharpen you by clear, direct advice and by telling you like it is. His perseverance is designed to bring the best out of you—God’s design for you. Find a man like this.
3. “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24 Remember: you are the average of the five closest friends you hang around with. Who are the quality God-fearing men in your world? Who can you count on? Those that are all talk with no follow through are the undependable type that won’t be what you need. Look for men of character—like a brother—who sticks close and isn’t a “no show.” Avoid ruin by getting connected to one who is trustworthy and consistent. Find a man like this.
4. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.”
- Proverbs 27:6 Sure, it might sting for a while, but don’t doubt this guy. Listen to what he says even when it hurts you. Know he has no other motive for speaking straight to you but that he signed on to walk with you in overcoming your impurity issue. Though it is about trusting in the Lord to overcome the porn, be sure to thank Him for a man who will speak the truth to you. Have confidence in his perspective. Find a man like this.
5. “The pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.” – Proverbs 27:10 Look for a sincere man who takes seriously the role he will play in your life. His heartfelt approach with both his convincing and convicting manner screams that he loves you. His counsel is wise and good. Out of his compassion for you, he urges and compels you to do what is right. That is a good friend. You’ll look forward to seeing this guy because he always brings hope and leaves you feeling encouraged. Find a man like this.
6. “Instruct a wise man; he will be wiser still. Teach a righteous man; he will add to his learning.” - Proverbs 9:9 Face it. What you have been doing hasn’t given you freedom from your addiction. You will need wise and righteous input to overcome the hold porn has on you. You’ll need to learn new ways of doing things. Your way isn’t working. Righteous influence is the best. God’s way works. Be wise enough to receive instruction—to add to your learning. Be a man like this.
7. “A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than one hundred lashes a fool.” – Proverbs 17:10 You like being confronted? Yeah, right. Nobody does. The more aware you are of this battle, the more you know you need outside input to win this war. Ask God for an attitude of humility. It’s not simply a matter of discipline or the lashes might work. It’s surrender to God and the help of others. You need to listen and accept. Rebukes need to impress you. Why? Because you can see the bigger picture of the transformation needed. Be a man like this.
8. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” - Proverbs 28:13 Break the silence. Quit playing your little secret game as if nobody knows and it’s not affecting you or your marriage. Hiding your problem won’t bring you freedom. Things will turn around to the level you get honest with yourself, God, and others. With the confession and repentance comes the victory. You’ll receive mercy from God, and over time, grace from your wife. Be honest. Come clean. Be a man like this.
9. “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright of heart.” - Proverbs 14:9 Take responsibility for your problem. Don’t blame others. Deal with the guilt God gives you for your bad choices. Never say, “it’s no big deal” when God says that it is. Push for an integrity that will first honor the Lord and then will win your wife’s trust back over time. The Godly man is one who acknowledges his sin, makes the changes and then seeks reconciliation. Be a man like this.
10. “Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” - Proverbs 7:24-27 Don’t kid yourself. Pay great attention, men! Your porn problem has got to end. It will destroy all that is dear to you. Make the choice to seek help until you find help. Don’t be a victim regardless of what you have been through. Choose to get off the highway to hell. Be a man like this.
This blog post was written by Dr Dave Currie. The original post can be found at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/03/proverbs-about-accountability/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college. Why? A study recently published in The Journal of Human Resources gives an important answer. Teachers of classes as early as kindergarten factor good behavior into grades — and girls, as a rule, comport themselves far better than boys.
The study’s authors analyzed data from more than 5,800 students from kindergarten through fifth grade and found that boys across all racial groups and in all major subject areas received lower grades than their test scores would have predicted.
The scholars attributed this “misalignment” to differences in “noncognitive skills”: attentiveness, persistence, eagerness to learn, the ability to sit still and work independently. As most parents know, girls tend to develop these skills earlier and more naturally than boys.
No previous study, to my knowledge, has demonstrated that the well-known gender gap in school grades begins so early and is almost entirely attributable to differences in behavior. The researchers found that teachers rated boys as less proficient even when the boys did just as well as the girls on tests of reading, math and science. (The teachers did not know the test scores in advance.) If the teachers had not accounted for classroom behavior, the boys’ grades, like the girls’, would have matched their test scores.
That boys struggle with school is hardly news. Think of Shakespeare’s “whining schoolboy with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school.” Over all, it’s likely that girls have long behaved better than boys at school (and earned better grades as a result), but their early academic success was not enough to overcome significant subsequent disadvantages: families’ favoring sons over daughters in allocating scarce resources for schooling; cultural norms that de-emphasized girls’ education, particularly past high school; an industrial economy that did not require a college degree to earn a living wage; and persistent discrimination toward women in the workplace.
