Sunday, 31 October 2010

Sex symbol

A sex symbol becomes a thing. I just hate to be a thing. 
I have never liked sex. I do not think I ever will. It seems just the opposite of love.
The thing I want more than anything else? I want to have children. I used to feel for every child I had, I would adopt another. 
Marilyn Monroe died on August 5th 1962, apparently having commited suicide, not long after one of the (12/14?) abortions she had.

Friday, 29 October 2010

The sexual revolution

The sexual revolution was supposed to bring us liberty and fulfilment, yet society seems to have more hang-ups than ever. We have - it is claimed - better sex education than ever (it is certainly more explicit), yet it results in single teenage mothers and millions of abortions each year. We are told that sex is recreational and purely for pleasure, yet we are also told that it gives our lives meaning and purpose. Can it really be both? We have more sexual crimes than ever, and women seem to feel less safe on our streets than ever before. We find a high-tech pornography business that, on a worldwide basis, makes more money than the entire car industry. We know more about the mechanics of the orgasm than ever before, yet we seem to know less about how to make a relationship last beyond a few months. Is it possible that what we took to be the gateway to freedom was , in fact, the door to slavery? 
p78 Ten: Living the Ten Commandments in the 21st Century

Thursday, 28 October 2010

it's not the pornography that's the problem

the problem with pornography is not the pornography
One of the more important lessons for us to learn is that while the occasions for sin are external and 'out there', the real problem is with our lusts within. 
We must come to rethink the relationship between masculinity and being seduced. John Milton uses a striking phrase in Paradise Lost, referring to those men who were seduced by the 'daughters of men.' When shown the future seduction of these men, these descendents of his, Adam attempts to blame the women involved -'Man's woe holds on the same, from Woman to begin.' The angel replies to the contrary: ' From Man's effeminate slackness it begins.' 
At the heart of masculinity is the possession of authority and taking of initiative; by creation design a man is intended by God to be a head, a head willing to sacrifice himself. But part of our word seduction comes from the Latin word duco, which means 'I lead'. 
When a man is seduced he is being led, when a woman seduces she is leading. So when a man is seduced (whether by a living woman or a pornographic woman is immaterial) he is relinquishing and abdicating his assigned role. 

The google book can be viewed here

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Family & Society Meltdown

The fundamental change in individual attitude and behaviour that is required, is in our assumption that the way in which we conduct our private lives in relation to both the production and parenting of children or the break-up a parental relationship, is a private matter which only affects the individuals directly concerned.

Mr Justice Coleridge speaking in 2009 (speech downloadable in full from here). 
Here is his earlier speech at the Resolution National Conference in 2008 in which he said this: 
Without being in any way over dramatic or alarmist my prediction would be, looking back and seeing where we have come from and projecting forward on the present trajectory, that the effects of family breakdown on the life of the nation and ordinary people in this country will, within the next 20 yrs be as marked and as destructive as the affects of global warming. We are experiencing a period of family meltdown whose effects will be as catastrophic as the meltdown of the ice caps. For what is the point of pouring resources into the physical protection of society if its mental health is so damaged and undermined that life for many is so miserably unhappy that it is hardly worth living anyway.
Up and down the land, day in and day out, thousands of families are trooping through hundreds of courts in front of hundreds of judges seeking their assistance to resolve family disputes. High Court. County Court, Family proceedings court. High Court judges, Circuit judges, District judges and magistrates. All are inundated with cases. Thousands upon thousands of children are involved. Both in the public law Care system because their parents cannot cope (or worse are guilty of abusing their own or their step children) and in the private law system because their parents cannot sort out their disputes when they separate, without some help from the system.
It is a never ending carnival of human misery. A ceaseless river of human distress. For those of us involved in it on a daily basis it is very demanding and at times stressful work.

Have you noticed?

Suppose there is some kind of Christian gathering, and a woman comes to it dressed like she really shouldn’t be. She arrives in a tight top, and proceeds to headlight everyone. What would happen if, after the pastor greeted her, he commented on the size of her breasts? She would be horrified, the people standing nearby would all turn white, someone would bring charges against the pastor before the elders, and so forth. And all because he commented on the two most obvious objets d’art in the room. In this scenario, the one guilty of a breach of decorum would be the one who said something about them, and not the person intent upon displaying them to a bemused public. We are afflicted with a real problem of schizophrenia. We are playing show and tell, but aren’t allowed to tell.
If this quote offends you I suggest you don't read the rest of the article it came from. However I for one not only found this paragraph amusing but astute in it's observations. Like many man (I guess) I confess to not understanding male fashion let alone female fashion. As a guy, as a Dad (and as a Pastor!), I found the whole article very helpful in addressing the nitty gritty matter of applying a passage like 1 Timothy 2:9. 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A Dad shaped by ....

