Tag Archive: Marriage

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Women Aren’t “Wired” to be Breadwinners Says Lori Alexander

lori-alexander

There are way too many women I hear about who are postponing marriage and having children for their careers. Then when they finally get married, their husbands want them to continue working since they make good money. Reality is proving that this isn’t good for marriage. Suzanne Venker wrote about this. “Nevertheless, the new reality of many women outpacing men educationally and sometimes financially has serious implications for marriage.” God created men to be the providers and women to be the keepers at home. This is His plan and nothing that men and women do today will every change this.

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No, God did NOT wire women to be men. He didn’t wire them to be the providers. Our hormones prove this. Our physical build proves this. Everything about us proves that this is not our role in society no matter how hard feminists have fought to say that it is. They will NEVER outsmart God and His plan for us. Never.

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Even though many men want their wives to continue working because they see dollar signs instead of a mother at home with her children, it harms the marriage since the husband is last on the totem pole for the wife’s attention. She only has so much energy and most of her energy must go to her work to keep it, then to her children, then her home, and nothing is left for her husband. It’s too steep of a price to pay for extra money. Way too steep of a price. Men have ten times the testosterone for a reason. They are the ones created by our Creator to go out and “slay the dragons,” as Dr. Laura always used to say. Many women who try to do this eventually suffer from burned out adrenals and ill-health.

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Half of medical and dental school students are women these days. This is tragic for the women: for the men whose jobs they are taking away, for the lack of children they will be having, and for their future marriage. Stop the madness, women. Don’t pursue a high-powered career that makes a lot of money. Marry a godly husband who wants to work hard and be the provider.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Women Aren’t Wired to Be Providers, November 21, 2017

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Hey Girls, Having Close Male Friends After You Are Married is Unwise Says Bethany Baird

bethany bairdWhen guys and girls are close friends, often someone becomes emotionally attached. One person just wants to “be friends” and the other person is left sad and brokenhearted. I’ve been there! If two people who are “just friends” develop a deep and emotionally driven friendship, one of them is bound to come out with a broken heart.

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When a guy friend has a listening ear and we’ve got a lot going on, it can be really tempting to pour out our hearts to the closest guy friend available. If guy friends are all we’ve got, the temptation to open up and share the deepest parts of our heart with someone who isn’t our boyfriend or husband is hard to resist.

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Consider this: Once you’re married [Baird is single, by the way], is it beneficial to maintain deep friendships with guys who aren’t your husband? No way! It’s not wise or healthy. That means that all of your current deep guy friendships are all short-term. If you’re investing most of your time into guy friendships, what will you have once you get married? Who will stand up next to you in your wedding? Who will be there to laugh and cry with, to love, and to challenge you during your future marriage? Guy friendships just can’t realistically be maintained like that long-term.

— Bethany Baird, Lies Young Women Believe, When Guy Friendships Are Easier Than Girl Friendships, November 27, 2017

Black Collar Crime: Former Evangelical Youth Pastor Roshad Thomas Charged with Sexually Molesting Children

roshad thomas

Roshad Thomas, former youth pastor at Calvary Chapel in Tallahassee, Florida and founder of Crosswild Ministries, (link no longer active) has been arrested for sexually molesting children.

WTXL-27 reports:

A former youth pastor has been arrested for sex acts with children.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office arrested 41-year-old Roshad Thomas on six counts of sex offense against a child.

On July 11, special victims unit detectives spoke to a victim who said Thomas had fondled the victim about 10 years ago when the victim was 13 years old.

As detectives investigated, they found four more victims.

Deputies say each one described sexual encounters with Thomas from 2007-2014. Thomas voluntarily spoke to detectives Monday.

After the interview, he was taken to jail.

According to his LinkedIn page, Thomas was the director of student programs at Live the Life and co-author of Champions, a curriculum for teenage boys.

He is also the founder of realife Inc. and CRosSwild Ministries.(link no longer active)

Prior to that, Thomas served as a high school guidance counselor, community activist, and youth pastor at Calvary Chapel Tallahassee.

The Tallahassee Democrat adds:

A Tallahassee youth counselor who worked at Maclay School as a life management teacher has been arrested in connection with molesting children.

Roshad Thomas, a 41-year-old former director of student programs at Live the Life and Maclay life management, was arrested by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Monday on six counts of child fondling.

Court documents detailing the incidents have not yet been filed, but Thomas’ name appeared in Tuesday’s Leon County Jail booking report. He is being held at the jail without bond and appeared before a judge Tuesday morning.

LCSO detectives say a victim came forward to say Thomas had fondled him or her about 10 years ago at age 13. Four others came forward during the investigation, according to an LCSO news release. The victims described sexual encounters with Thomas between 2007 and 2014.