Those disadvantages have lessened since about the 1970s. Parents, especially those of education and means, began to value their daughters’ human capital as much as their sons’. Universities that had been dominated by affluent white men embraced meritocratic values and diversity of gender, race and class. The shift from a labor-intensive, manufacturing-reliant economy to a knowledge-based service economy significantly increased the relative value of college and postgraduate degrees. And while workplace inequities persisted, changing attitudes, legislation and litigation began to level the occupational playing field.
As these shifts were occurring, girls began their advance in education. In 1985, boys and girls took Advanced Placement exams at nearly the same rate. Around 1990, girls moved ahead of boys, and have never looked back. Women now account for roughly 60 percent of associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and have begun to outpace men in obtaining Ph.D.’s.
There are some who say, well, too bad for the boys. If they are inattentive, obstreperous and distracting to their teachers and peers, that’s their problem. After all, the ability to regulate one’s impulses, delay gratification, sit still and pay close attention are the cornerstones of success in school and in the work force. It’s long past time for women to claim their rightful share of the economic rewards that redound to those who do well in school.
As one critic told me recently, the classroom is no more rigged against boys than workplaces are rigged against lazy and unfocused workers. But unproductive workers are adults — not 5-year-olds. If boys are restless and unfocused, why not look for ways to help them do better? As a nation, can we afford not to?
A few decades ago, when we realized that girls languished behind boys in math and science, we mounted a concerted effort to give them more support, with significant success. Shouldn’t we do the same for boys?
When I made this argument in my book “The War Against Boys,” almost no one was talking about boys’ academic, social and vocational problems. Now, 12 years later, the press, books and academic journals are teeming with such accounts. Witness the crop of books in recent years: Leonard Sax’s “Boys Adrift,” Liza Mundy’s “The Richer Sex,” Hanna Rosin’s “The End of Men.”
In a revised version of the book, I’ve changed the subtitle — to “How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men” from “How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men” — and moved away from criticizing feminism; instead I emphasized boy-averse trends like the decline of recess, zero-tolerance disciplinary policies, the tendency to criminalize minor juvenile misconduct and the turn away from single-sex schooling. As our schools have become more feelings-centered, risk-averse, collaboration-oriented and sedentary, they have moved further and further from boys’ characteristic sensibilities. Concerns about boys arose during a time of tech bubble prosperity; now, more than a decade later, there are major policy reasons — besides the stale “culture wars” of the 1990s — to focus on boys’ schooling.
One is the heightened attention to school achievement as the cornerstone of lifelong success. Grades determine entry into advanced classes, enrichment programs and honor societies. They open — or close — doors to higher education. “If grade disparities emerge this early on, it’s not surprising that by the time these children are ready to go to college, girls will be better positioned,” says Christopher M. Cornwell, an economist at the University of Georgia and an author of the new study, along with his colleague David B. Mustard and Jessica Van Parys of Columbia University.
A second reason is globalization. Richard Whitmire, an education writer, and William Brozo, a literacy expert, write that “the global economic race we read so much about — the marathon to produce the most educated work force, and therefore the most prosperous nation — really comes down to a calculation: whichever nation solves these ‘boy troubles’ wins the race.” That’s probably an overstatement, but we do know that the large-scale entry of women into the work force paid large economic dividends. It stands to reason that raising male academic achievement is essential to raising labor productivity and, ultimately, living standards.
A third reason: improving the performance of black, Latino and lower-income kids requires particular attention to boys. Black women are nearly twice as likely to earn a college degree as black men. At some historically black colleges, the gap is astounding: Fisk is now 64 female; Howard, 67 percent; Clark Atlanta, 75 percent. The economist Andrew M. Sum and his colleagues at the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University examined the Boston Public Schools and found that for the graduating class of 2007, there were 191 black girls for every 100 boys going on to attend a four-year college or university. Among Hispanics, the ratio was 175 girls for every 100 boys; among whites, 153 for every 100.
Young men from middle-class or more comfortable backgrounds aren’t lagging quite as far behind, but the gender gap exists there, too. Judith Kleinfeld, a psychology professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, analyzed the reading skills of white males from college-educated families. She showed that at the end of high school, 23 percent of the these boys scored “below basic,” compared with 7 percent of their female counterparts. “This means that almost one in four boys who have college-educated parents cannot read a newspaper with understanding,” she wrote.