This caught my eye as:
  • a good road to tread with the Lord's help
  • three great requests to make of the Lord
  • and a deeply helpful resolution to take before the Lord in parenting. 
I have asked three things of Jesus for each daughter: that she would love him, that she would love her family, and that she would love the church. So far, it would seem Jesus has honored my requests.
This has been my strategy: I will be a man, a husband, and a dad shaped by repentance rather than religion.
What Dave Bruskas has learned about raising daughters can be found here

Jesus and Rugby?

Saturday, 23 October 2010

What do you see when you look into the sky?

When twentieth-century people step outside and look at the sky, they see a huge atomic furnace burning hydrogen during the day, and a small planetoid reflecting the light of the sun at night. They also see other atomic furnaces that appear very small because they are far away.
When twentieth-century people step back inside their homes and pick up the latest coffee table book of astronomy, they see color-enhanced photographs of distant galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, and binary starts. They see speculative drawings of quasars, neutron starts, and black holes. 
p 53 Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World

We'll be looking at the stars (so to speak) tomorrow at 4pm as we continue in Genesis 1 (Genesis 1:14-19) 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

MP3's of NWC 2010 - The Complete Woman

MP3's (FREE!) of the 2010 Northern Women's Convention are now available (here and here). 


Martin Luther No 6

Martin Luther's take on the 6th Commandment (The Large Catechism):