After Thomas voluntarily spoke with investigators Monday, he was arrested.

A statement from Maclay’s Director of Communications Kim McWilliams confirmed Thomas was contracted to teach three life management classes in the upper school but that none of the allegations surrounding his arrest involve Maclay students.

“Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that Roshad Thomas, a former member of the Maclay School faculty, who taught Life Management in the Upper School during the 2016-2017 school year, was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct committed prior to 2015,” McWilliams wrote. “Mr. Thomas also worked with several of our sports teams and Middle School Life Management classes. After speaking with the authorities, the allegations do not involve any students from Maclay.”

Emails obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat between parents and Maclay’s Headmaster James Milford that indicate Thomas was hired in 2016 as the lead of a program for character education.

Parents express concern with the contracted “Get Real” program’s connection to Live the Life’s faith-based messaging and teachings. The optional “risky sexual behavior” reduction program was directed at seventh and eighth-grade students and described as secular without mention of faith or religion.

“Get Real training is a highly successful skills course approved by the federal government which teaches students how, why and when to exercise self-control and how to develop healthy relationships,” an email detailing the program to parents said.

McWilliams said Thomas used the “Get Real” curricula along with others in his teaching.

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Thomas hasn’t worked at the Tallahassee offices of Live the Life since January 2016, said Zac Funari, an executive assistant to the organization’s Founding President Richard Albertson. Funari said the organization was in the middle of reemploying Thomas for a South Florida position but those talks have stopped.

Albertson in a statement said Thomas worked fr Live the Life, along with other organizations, around the time of the incidents but the organization has not been contacted by law enforcement leading him to believe the allegations did not involve children in the program.

“Live the Life was one of a number of agencies that Roshad was associated with during part of the time frame that the incidents allegedly took place,” Alberrtson wrote. “We have not been contacted by the sheriff’s department, any of the victims, or any of the families of the victims, which leads us to believe that all of the incidents occurred outside of Roshad’s involvement with our organization. And if we are contacted by the authorities, we will cooperate in any way possible. If these allegations are true, our primary concern is for the students whose lives have been turned upside down because of the faith and trust they gave innocently to an adult in a position of power and great influence.”

A bio for Thomas appeared on the website of John Rosemond, a parenting and family raising psychologist, public speaker, author and syndicated columnist. It was taken down Tuesday (link no longer active) but included the number for the Tallahassee office of Live the Life and a link to the organization’s website.

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According to Thomas’ bio page:

Roshad Thomas is an accomplished and world-renowned public speaker, counselor, consultant, and mentor for teens and parents of all races and cultures. He has spoken at numerous organizations, seminars, retreats, churches, and events and has an unparalleled ability to quickly connect with his audience whether it is one person or hundreds. His laid back humorous style coupled with his vast experience allows him to address any issue in a way that is comfortable yet informative.

Having been on the front lines as a high school guidance counselor and community activist for almost 10 years, Roshad is extremely knowledgeable about issues that teens and parents deal with on a daily basis and is able to consistently provide practical guidance and solutions on many levels. This has earned him the title of expert in the eyes of many. When he speaks or presents, his passion, love, and excitement are revealed in a way where you not only leave feeling full of wisdom and inspired, but you’ll immediately want to bring him back.

Roshad is the founder of realife inc. and CRosSWILD Ministries. He received his B.S. in Psychology with honors distinction from Florida State University. He continued his graduate education at Florida State University and received his Master’s and Specialist degrees in Counseling and Human Systems, specializing in children and adolescents. He was certified in Guidance counseling for 12 years by Florida Department of Education. Trained personally under worldwide parent guru John Rosemond in parent coaching. He is also one of the few nationally certified Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist in the state of Florida as certified by the NAEA and has been invited to be featured on the national website parentguru.com.

– Masters and Specialist degree in Counseling from Florida State University

– Certified High School Guidance Counselor from 2000-2012

– Trained personally under parenting expert John Rosemond

– Certified Parent Coach

– Co-Author of Champions Curriculum for Teenage Boys

– 15 years experience working with teens in Tallahassee

– Certified Specialist in Sexual Risk Avoidance

– Certified Get REAL (Relationship Education and Leadership) Training

– Features on National parenting website parentguru.com

Thomas’ LinkedIn profile states: (link no longer active)

Roshad Thomas is an accomplished and world-renowned public speaker, counselor, consultant, and mentor for teens and parents of all races and cultures. He has spoken at numerous organizations, seminars, retreats, churches, and events and has an unparalleled ability to quickly connect with his audience whether it is one person or hundreds. His laid back humorous style coupled with his vast experience allows him to address any issue in a way that is comfortable yet informative.