WHAT might we do to help boys improve? For one thing, we can follow the example of the British, the Canadians and the Australians. They have openly addressed the problem of male underachievement. They are not indulging boys’ tendency to be inattentive. Instead, they are experimenting with programs to help them become more organized, focused and engaged. These include more boy-friendly reading assignments (science fiction, fantasy, sports, espionage, battles); more recess (where boys can engage in rough-and-tumble as a respite from classroom routine); campaigns to encourage male literacy; more single-sex classes; and more male teachers (and female teachers interested in the pedagogical challenges boys pose).
These efforts should start early, but even high school isn’t too late. Consider Aviation High School in New York City. A faded orange brick building with green aluminum trim, it fits comfortably with its gritty neighbors — a steelyard, a tool-supply outlet and a 24-hour gas station and convenience store — in Long Island City, Queens.
On a visit to Aviation I observed a classroom of 14- and 15-year-olds focused on constructing miniaturized, electrically wired airplane wings from mostly raw materials. In another class, students worked in teams — with a student foreman and crew chief — to take apart and then rebuild a small jet engine in just 20 days. In addition to pursuing a standard high school curriculum, Aviation students spend half of the day in hands-on classes on airframes, hydraulics and electrical systems. They put up with demanding English and history classes because unless they do well in them, they cannot spend their afternoons tinkering with the engine of a Cessna 411.
The school’s 2,200 pupils — mostly students of color, from low-income households — have a 95 percent attendance rate and a 90 percent graduation rate, with 80 percent going on to college. The school is coed; although girls make up only 16 percent of the student population, they appear to be flourishing. The New York City Department of Education has repeatedly awarded Aviation an “A” on its annual school progress reports. U.S. News & World Report has cited it as one of the best high schools in the nation.
“The school is all about structure,” an assistant principal, Ralph Santiago, told me. The faculty emphasizes organization, precision, workmanship and attention to detail. The students are kept so busy and are so fascinated with what they are doing that they have neither the time nor the desire for antics.
Not everyone of either sex is interested in airplanes. But vocational high schools with serious academic requirements are an important part of the solution to male disengagement from school.
I can sympathize with those who roll their eyes at the relatively recent alarm over boys’ achievement. Where was the indignation when men dominated higher education, decade after decade? Isn’t it time for women and girls to enjoy the advantages? The impulse is understandable but misguided. I became a feminist in the 1970s because I did not appreciate male chauvinism. I still don’t. But the proper corrective to chauvinism is not to reverse it and practice it against males, but rather basic fairness. And fairness today requires us to address the serious educational deficits of boys and young men. The rise of women, however long overdue, does not require the fall of men.
This article was written by CH Sommers for the New York Times. The original article for this blog post can be found by clicking HERE
BE A MAN.
I’m pro-marriage. I always have been, always will be and I’ll make no apologies for it. As a matter of fact, most of you should be apologizing to me. Yeah, I said it. Whether you're one with a successful marriage who's remained silent on its myriad virtues, or merely a single, lonely critic... America, you've got some 'splaining to do.
Sadly, marriage has become a punchline in today’s society. From referring to the wife as “the old ball and chain” to nearly every poorly written sitcom that we watch, the message we’re sending to today’s generation is clear… Marriage = no fun.
Men on TV constantly joke about how wives are incredibly expensive, demanding and overall vacuums of all things fun. By that same token, the women complain about their fat, lazy, insensitive husbands as they swoon over their trimmed, manicured and chest-waxed Hollywood counterparts.
Ever see a commercial with a wife and husband shopping together? Yeah, we always play the idiot.
I know plenty of people my age that will never get married because they genuinely believe the false cultural meme that marriage has sadly become. There’s only one problem. It’s completely untrue.
Even more of a problem, those who know it to be untrue often do nothing to correct the lie.
As someone who comes from a family of lifers (along with my wife), I just want to say, flat out…
… Marriage is a really good deal.
Let’s assume for a second that you don’t think of humans as inherently spiritual beings. So let’s remove the fact that married people claim to be happier, more fulfilled, complete and purposeful. Some of you are even thinking,
“Love? Who needs love!”
Okay. Here are a few purely statistical reasons as to why marriage (when done correctly) is conducive to an undeniably better life. Hold onto your butts.