We have now completed both the spiritual and the temporal government, that is, the divine and the paternal authority and obedience. But here now we go forth from our house among our neighbors to learn how we should live with one another, every one himself toward his neighbor. Therefore God and government are not included in this commandment nor is the power to kill, which they have taken away. For God has delegated His authority to punish evil-doers to the government instead of parents, who aforetime (as we read in Moses) were required to bring their own children to judgment and sentence them to death. Therefore, what is here forbidden is forbidden to the individual in his relation to any one else, and not to the government. 
Now this commandment is easy enough and has been often treated, because we hear it annually in the Gospel of St. Matthew, 5, 21 ff., where Christ Himself explains and sums it up, namely, that we must not kill neither with hand, heart, mouth, signs, gestures, help, nor counsel. Therefore it is here forbidden to every one to be angry, except those (as we said) who are in the place of God, that is, parents and the government. For it is proper for God and for every one who is in a divine estate to be angry, to reprove and punish, namely, on account of those very persons who transgress this and the other commandments. 
But the cause and need of this commandment is that God well knows that the world is evil, and that this life has much unhappiness; therefore He has placed this and the other commandments between the good and the evil. Now, as there are many assaults upon all commandments, so it happens also in this commandment that we must live among many people who do us harm, so that we have cause to be hostile to them. 
As when your neighbor sees that you have a better house and home [a larger family and more fertile fields], greater possessions and fortune from God than he, he is sulky, envies you, and speaks no good of you. Thus by the devil's incitement you will get many enemies who cannot bear to see you have any good, either bodily or spiritual. When we see such people, our hearts, in turn, would rage and bleed and take vengeance. Then there arise cursing and blows, from which follow finally misery and murder. Here, now, God like a kind father steps in ahead of Us, interposes and wishes to have the quarrel settled, that no misfortune come of it, nor one destroy another. And briefly He would hereby protect, set free, and keep in peace every one against the crime and violence of every one else; and would have this commandment placed as a wall, fortress, and refuge about our neighbor, that we do him no hurt nor harm in his body. 
Thus this commandment aims at this, that no one offend his neighbor on account of any evil deed, even though he have fully deserved it. For where murder is forbidden, all cause also is forbidden whence murder may originate. For many a one, although he does not kill, yet curses and utters a wish, which would stop a person from running far if it were to strike him in the neck [makes imprecations, which if fulfilled with respect to any one, he would not live long]. Now since this inheres in every one by nature and it is a common practice that no one is willing to suffer at the hands of another, God wishes to remove the root and source by which the heart is embittered against our neighbor, and to accustom us ever to keep in view this commandment, always to contemplate ourselves in it as in a mirror, to regard the will of God, and with hearty confidence and invocation of His name to commit to Him the wrong which we suffer. Thus we shall suffer our enemies to rage and be angry, doing what they can, and we learn to calm our wrath, and to have a patient, gentle heart, especially toward those who give us cause to be angry, that is, our enemies.  
Therefore the entire sum of what it means not to kill is to be impressed most explicitly upon the simple-minded. In the first place that we harm no one, first, with our hand or by deed. Then, that we do not employ our tongue to instigate or counsel thereto. Further, that we neither use nor assent to any kind of means or methods whereby any one may be injured. And finally, that the heart be not ill disposed toward any one, nor from anger and hatred wish him ill, so that body and soul may be innocent in regard to every one, but especially those who wish you evil or inflict such upon you. For to do evil to one who wishes and does you good is not human, but diabolical. 
Secondly, under this commandment not only he is guilty who does evil to his neighbor, but he also who can do him good, prevent, resist evil, defend and save him, so that no bodily harm or hurt happen to him and yet does not do it. If, therefore, you send away one that is naked when you could clothe him, you have caused him to freeze to death; you see one suffer hunger and do not give him food, you have caused him to starve. So also, if you see any one innocently sentenced to death or in like distress, and do not save him, although you know ways and means to do so, you have killed him. And it will not avail you to make the pretext that you did not afford any help, counsel, or aid thereto for you have withheld your love from him and deprived him of the benefit whereby his life would have been saved.
Therefore God also rightly calls all those murderers who do not afford counsel and help in distress and danger of body and life, and will pass a most terrible sentence upon them in the last day, as Christ Himself has announced when He shall say, Matt.25, 42f.: I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in; naked, and ye clothed Me not; sick and in prison and ye visited Me not. That is: You would have suffered Me and Mine to die of hunger thirst, and cold, would have suffered the wild beasts to tear us to pieces, or left us to rot in prison or perish in distress. What else is that but to reproach them as murderers and bloodhounds? For although you have not actually done all this, you have nevertheless, so far as you were concerned, suffered him to pine and perish in misfortune. It is just as if I saw some one navigating and laboring in deep water [and struggling against adverse winds] or one fallen into fire, and could extend to him the hand to pull him out and save him, and yet refused to do it. What else would I appear, even in the eyes of the world, than as a murderer and a criminal? 
Therefore it is God's ultimate purpose that we suffer harm to befall no man, but show him all good and love; and, as we have said it is specially directed toward those who are our enemies. For to do good to our friends is but an ordinary heathen virtue as Christ says Matt: 5, 46. Here we have again the Word of God whereby He would encourage and urge us to true noble and sublime works, as gentleness patience, and, in short, love and kindness to our enemies, and would ever remind us to reflect upon the First Commandment, that He is our God, that is, that He will help, assist, and protect us, in order that He may thus quench the desire of revenge in us.  
This we ought to practice and inculcate and we would have our hands full doing good works. But this would not be preaching for monks; it would greatly detract from the religious estate, and infringe upon the sanctity of Carthusians, and would even be regarded as forbidding good works and clearing the convents. For in this wise the ordinary state of Christians would be considered just as worthy, and even worthier, and everybody would see how they mock and delude the world with a false, hypocritical show of holiness, because they have given this and other commandments to the winds, and have esteemed them unnecessary, as though they were not commandments but mere counsels, and have at the same time shamelessly proclaimed and boasted their hypocritical estate and works as the most perfect life, in order that they might lead a pleasant, easy life, without the cross and without patience, for which reason, too, they have resorted to the cloisters, so that they might not be obliged to suffer any wrong from any one or to do him any good. But know now that these are the true, holy, and godly works, in which, with all the angels He rejoices, in comparison with which all human holiness is but stench and filth, and besides, deserves nothing but wrath and damnation.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Un-nintendoed Effect

Video games are natural teachers. Children find them highly motivating: by virtue of their interactive nature; children are actively engaged with them; they provide repeated practice; and they include rewards for skillful play. These facts make it likely that video games could have large effects, some of which are intended by game designers, and some of which may not be intended. (quote from here) 
In the United States: 
Children aged 2-5 years old play just under 30 minutes of computer games a day. 210 minutes a week. 31/2 hours a week.
Children aged 5-18 play around 13 hours of computer games a week. 