Having been on the front lines as a high school guidance counselor and community activist for almost 10 years, Roshad is extremely knowledgeable about issues that teens and parents deal with on a daily basis and is able to consistently provide practical guidance and solutions on many levels. This has earned him the title of expert in the eyes of many. When he speaks or presents, his passion, love and excitement are revealed in a way where you not only leave feeling full of wisdom and inspired, you’ll immediately want to bring him back.

Roshad is the Director of Student Programs at Live the Life and founder of CRosSWILD Ministries. He received his B.S. in Psychology with honors distinction from Florida State University. He continued his graduate education at Florida State University and received his Master’s and Specialist degrees in Counseling and Human Systems, specializing in children and adolescents. He was certified in Guidance counseling for 12 years by Florida Department of Education. Trained personally under worldwide parent guru John Rosemond in parent coaching. He is also one of the few nationally certified Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist in the state of Florida as certified by the NAEA.

To set up an appointment or book him as speaker, call Live the Life at 850-668-3700 or visit www.livethelife.org.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Thomas was a youth pastor at Calvary Chapel in Tallahassee, Florida for almost fourteen years. For seven years, Thomas was the student life director for Live the Life. Live the Life’s website states that their mission is:

Communities will become “divorce-free zones”, where divorces are rarely, if ever, wanted or needed, and where strong marriages are encouraged, nurtured, developed, and maintained. As our dream comes true, more children will grow up in safe, happy, and healthy married families characterized by nurturing parents, permanence and better life outcomes.

Update

The Tallahassee Democrat reports:

As many as 10 men have come forward telling Leon County Sheriff’s Office investigators they, as teens, were fondled by Tallahassee youth counselor and pastor Roshad Thomas.

Thomas, who already is facing six counts of child fondling, was charged with an additional five counts of lewd and lascivious acts or exhibitionism with children on Tuesday.

After the 41-year-old was first arrested on July 17, LCSO investigators learned more about how he used his position to gain access to young boys. Five others came forward to say they too were victims.

One man, who was 12 at the time of the incident, said his parents asked Thomas to counsel him during their divorce. The first time he was “groped,” the now adult victim told investigators, was when his parents dropped him off at a Walmart parking lot and he left with Thomas.

From that encounter in 2009, according to court records, he was fondled by Thomas as many as 10 times.

The victim said after he turned 15, Thomas called to say, “I hope you understand I love you and anything I might have done to you was purely out of godly love,” according to court records.

The other four victims leveling accusations against Thomas, who at one point worked as a counselor at various churches in Tallahassee and as a life management teacher at Maclay School, said they were groped while spending time at his home.

The victims ranged in age from 11 to 15, according to court records. The reported incidents date back to 2007.

Each told LCSO investigators Thomas would grab their genitals in a joking manner and would create a feeling of trust between them. One said Thomas told him he had been approached about being too playful when he touched the boys and indicated he would stop if asked.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Godly Men are on a Superior Level to “Unsubmissive” Women

wives submission

Good men, God-fearing men are very very important. We all heard “cut off the head”, right?!?! The enemy knows this so he makes it a point to destroy relationships between man and woman. Satan hates the man that knows not only to protect the woman from the dangers of the natural world but also from the more dangerous  supernatural world. These men are rare, the ones that lead families etc. in the ways of God. They’re on another level placed there by their continued submission to God. Promoted by God for His glory. So that woman must get on his level. Not the level he put himself on but the level God is placing him on. Samson was messing with females that weren’t on his level and it cost him his life and anointing. The woman can’t jump ship when the trials and tests hit the home. She shouldn’t tell the man to “curse God and die” like Job’s wife did, because she blames him for all the drama and pain in her life, yet he was blindsided by it all too. A woman that submits to God and a man of God will be honored by her husband. He will brag on her at the gates, lol. God created an order, a structure. Women say they want good men but for some reason they keep throwing their lures in the same wrong pond(club, bar etc). Murky water! God’s pond crystal clear but get your level up ladies by seeking Him and He just might grant you access to peaceful waters.

— EmJay, Seeking His Kingdom, A Word to the Ladies From EmJay, April 25, 2017

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Married Women Should Submit to Their Husbands in Everything by Ken Alexander

women submit to husband

“Wives should submit to their husbands in everything” is a fundamental command for all those who want to do marriage God’s way. One can never arrive at a point where two have truly become one flesh until the two are in union and harmony with each other. This is not to say that a wife leaves wisdom behind once she takes her vows, nor does it mean she is to follow her husband into sin. Submission is to be the natural response of a godly wife to a loving husband, and when he is not loving her as he should, submission is still the response of the wife who desires to obey her Lord and Savior in everything.