1. You’ll be richer – Yes. Not only do married couples make more, save more, have a higher net worth and qualify for more benefits/financial incentives than lonely, single folk… but your kids will be richer too. Which brings me to my next point
2. Would somebody please think of the children!! – The single biggest indicator of child poverty is whether both original parents are still together. Not only that, but children in married households get better grades, are less disruptive in class and less likely to develop behavioral disorders than children from non-married households. So be married long and prosper. Your kids will too.
3. You’ll have more sex… A LOT MORE SEX – Okay so you may not want kids. You may despise them. I get it. Sticky hands. Let’s say you’re just another selfish, narcissistic bachelor (or bachelorette) who quite frankly, isn’t deserving of the unconditional love you may oh-so-luckily find. You just want the sex. Statistically, not only do married people have more sex, they have better, more satisfying sex. If the two of you should hold off on sex until marriage, those statistics become even more promising. Here’s a perfect example of where Hollywood gets it wrong. In the real world, while Alfie fruitlessly toiled away at picking up harlots from the bar, suffering a mean case of whiskey-wiener, Mr. Cleaver was getting busy on the regular. Them’s the real breaks.
4. You won’t be such a pathetic sloth – Married people are more productive. Married men in particular, have higher employment rates, work longer hours and receive better wages. It’s time to stop wading through puddles of your own filth as you reach for the hotpockets and have a dame whip you into shape. You’re welcome.
5. Don’t die sick, miserable and alone. This would seem to be self-explanatory. Sadly, it’s not. Young people think that being young and single is the “fun and free” time of your life, while marriage is something that can wait for the days when you’re ready to grow fat, boring and settle down. Married people not only live longer lives, they live healthier lives. There are too many factors at play here to even list. From married people statistically maintaining healthier weights, being more active and having lower mortality rates, to married women incurring less severe illnesses, enjoying better cancer survival rates and of course… lower rates of domestic abuse (as opposed to those merely cohabitating). Yes ladies, it’s true, living with an uncommitted, self-absorbed jackass can be hazardous to your health.
All of this to basically say that people need to start being more honest and vocal about the virtues of marriage. Americans need to stop feeding and buying into the lie that we’ve all been fed. Whether you’re young old, male, female, marriage (when done correctly) will make your life, and this country better off. The facts are undeniable. If the facts aren’t enough, maybe this’ll help…
Picture coming home every night to your best friend, your greatest fan, and your number one supporter. She (or he) makes each good day better, and each bad day good again. Every day, you get to live what is essentially a 24/7 sleepover party with the greatest friend you’ve ever had.
… Now add sex and sandwiches.
Get married, like, now.
This post was written by Steve Crowder. For the original post, go to: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/26/man-top-5-reasons-to-grow-up-and-get-married/
BE A MAN.
If you stumble into sin, believer, don't give up; don't allow hopelessness to consume you, the deceitfulness of sin to blind you, or the weight of shame to defeat you. In the morning and evening prayer we pray, in part, the following: "I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not fall" (Ps. 16:8
). Christ is
at your right hand, and this fall shall not be final for you; He took the final fall.
Yes, you may feel as though your worst day has cast a shadow over you that will never break to show the light of day, but, happily, you're wrong. God, in Christ, has declared you to be righteous (2 Cor. 5:21
). Of the righteous we read: "for though they fall seven times, they will rise again" (Prov. 24:16
NRSV). You will rise, friend, because Christ will lift you up. He took the ultimate fall in order that you should rise.
No one knows how many times I've had to encourage myself, thinking these thoughts, repeating the words of this post to myself. How I didn't play dead but arose from sin is a testimony to God's sheer grace. This post is as much an exhortation to myself as it is for anyone else experiencing difficulties or tragedies, whether self-caused or otherwise.
What do you do on the worst day of your life? Rise: not because you're inherently worthy of being named righteous. Rise because the one who took the ultimate fall declares you righteous. Rise because, though you sinned, though you deserve the fate of the wicked like the rest of us, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1
But rise, too, because you neither honor the Lord nor serve the body of Christ by remaining fallen. Don't play dead, possum. In Christ you have been made alive (Col. 2:13
). Play dead to your old, sinful nature or past. But in Christ, even when you sin, don't play dead -- don't remain defeated. In Him you are more than one who has conquered all spiritually negative realities (Rom. 8:37
). "So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1
You can avoid re-offending others by rising, and thinking healthy, spiritual thoughts: "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil. 4:8
). All offenses begin with thoughts. We are instructed to destroy arguments raised up against the knowledge of God.