THIS IS ON TOP OF the rough figure of an average of 24 hours of TV a week. 

I find it hard to even outline the impact this must be having on a generation of young people - their mental, emotional and physical development. And we must not allow our reflection to just be on the individual (though of course that matters enormously). Families and communities and nations must be being greatly affected by this. 

A good thing that the UK is so different to the US. A good thing that UK parents don't abdicate in this way.
A good thing that UK Christian parents are so distinctive in how they direct their children's viewing and gaming.

Don't you think? 

Monday, 18 October 2010

Northern Women's Convention 2010 - the Complete Woman

A week or so ago I drove a minibus up to the Northern Women's Convention. While I dropped the ladies off to go and spend some time with Jane introducing Evie to her Grandparents I left my camera in the hands of the 'Grace Women' with instructions to have a good time and to produce a video diary while doing it. They had a great great day and this is the 'diary':  

Every expense was spared in the making of this short film.
No Doughnuts or Kit-Kats were harmed during the filming.

Featuring : (some of) the Ladies of Grace Community Church. 
Camera Work and 'starring' : Katie & Bella [who were given NO warning that I wanted them to do this!So a massive well done for producing anything like a 'diary' of the day!]
Editing : blame me. 

Amanda Robbie
provides a deeper reflection (!) on the day from a 'West Bromwich' perspective.

Meat Eaters, Made of Meat

Flanders: A song which we call, "The Reluctant Cannibal":

Seated one day at the tom-tom,
I heard a welcome shout from the kitchen:
Roast leg of insurance salesman!

A chorus of "yum"s ran round the table:
(Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum...)
Except for Junior, who pushed away his shell, Got up from his log, and said:

Swann: "I don't want any part of it!"

Flanders: What? Why not?

Swann: I don't eat people.
Flanders: Hey?
Swann: I won't eat people.
Flanders: Huh?
Swann: I don't eat people.
Flanders: I must be going deaf!
Swann: Eating people is wrong.
Flanders: It's wrong?

Swann: Don't eat people.
Flanders: Have you gone clean out of your mind?
Swann: I won't eat people.
Flanders: What's the matter with the lad?
Swann: Don't eat people.
Flanders: He keeps on repeating.
Both: Eating people is bad.

Flanders: But people have always eaten people,
What else is there to eat?
If the Juju had meant us not to eat people,
He wouldn't have made us of meat!

Swann: Don't eat people.
Flanders: Oh no, not again.
Swann: I won't eat people.
Flanders: All the day long.
Both: Don't eat people.
Flanders: He keeps on repeating.
Both: Eating people is wrong.

Flanders: Well... I... I never heard a more ridiculous idea in all my born days. To think that a son of mine should grow up to be a sissy - me, chief assistant to the assistant chief! I suppose you realise, son, if this was to get around, we might never get self-Government.
Swann: I won't eat people!
Flanders: Have you been talking to one of your mothers again? You're not getting to be one of these cranks who think that eating people is cruel, are you? Seeing the man sitting in the pot and you think he's suffering. Oh, it's not like that at all. Why, he's just had an invigourating chase through the forest, sitting there in the nice warm water with all the carrots and dumplings and things, he's thinking, "Oh, the pleasure and happiness I'm going to give to a heap of people". That man in the pot there, he enjoys it!
Swann: Eating people is wrong!
Flanders: Look son, son, I admire your sincerity. Always be sincere... whether you mean it or not. But you're young, you're young, when you're young you think you can change the whole world overnight, even eating people - I know, I've been young myself. Take it from your old Dad, you've just got to learnt to take the world as it is.
Swann: I won't let another man pass my lips!
Flanders: I know why you say "Don't eat people", because you are a coward, Francis, that's your trouble. Yes, a yellow-livered coward. You wouldn't mind eating people if you weren't afraid of ending up in the pot yourself - how despicable! If you go on like this you're liable to get ME into hot water.

Swann: I won't eat people.
Flanders: That's enough!
Swann: I don't eat people.
Flanders: I don't want to...
Swann: Eating people is wrong!
Flanders: Communist!

Flanders: Going around saying "Don't eat people",
That's the way to make people hate'ya.
We always have eaten people, always will eat people,
You can't change human nature.