God’s Word is very plain and straightforward but each verse of the Bible is informed by its immediate context and the Bible as a whole. So what are some of those times that “in everything” does not mean “EVERYTHING?”

For the few Christians who are bent on taking a wooden literal approach to this passage. it is important to understand that language and literature are intended to be understood as the common reader would understand it. Imagine all the qualifiers the apostles under the influence of the Spirit would have to give in order to communicate if they were not free to assume that the readers would be reasonable and informed in their understanding of what they are writing.

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The twists and excuses that many Christian wives, and too often Christian pastors, use to get around the clear instructions for a wife to submit in everything, often consign the Christian marriage into a structure that God does not intend for marriage. In these marriages a husband leads only so far as the wife allows him to lead, and he must relegate his decision making to his wife’s final authority as to whether he is being loving towards her or meets her test of how she feels about God’s leading her on the matter. Both of these concepts clearly violate the intent of “in everything.” So the fear that any exception to the rule will be turned by a wife into rendering the passage meaningless is not without merit, nor without common day practice in many Christian marriages today.

Even recognizing the proclivity of women to twist and turn a clear passage like this one into meaninglessness, Lori and I are not going to insist that the “in everything” means EVERYTHING when it clearly does not endorse following a husband into sin or abuse. Our job as teachers is not to wrestle wives into a box of submission because it is best for them, especially when married to godly guys, but instead to try and lead Christian women to choose to willingly submit to the one they chose to marry, to love and to lead them. This fear of “give a wife an inch and she will take a yard” is not what should dictate our understanding of God’s Word.

Instead, love demands that a husband patiently wait on his wife to grow up into a marriage where is she is willing to follow him into everything he leads her in so long as it is “as to the Lord” and without sin. She must learn that unless the Bible is clearly against what her husband desires of her she is to submit if she wants to do marriage God’s way. If she is unsure as to whether she should submit or not, she should not rely on her own individual interpretation of the Word, nor on her feelings of what God is telling her, but test if it is sin or not by speaking to an older godly woman or an elder’s wife.

— Ken Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Does Submitting to Husbands in everything mean EVERYTHING?, March 6, 2017

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Fornication Leads to All Sorts of Diseases by Steven Anderson

fornicationFlee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18

Fornication is defined as a man and a woman sleeping together before marriage. This sin is condemned throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. We are all sinners, but not all sin is equal. The Bible teaches that fornication is so serious that it can get you thrown out of the church.

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If you are saved and sleeping with someone you aren’t married to, you need to repent of that sin. If you are living together, and you’re not married, then you are living in sin. If you plan to keep coming to church, your options are to get married or stop living together.

The Bible teaches that we should only have physical relations within marriage, so if you aren’t married yet, you need to deny that ungodly lust and wait until you get married to enjoy the benefits of marriage. If you aren’t ready to marry the person you are dating, then you shouldn’t be sleeping together. Have some self-control and respect for your body!

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People who commit fornication for the first time often do not end up marrying that person but go on to be with person after person. Our bodies were not designed to exchange bacteria with hundreds of different people. In fact, there are infections people can get that are not considered STDs per say but are virtually unheard of in people who got married as virgins and have had only one partner. I realize that people die and their spouse can remarry, but sleeping with more than a few people in your lifetime is very unhealthy. In fact, the Bible calls it filthy.

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So many women today are in relationships where they would like to get married, but the guy won’t marry them. These jerks need to do the right thing, but the women are also to blame. Unfortunately, the old adage still holds true: Why buy the cow if you can get the milk free?

— Steven Anderson, Faithful Word Baptist Church, Flee Fornication, January 16, 2017

Note

All of us, virtually every moment of every day, exchange bacteria, viruses, dead skin, feces, urine, dirt, buggers…..shall I go on?….with hundreds of different people. The very act of breathing exposes us to countless bacteria and viruses. I wonder if Anderson is aware of the fact that he has likely been exposed to “atheist” bacteria, even without having carnal relations with atheists.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: God Hates Divorce by Brian Hobbs

brian hobbs

One Texas lawmaker is trying to make no-fault divorce no more in the Lone Star State.

Texas State Rep. Matt Krause of Ft. Worth filed a bill that would effectively disallow divorce on the grounds of “insupportability,” meaning no-fault divorces.

Currently “all 50 states offer some type of no-fault divorce, (and) in 17 states and the District of Columbia, you can only file for divorce on no-fault grounds,” said a KXAN-TV news story.

Meanwhile, evidence shows that a majority of divorces in Texas are filed on no-fault grounds, and Krause believes this policy will lead to a decline in divorce and family breakdown.