But the apostle Paul also added, "We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle
raised up against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5
NRSV, emphasis added). How many thoughts rise up against the reality of God's holy existence and righteous standards? We are taught to destroy such thoughts, to take them captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5
I picture such thoughts as personified. I imagine capturing them, putting them into a prison cell, while Christ stands watch over them as Guard. If I fail to do so, then I may entertain such thoughts, have them affect me emotionally, and then obey them. When I obey them, I sin. "But one is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved" (James 1:15-16
But when you sin, no matter the degree, take it immediately to Christ. "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9
NRSV). Don't let sin drag you into a hopeless, despondent, dejected place, out of which you feel impossible to escape. By His grace and forgiveness you rise up, and you keep rising up. You don't rise up only once. You will need to rise up every time you fall.
More than that, you will need to rise up every time you think
about a past fall. Such thoughts about your past have a tendency to paralyze you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Paralyzed, you will play dead. No: in Christ you must rise up from the guilt of your past. Though you fall seven times a day, you will rise -- you must
rise (Prov. 24:16
The Lord foreknew every sin you would ever commit when He by grace through faith in Christ saved your soul. You don't ever take Him by surprise by any thought, desire, or action. In Christ He has already declared you holy, sanctified (set apart from the world and for His service and care), and righteous. You don't let Him down because you don't hold Him up.
You are becoming more and more like Christ (Rom. 8:29
), slow as such may seem, and your heavenly Father understands completely all of your eccentricities, particularities, and unique qualities. This is how, you see, you keep on rising. Give your defeats to the One who defeated sin, death, and hell (1 Cor. 15:56-57
; 1 John 3:8
). Give your hopelessness to the God of hope (Rom. 15:13
). Whatever you do, don't play dead, possum, but rise. This post was written by William Watson Birch. You can find the original post with comments here: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/01/saturday-devotion-dont-play-dead.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…”
This last week an email arrived from an organization that helps churches market themselves. They have some good ideas for selling pizza, but fall short in dealing with a community of faith. Let me explain, first their ideas: 1. People Must Have a Need to Come to Your Church. Develop a sermon series that meet needs in people’s lives. Remember the top 10 resolutions people make for the New Year. Picking one of them from the list would be a great way to insure you are meeting a need. 2. People Must Believe That Your Church Will Fulfill Their Need. Publish your sermon titles outlining action steps that meet that need. You must establish a need in their lives then provide the ultimate answer to that need. 3. People Must Decide That Your Church is The Right Church for Them. List the benefits your church offers them and their families in every marketing endeavor. PEOPLE DO NOT BY (sic) PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, PEOPLE BUY BENEFITS. 4. People Must Decide The Time To Come to Your Church Is Now. Create urgency with timely sermon series that people won’t want to miss. This is almost a no brainer for the first of the year. THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW...THE NEW YEAR. THE CALENDAR HAS DONE THE WORK FOR YOU. A pastor's response: 1. People need Jesus.
First, last, and in between. Period. Without this simple, but foundational principle, everything else is lost. It does not mean we ignore the other needs of people, such as food, friends, and future; but if we forget this one need nothing else matters. 2. People want a community of faith where they can help others.
We live in extremely narcissistic times. Many people want their own needs met and then the church may become a place of division and self-seeking. People seeking a church want a place where their presence is seen as a gift and their gifts have a purpose to be used in ministry. 3. A community of faith is people who would not normally hang out together except for the presence of Jesus. Too long church growth was built on the principle of sameness,
birds of a feather flock together. We have tried that, we know it works temporarily and then it does not work. Our most effective communities of faith have tremendous variety and respect between different people. If church just fulfills self-centered benefits then it collapses on itself. 4. People come to faith when the season is right.
We can not create that season on a calendar. Few people become faithful due to a new year’s resolution. My experience says people will become faithful to Jesus when a change occurs in their life. It may be sparked by an exterior event, like a birth of a child, change of marital status, employment, or health; but for it to be permanent, it is a change in the heart. It is the Holy Spirit who changes hearts. We pray for the wind of change by the power of God, we do not create the wind by blowing harder.
I hope you see two very different visions. Do you want your Church based on human effort and marketing where the pastors and staff are here to serve your needs or do you want to be a part of a community of faith centered on Jesus Christ? Do you want your church in competition with other churches to provide a better show with greater benefits, or are we a community of faith calling each baptized member into service and selflessness? Do you want your church manipulating people to do what we want, or are we a community of faith “waiting upon the Lord”?
The post was written by Rev. Dr. Danny WaymanBE HOLY.BE A MAN.