Flanders: Now let's try...
Swann: I won't eat people,
I don't eat people,
I won't eat people,
I don't eat people!
Flanders: Must have been someone he ate!
Swann: Eating people is out!

Flanders: I give up, I give up, you used to be a regular anthrophagi. If this crazy idealistic idea of yours was to catch on, I just dunno where we would all be. Just about ruin our entire internal economy. Fortunately, I suppose it's catching on isn't really very likely - why, you might just as well going around saying "Don't fight people", for example...

Swann: Don't fight people? Ha, ha! Don't fight people?! Ha ha ha!
Flanders: There, imagine? There, you see! All part of the same...
Both: (laughing) ... fantastical impossibility!
Flanders: That's the boy!


What is a Person?

For centuries it was generally accepted that the terms 'person' and 'living human being' were virtually equivalent. But over the last two decades, a number of influential modern philosophers, including Peter Singer, Jonathan Glover and John Harris, have challenged traditional understandings of personhood. As we will see, this has led them to some startling conclusions.
For Peter Singer a person is a being who has a capacity for enjoyable experiences, for interacting with others and for having preferences about continued life. For John Harris a person is any being who is capable of valuing their own life.
Once this kind of definition is accepted, there are a number of logical implications. Firstly it is immediately obvious that in order to be regarded as a person, you must have an advanced level of brain function. In fact you must have a completely developed and normally functioning cerebral cortex. 
Secondly, there must be a significant group of human beings who are non-persons. These include fetuses, newborn babies and infants who lack self awareness, and a large group of children and adults with congenital brain abnormalities, severe brain injury, dementia and major psychiatric illnesses.
Thirdly, there are many non-human beings on the planet who meet the criteria of persons. These include at least chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys and dolphins, but may also include dogs, pigs and many other mammals. In fact it has even been argued that within the foreseeable future some supercomputers may meet the criteria to be regarded as persons.
Those who meet the criteria of persons have moral rights and privileges. They deserve to be protected from those who would injure or kill them. They should be allowed to exercise their own choices or autonomy as much as possible. But the same rights and privileges do not extend to non-persons. Peter Singer puts it like this, 'only a person can want to go on living, or have plans for the future, because only a person can understand the possibility of a future existence for herself or himself. This means that to end the lives of people against their will is different from ending the lives of beings who are not people…killing a person against his or her will is a much more serious wrong than killing a being who is not a person.' In other words killing a chimpanzee is a much greater moral evil than killing a newborn baby or an adult with Alzheimer's disease.
When people respond with incredulity, Singer argues that to make moral distinctions on the basis of species is to be guilty of a new crime, 'speciesism'. Instead we should make moral distinctions on the basis of 'ethically relevant characteristics', such as the ability to choose and value your own life.
Of course there are major logical problems with this kind of definition of personhood. In effect Singer has replaced one form of discrimination with another. Instead of discriminating on the basis of species, he is now arguing that we should discriminate on the grounds of cortical function. In fact if we are into name-calling we could call him a 'corticalist'. But why should corticalism be preferable to speciesism? Of course Singer may wish to argue that cortical functioning is 'ethically relevant' whereas species membership is not. But this is an arbitrary distinction that is hard to defend on entirely logical grounds. Why should the functioning of a 5mm layer of neurones be the central and only moral discriminating feature between beings? On purely logical grounds species membership is a more coherent and fundamental basis for making ethical distinctions between beings. 
  What is a Person? John Wyatt 

Friday, 15 October 2010

Happy Halloween?

There are some sensible thoughts about Halloween here & here.

And here are some more general thoughts about the way we do/should think about our year as Christians

Don't put it off

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Life of Jesus

Life of Jesus website

And here is a bit more of a taste:

The one problem with this is that the DVD seems to be Region 1, so not immediately useful for me. Yet. 

Can teenage rebellion ever be right?

I have just ordered this - something I should have done for a while now - and expect I will be convinced that in this sense teenage rebellion is not only right, but it is necessary for godliness!

This is the website that connects with the book: the rebelution

The Necessity of a Christian Education

“I advise no-one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.”
Martin Luther

Some very challenging & helpful thoughts on parenting and education can be found here

Here is the nub of it: 

Some Scripture Passages of Relevance to Christian Education

Genesis 1.1 - the starting point - what hope is there for an education if it begins with error and sin on this point ?