“I think people have seen the negative effects of divorce and the breakdown of the family for a long time. I think this could go some way in reversing that trend,” he said.

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Currently, Texas offers six categories of fault-based divorces, including: “adultery, cruelty, abandonment and a felony conviction, living apart for at least three years or confinement to a mental hospital.” Krause said the bill would establish “some type of due process. There needs to be some kind of mechanism to where that other spouse has a defense.”

The idea of re-introducing fault is not about assigning blame as much as it is about treating divorce more seriously and substantively. Krause cited a Heritage Foundation report that said, “A recent University of Texas study of divorced spouses found that only a third of them felt that they had done enough to try to save their marriage. Moreover, children of divorce disproportionately suffer from such maladies as depression, compromised health, childhood sexual abuse, arrests and addiction.”

Whether or not the bill ever becomes law, the policy idea itself raises some important issues for Christians to consider. As Christians, we understand the devastating effects of divorce and have seen it in our own families, neighborhoods, churches and communities.

If we are perfectly honest, we will admit that divorce has become all too commonplace and convenient. We further recognize that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16) and that, according to Jesus, it was because of the hardness of their hearts, that God permitted divorces among the Israelites, “but it was not this way from the beginning” (Matt. 19:8).

Even though Jesus and the Apostle Paul have outlined some limited Scriptural grounds for divorce, we have institutionalized divorce in a way that would have shocked Paul. We also have lost sight of the fact that divorce is a tragic step. To that end, churches should not leave it to politicians to address runaway divorce and family breakdown.

— Brian Hobbs, The Baptist Messenger, Conventional Thinking: Ex-es in Texas, No More?, January 13, 2017

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: It’s All About Marriage by Sam Allberry

sam-allberry

When it comes to God’s sexual ethic, there’s a clear rationale for what’s commanded. His Word doesn’t so much show us a theology of sexuality or sexual ethics as it does a theology of marriage. Human marriage, we see repeatedly, is to point us to the ultimate marriage between Jesus and his bride, the church. It’s a signpost to the big thing God is doing in the universe—drawing together a people to belong to his Son. That vision explains the contours and boundaries we see in Scripture’s teaching about marriage. Once we unpack it we see why God insists that sex is for marriage (since only in a covenantal relationship with him do we have the ability to be vulnerable and intimate); that marriage is between one man and one woman (since God brings together two unlike yet complementary beings in a union); and why Christians are to marry only those in the faith (since our union with Christ means we cannot painlessly unite with someone who doesn’t also belong to him).

Sam Allberry, The Gospel Coalition, Do You Have to Like God’s Commands?, November 14, 2016

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Woman, Make Me a Sammich by Lori Alexander

womens-workLife isn’t about “following our dreams/achieving our career aspirations” if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. His Lordship over our lives demands that we do what He has asked us to do and give Him the glory, not ourselves. If we are doing anything for our own glory, we are doing the wrong thing. Unfortunately,  I fear that most women who pursue the dream of a career are doing so for the things they find are important while ignoring what God asks of them. The Lord God wants women to marry, bear children, and guide the home (1 Timothy 5:14). This is not only His will, but His best for Christian women. Being able to bear children and raise them for the Lord gives glory to the God and insures that another generation of godly offspring is born into the Kingdom of God. There is no higher calling upon a woman’s life, but that is not to say that God cannot or does not have other callings designed for women who never marry.

Getting an education and achieving career aspirations is far too often about giving glory to oneself. “What college are you going to, and what career path will you take?” are the common questions posed to most young Christian women, instead of asking the important question, “Have you given any consideration to what God clearly desires for Christian women?” Certainly if a woman is young and unmarried, she is free to pursue an education but as with everything in life she must count the cost. How many are in bondage to school debt and or feel trapped in careers and can’t quit when they have children? Don’t be at all fooled by the glitz and glamour and pleasures of this world. There is no free lunch,  so now is the time to count the cost of a career.

“It seems that, and tell me if I’m wrong, that you’re placing a woman’s sole worth on bearing children and creating a happy marriage for her husband.” Her worth comes from the Lord and not from anything she does. He is the one who wants women to bear children and raise godly offspring. What can be more important than raising the next generation? If she can’t have children or she doesn’t get married, the Lord can still use her in powerful ways in the lives of others since we should spend our lives serving others and giving our lives away.  Concerning marriage, the Word says, “She that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband (1 Corinthians 7:34). The Bible says the greatest of all is the servant of all. All Christian women should find a way to serve others and use their gifts to bring the Lord glory.
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“What is wrong with a woman having those same things even if there is a man or child in the picture?” If she is married, her priority should be to her husband and being the best help meet to him she can. If she comes home every day after working full time and is too exhausted to fix him a good meal, unable to keep the home clean and tidy, and not available sexually, she should either work less or not at all. God calls women to be keepers at home, not men. He also created wives to be their husband’s help meet, not vice versa. This is God’s will for us and when roles are clearly defined, marriage works easier. If there is a child in the picture, she should be with that child full time since he/she needs and wants their mother.
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Most women who just randomly find my blog have no idea why I teach what I teach. They mistakenly believe I am just thinking this all up on my own and sending women back 100 years. No, I am just teaching them to be a woman after God’s heart and not their own.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Should Women Have Career Aspirations?, October 12, 2016

Remember When Long Distance Telephone Service was Deregulated?

rotary phone

My wife and I began life quite simply when we married in July of 1978. Our monthly budget included debts such as:

  • Rent
  • Electric
  • Natural Gas
  • Water/sewer
  • Telephone
  • Sears
  • JC Penny

Over time, we added indebtedness to finance companies such as Modern Finance, Beneficial Finance, and several other loan companies. Polly and I had zero understanding about the real world of debt. Neither of us grew up in families that were smart about money. My parents ran up debt and skipped town, whereas Polly’s parents spent every penny they earned and put the rest on credit cards. Neither was a great example for a young married couple. This resulted in us making poor financial decisions. It took us a few years to figure out that if you don’t pay your gas/electric/phone bills you won’t have gas/electric/phone. I wouldn’t, even today, say that we handle money and debt very well. Things are certainly better, but medical bills are slowly choking the life out of our checkbook. That said, we have cellphones now, and it has been 35 years since we found a tag on our door saying that our gas/electric/phone was shut off. Progress, eh? 

In the 1980s, our primary form of communication was the telephone. There was one phone company, and phone choices were limited: black, white, pink and rotary or push button dial. That’s it. Per-minute charges for long distance could be as high as 25 cents. In the 1980s, thanks to deregulation, scores of companies entered the long distance telephone market. These companies offered all sorts of incentives for customers to sign up with them. For a couple of years, we received weekly enticements to change long distance companies. 

Many of these enticements were cash incentives in the form of checks. Signing and depositing the checks gave the long distance providers permission to change our service. I suspect, all told, we changed long distance providers a dozen times during the days of wild, wild west long-distance shoot outs. At the time, I was the pastor of Somerset Baptist Church in Mt. Perry, Ohio. We were quite poor, so the check inducements became a source of extra income. I never had a twinge of guilt about changing companies, I thought, at the time, if you are going to give me free money I am going to take it. The biggest incentive we ever received came from Sprint: $200 to switch to them. I could hardly believe that they were offering us so much money to change providers. I quickly endorsed and deposited the check, worried that Sprint might find out that we had been their customer several times before. Ah, those were the good old days. 

After several years of battling for customers, long distance providers realized that giving people large amounts of money to change providers was not financially sustainable. In the 1990s, companies would use similar incentives to attract new internet service customers. I am sure many readers can remember when our mail boxes were filled with offers from AOL, Prodigy, Compuserve, and a slew of dial-up internet service providers. These days, it’s cell phone companies, along with cable and satellite TV providers, who use cash incentives to attract new customers or steal customers away from their competitors. 

Do you remember the days of long distance deregulation? Please share your experiences in the comment section.

Thirty-Eight Years of Used Furniture 

new couch

Several weeks ago, Polly and I bought a brand-new loveseat and couch. This was a monumental decision for us. Prior to this purchase, we had never owned a brand-new couch. Never! Over the years, we bought second-hand furniture or used family castoffs. Our thinking went something like this: there is no need to buy nice furniture as long as you have children. As any parent knows, children are hard on furniture. From spills to flops, children can turn nice furniture into something from a CSI crime scene in a few years. And then came grandchildren, and we repeated the process all over again. Our last loveseat and couch came from a nearby secondhand store. I believe we paid $399 for the pair. Weathering the abuse of our grown children and grandchildren, this furniture had reached what they call in the tech industry its end of life. But even then, after eight years of service, we couldn’t bear to haul the furniture off to the landfill. Instead, several of our sons hauled the furniture out to the curb. We placed FREE signs on the furniture, hoping that someone might haul them away. Less than an hour later, a noisy beat up pickup truck pulled up to the curb and its passengers exited the truck, excited over their new find. They quickly loaded the furniture on the truck and drove away. Mission accomplished!

Polly and I love our new furniture. It’s nice, even at this late date in life, to have something new. Of course, we’ve turned into furniture Nazis, not allowing the cat or dog on the furniture, or allowing the grandkids to get anywhere near the furniture with food or drinks. Now if we can just get our adult children sippy cups for their beer and coffee, all will be well. In time, the new furniture will settle into the rhythm of our home, and then the dog and cat and grandkids too will know it’s okay to sit on Nana’s precious (said with Gollum’s voice).