Genesis 18.19 - God intends his people to ensure that their children keep the way of the LORD

Deuteronomy 4.9-10 - children must be taught the ways and works and will of God

Deuteronomy 6.4-7, 11.19 - at all times and in all places we are to be teaching our children to please the LORD by obedience of thought and deed

Psalm 1.1-6 - the people with whom we associate and the things upon which we meditate are of immense spiritual significance

Psalm 78.1-8 - children must be taught the works and will of God

Proverbs 1-9 - the most important thing is to get wisdom which begins with (is founded upon ?) the fear of the LORD, is passed on from parents to children and is essential to a righteous life

Proverbs 13.24 - to deprive your child of proper correction and chastisement is an evidence of not truly wanting the best for him

Proverbs 22.6 - The LORD encourages us that giving our children a godly education will have lasting consequences for good

Matthew 18.5-6 - terrible woes on those who cause believing children to sin

Mark 10.13-16 - Jesus' anger against any who stand in the way of children coming to him for blessing

John 8.31-32 - to know the truth and enjoy real freedom we must hold to the teaching which Christ gives

John 14.6 - Jesus is the truth

2 Corinthians 10.5 - we want everything which sets itself up against the knowledge of God to be destroyed and every thought made captive to the obedience of Christ.

Ephesians 6.4 - fathers are to bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians 1.15-18 - the reality that the education we give our children must conform to - an essential description of the origin and purpose of all things and of their sustenance by and subjection to Christ

Colossians 2.3-8 - right thinking and living is based on Christ in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are deposited.

1 Timothy 6.20 - we must keep away from what is falsely called knowledge

2 Timothy 3.14-17 - the all-sufficiency of Scripture and the benefit of knowing the Scriptures from infancy

Monday, 11 October 2010

Proverbs was written for Boys

So says Doug Wilson in Appendix B of Future Men
'the book of Proverbs provides us with an example of what sort of instruction is necessary. The book as a whole is applicable to the writer's son, and many passages apply the teaching specifically to him. What does God say a son should be told?' 
A boy must learn to be teachable: 
Proverbs 1:7-8 
Proverbs 2:1
Proverbs 3:1-2 
Proverbs 3:21 
Proverbs 4:1-3 
Proverbs 4:10 
Proverbs 4:20 
Proverbs 5:1
Proverbs 6:20-21
Proverbs 7:1-3
Proverbs 13:1 
Proverbs 19:27 

If the book of Proverbs teaches anything to sons, it teaches them to
listen. Sons are told to: 
  • hear instruction 
  • receive sayings 
  • incline ears
  • hide commandments 
  • forget not parental law
  • keep wisdom & understanding in view
  • bow the ears to understanding 
  • keep a father's commands
  • forsake not a mother's law
  • bind wise words to the heart
  • wear them as a necktie
  • guard them as the apple of the eye
  • wear them as rings on the fingers 
'generally, taking one thing with another, to shut up, sit down and listen.' 
'(the regular repetition) should be an encouragement to parents who feel they have to repeat themselves too much. They might assume that the need for repetition means that they have failed. It does not necessarily mean anything of the kind. What it means is that boys are tough ground that need a lot of ploughing.' 
'The first subject on the curriculum is to be teaching a son to hear'
 'In order to get a son's attention it is necessary to discipline him. Boys are not born teachable, and godly discipline is resisted by them.' They have to be taught this too: 
Proverbs 3:11-12

'..discipline is not intended as a behaviourist exercise ... The correction is to enable a boy to receive instruction.'
Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.
Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad;
my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
Proverbs 23:12-16
Proverbs 13:24 
Proverbs 19:13, 18
Proverbs 29:17 

Once they are listening, a son needs to learn about women. At least Proverbs has a lot to say on that subject. 

Proverbs 5:1-23 

Proverbs 6:23-35
Proverbs 7:1-27
Proverbs 23:26-28
Proverbs 31:3 

They need to learn about
Proverbs 6:1-3

And laziness / greed
Proverbs 23:19-26
Proverbs 6:6-11
Proverbs 28:7
Proverbs 31:1-5
Proverbs 1:10-15 

political activism
Proverbs 24:21-22

In short wisdom in sons is a true glory: Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 24:13-14

Sons do a lot of good, or they do a lot of damage. 