After Ashley Furniture delivered the loveseat and couch, we decided that we also needed a new end table. We did not buy a new table, choosing instead to go to the used furniture store to find a table that would match the new furniture. The end table set us back $69. After that, we decided that we wanted to replace our entertainment center with something a little more understated, giving us more space in our small living room. For this purchase we bought ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture from the Sauder Woodworking Outlet Store in Archbold, Ohio. Polly chose a unit with colors that matched the new loveseat and couch. Thanks to a 35% employee discount, the new entertainment center cost $120. I spent time last night and today putting the unit together. Polly helped me finish off the project today. I am happy to report that I successfully put the unit together without swearing and without getting into an argument with the love of my life. My children will know that this is a huge milestone. Our older children likely remember the time Polly and I decided to hang wallpaper — together. Needless to say, things didn’t go well, with both of us realizing that we loved each other deeply, but hanging wallpaper together was a sure way to end up in divorce court. I am glad after 38 years of marriage that we are now able to somewhat work together on household projects. Who knows, we might just stay married.

How about you? Do you have any furniture stories to tell? Do you work well with your spouse or significant other? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Why Evangelical Beliefs and Practices are Psychologically Harmful — Part Two

submission

Evangelicalism is dominated by Bible literalism. God said it, and that settles it. There can be no debate or argument on the matter. An infallible God has spoken and his infallible words are recorded in an infallible book — the Protestant Christian Bible. Whatever the Bible teaches, Evangelicals are duty bound to believe and obey. While Evangelicals may argue about the finer points of this or that doctrine, calling oneself an Evangelical requires fidelity to certain, established doctrinal truths. Christianity is, after all, the faith once delivered to the saintsJesus is, after all, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Psychological manipulation is a common tool used by Evangelical preachers to force congregants to do their bidding. I hear the outrage of offended Evangelicals now, screaming for all to hear, that THEIR church is not like that; that their pastor is different. Maybe, perhaps, but I doubt it.

If their church or pastor really is different, it is likely because they are not really Evangelical. There are a lot of churches and pastors who are really liberals or progressives who fear making their true theological and social identities known. Fearing the mob, these thoughtful Evangelicals hide their true allegiances. I don’t fault them for doing so, but such churches and pastors are not representative of Evangelical belief and practice.

In particular, women face the brunt of Evangelical preaching against sin and disobedience. What do Evangelicals believe the Bible teaches about women?

  • Women are weaker than men.
  • Women are intellectually inferior, requiring men to teach and guide them.
  • Women are to submit to her husbands in the home and to male leadership in the church.
  • Women must never be permitted to have authority over men.
  • Women must dress modestly so that they don’t cause weak, pathetic men to lust after them.
  • The highest calling of women is to marry, bear children, and keep the home.
  • Feminism is a Satanic attack on God’s order for the church and home.

Think about this list for a moment. Are Evangelical women equal to men? No! Women are, at best, second class citizens. They must never be put in positions where they have control or power. Such places are reserved for men. We dare not question this. After all, it is God’s way

Is it any wonder that many Evangelical women lack self-esteem and think poorly of themselves? How could it be otherwise? Everywhere they look women are progressing, free to live their lives on their own terms. Yet, here they sit, chained to a ancient religious text and a religion that demeans women and views them as little more than slaves or chattel.

I am sure there are many Evangelical women who will vehemently object to my characterization of how they are treated by their churches, pastors, and husbands. In THEIR churches women are quite happy! They LOVE being submissive to their husbands as unto the Lord. They LOVE being relegated to cooking duty, janitorial work, and nursery work. They LOVE having no higher goals than having children, cooking meals, cleaning house, and never having a headache.

The bigger question is, WHY is it that many Evangelical women think living this way is normal and psychologically affirming — exactly what God ordered for their lives? Evangelical women don’t want to disobey God or displease their husbands or churches. Whatever God, pastors, male church leaders, and husbands want, Evangelical women give. This is their fate, and until the light of reason and freedom creeps in, Evangelical women will continue to bow at the feet of their Lords and do their bidding.

Once women break free from Evangelicalism, a thousand horses and one hundred arrogant, know it all preachers, couldn’t drag them back into the fold. Once free, they realize a whole new world awaits them. With freedom comes responsibility. No more defaulting to their husbands or pastors to make decisions for them. These women are free to make their own decisions. They quickly learns that life in the non-Evangelical world has its own problems and that women are not, in many cases, treated equally there either.