They bring great grief or great gladness.
Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 17:25

Future Men

Honour your father and mother

ReverenceHonour is first of all a heart attitude, expressing reverence or respect. 

Leviticus 19:3 (cf. Roverbs 3:9; John 8:49; 1 Timothy 1:17 etc.) 

This is the language of worship! 

Of course Scripture contrasts sharply the deference due to God with that due to human beings: Acts 4:19; 5:29 ... even parents: Matthew 10:35-37; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 9:59-60; 14:26.

That Jesus places loyalty to himself above loyalty to father and mother (even though he emphatically endorses the fifth commandment in Matthew 15:4-6; Mark 7:9-13) is a momentous claim to deity. That loyalty to God transcends loyalty even to parents is an implication of the first commandment. 

Our reverence for parents is not in spite of our reverence for God, but because of it: Deuteronomy 5:16; Leviticus 19:32; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20. In a similar vein we are often commanded to express deference and respect to others in thoughts, words and actions: Genesis 31:35; 1 Kings 2:19; 1 Timothy 5:1. 

In a way this is part of reverence, for when we respect someone we hear them with respect, we expect to learn and we are willing to change out of respect for their words. When we disagree we do so reluctantly, and we express even that disagreement in respectful language with gentleness. 

Scripture regularly presents parents as teachers (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Proverbs 1:10; 2:1; 3:1; Ephesians 6:1-4).

Obedience in turn is a form of submission. Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20. This applies to other authorities too: Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14; Phil 2:12; 2 Thess 3:14; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 3:6; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Peter 2:18-20. 

Obedience to other human beings is always limited because God's authority is supreme and limits every form of human authority. Acts 5:29. Luke 2:51 & Luke 2:49.

Financial Support 
Mark 7:9-13; 1 Timothy 5:4-8

God's Social Security System

There is, as we all know, a very much better way of looking after the elderly than simply shovelling money in the direction of strangers, in the hope that they will look after them.
I am thinking of the most effective social security system ever devised by man or nature. It is a system that still operates in most primitive societies, but one which is on the verge of collapse in modern Britain.
I mean, of course, the family.
In almost every way, I would much rather live here than in a mud-hut village in Africa.
But I reckon that the very old in the Third World, looked after by their families in communities bustling with life, have a much better time of it than a great many British OAPs, sitting around in care homes stinking of urine, watching afternoon television and counting the days or weeks until that rare visit from their young.
Tom Utley in the Telegraph, quoted in IF IT'S NOT TOO MUCH TROUBLE
See also Eamonn Butler in the Spectator: 

the state pension system and the National Health Service make families less dependent on one another, and so weaken the bonds between them. In my youth, few people spent years in old age because they didn't live that long, but it was perfectly normal and routine for families to look after their elderly relatives, finding space for them in their own homes. True, our society is more mobile and parents now live farther from their children, and there are other changes which might make in-home care harder to arrange than it was in the past. But I have no doubt that the main reason is that the financial and health care of the elderly has become a function of the state, and this has weakened the family bonds between us.
What, then, is the solution? The NHS and the state pension system were introduced for good reason: to ensure that people did not have to endure poverty or ill health when they did not have families to look after them. But there issomething attractive about a system where an individual can rely on their family, rather than the state, when they are in need. This is routine in emerging economies that have not yet developed an extensive welfare state. The care and support given by families, being more personal, is probably better than that given through anonymous state institutions. But there are wider social benefits too. Perhaps it is time we thought about asking families to pick up more of the strain.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Raising Obedient Children

Here are the headings of a talk (I guess) given by Mr & Mrs Smyth:

1. We are confident in our God-given parental authority.

2. We never count to three.

3. We model it ourselves to authority figures in our lives.

4. We try not to exasperate our children (Eph. 6:4).

5. We use appropriate forms of punishment.

6. We are convinced that it really is worth the effort.

For the whole talk outline [well worth the short read] click here 

Singing Scripture

Psalm 103:7-13

Friday, 8 October 2010

Young people today!

The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress. [Peter the Hermit, 1274]
The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers. [Attributed to SOCRATES by Plato]
I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" [Hesiod, 8th century BC]
I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid. [GK Chesterton] 
The young always have the same problem-how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another. [Quentin Crisp]