Over the years, I have watched numerous women break free from domineering, controlling Evangelical husbands. I have also watched women flee domineering churches and pastors. Some of these women went back to college to get an education. No longer content to be baby breeders, maids, cooks, and sex-on-demand machines, they turn to education to improve their place in life. Often, secular education provides a fuller view of the world and opens up all kinds of new opportunities for the women.

Sadly, this new life often leads to family problems. Husbands who have worn the pants for decades don’t like having their God-ordained authority challenged. This is especially true if the husbands remain active Evangelical church members. Many times, unable to weather dramatic changes, these mixed marriages end in divorce. Evangelicalism was the glue that held their marriages together, and once it was removed their marriage fell apart.

Some husbands and wives find ways to keep their marriages intact, although this is hard to do. Imagine living in a home where mothers and wives are considered rebellious, sinful, and wicked by their Evangelical husbands, pastors, friends. Imagine being considered a Jezebel.  Evangelicals are not kind to those who rebel against  their God and their interpretation of the Bible. The Bible says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Biblical literalism demands that these rebellious women be labelled as practitioners of witchcraft. Once considered devotees to God, the church, and their families, these women are now considered to be pariahs — servants of Satan who walk in darkness.

I want to end this post with a bit of personal commentary.

For a good part of my marriage to Polly, our marriage was pretty much as I described above. I was the head of the home. I made all the decisions. I was in charge, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Polly bore six children, cooked, and kept the home. On and off, when finances demanded it, she worked outside the home. and in her spare time, she homeschooled all six of our children, including one child with Down Syndrome.

Polly is a pastor’s daughter. Her goal in life was to be a pastor’s wife. She went to college to get an MRS degree. Polly is quiet and reserved, and thanks to forty plus years of Evangelical indoctrination, she is also quite passive. During the twenty-five years I spent pastoring churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan, Polly heartily embraced her preacher’s-wife responsibilities. She was a dutiful wife who always exemplified what it meant to being in be submission to God and her husband. Never saying a cross word or demanding her own way, Polly submitted to those who had the authority over her.

A decade ago, things began to change in our marriage. I finally realized how abusive and controlling I had been. Granted, I was just being the kind of Evangelical husband and pastor I thought I should be. I tried my best to follow the teachings of the Bible and the example of pastors I respected. Regardless of the whys of the matter, I must own my culpability in behaviors I now consider psychologically harmful

In November 2008. Polly and Bruce Gerencser — hand in hand — walked away from Christianity. For the first time in our lives we were free from the constraints of God, the Bible, and the ministry. We were free to choose how we wanted to live our lives; free to decide what kind of marriage we wanted to have.

In many ways, very little has changed. Polly still cooks, but now she whips up gourmet meals because she LOVES to do so. I still manage household finances, not because I am the head of the home, but because I am better with numbers than Polly is. Both of us take care of household chores. I still do most of the shopping, but I no longer make the list. I am the numbers guy, someone who can figure out price per ounce in my head. By the time Polly finds her calculator in that bottomless purse of hers, I already have the equation figured out. Each of us tries to do the things we are good at.

The biggest difference in our marriage is this: I now ask Polly, What do you think? What do you think we should do? Where do you want to go? On top or bottom?  We have learned that it is okay to have lives outside of each other; to have desires, wants and hobbies that the other person may not have. The Vulcan mind meld has been broken.

Polly recently celebrated 18 years of employment for a local manufacturing concern. Out from the shadow of her pastor husband she has excelled at work. Her yearly reviews are always excellent and she is considered an exemplary worker by everyone who works with her. Over the past two years Polly has received two promotions. She now supervises auxiliary department employees on second and third shift. Polly even has an office with her name on the door. None of these things would have been possible had we remained within the smothering confines of Evangelical beliefs and practices.

In 2013, Polly bought a new car in her own name. Yes, I helped picked out the car and took care of the financing details, but it is her car. A first for her, and believe me, this was a BIG deal. In 2012, Polly graduated from Northwest State Community College with an associates of arts. This was a huge undertaking on her part. Why did Polly go back to school, you ask? Because she could. And that’s the beauty of our current life. Freedom allows us to live openly and authentically.  We no longer have to parse our lives according to the Bible. Both of us are free to do whatever we want to do. Having this freedom of spirit has allowed us to experience things that never would have been possible had we remained Pastor and Mrs. Bruce Gerencser.

Polly continues to break out of her shell and I continue to learn what it means to be a good man and husband. We still have our moments. There are those times when both Polly and I find it quite easy to fall back into our former Evangelical ways, As those who have walked similar paths know, it is not easy to change attitudes and lifestyles which were decades in the making. I suspect, until death do us part, we will remain a work in progress.