Saturday, September 19

Our Marriage... 5 Words

I've been a Christian for 13 years. I was baptized on March 30, 2003 by Charlie McMahan at Southbrook Church. I've been married 21 years but we've been together 24 years. I had no idea how important those three years are to my wife. I assume every marriage has watershed moments. One of ours occurred with FIVE words.

We have three kids. Our morning routine, at this time, begins five minutes after the last one is put on the bus with my wife's "I-love-you-have-a-great-day." That morning starts like any other morning.

We would lay on the couch to watch whatever TV series "we are on". I'm not a big TV person, so she picks what we watch. We talk a lot during this time too. Kids. Friends. God. Money. Bible study slash small group. She might ask, "What did you and your mom talk about last night?" Some discussions actually stop the binge watching and it is those talks that always seem to eventually focus on us, our relationship, our marriage, etc.

This specific morning is great. We're on the couch. After we transition into our day, I'm sitting in the living room working on the laptop. She's back and forth doing things. Then, out of the blue, she plops down on the end of the couch that shares the end table with the chair I'm in. She lightly taps my foot with with her foot.

She says, "I need you to close that for a minute."

Laptop closes. I notice she's wringing a balled up dish towel in her hands.
She says,  "I need to tell you something."
I say, "I can tell."
She comes right out and says, "I need you to pay attention to me."
I reply, "I do."

I immediately think she's upset because I'm on the laptop, working, and ignoring her. My mental Rolodex whirs through my head compiling a list of tangible evidence, all objectively provable, to show her my effort. The times I doted on her pop up. The walks. Pop. The times I take the kids to the bus in bad weather. Pop. Pop. Pop. The hours of snuggling watching TV. Pop... pop pop pop pop pop pop pop. Most importantly, those cards show I listened to what she told me she needed.

While I'm busy with my list, she says, "I know. I need more."
My Rolodex... POOF. Gone. 
My defense team... dismissed. Fired.

What I heard... despite the time we spent together, she needed more "blocks" of my undivided doting attention. She's requesting big gigantic blocks of time. That's how men think or at least I think. I need to fix the car. Big block of time. Watch the "game". Big block of time. Cut the grass, chop firewood, cook dinner, teach our kids how to drive... all require big blocks of time.

I could not have been more wrong. I'll sum up as concisely as I can - she needs small gestures, throughout the day, that show her... I "GET" HER. I did that but not enough.

Now, I kiss her when I pass her sitting on the couch on my way to get something to drink. It's not a vanilla and beige no wrinkle kiss couples sometimes exchange. I usually put my hand behind her head and smush our lips together for a quick full kiss. I tell her "I like her" and how pretty she is and how she is my type.

Just like "... been married 21 years, but together 24 years" are so important to her, the fact I don't just walk by and ignore her is more important.

Thursday, November 13

Monday, June 30

Slavery in the Bible...

I am currently engaged in a conversation with a lawyer (via a message board) about slavery and the Bible is wrong about slavery.

Genesis 9:25-27
25 And he said, Cursed [be] Canaan [son of Ham] a servant of servants [lowest of servants] shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

The word used for "servant" is ebed (eh' ved) which amongst Hebrews was a slave.

The word was first recorded when Noah who, instead of bestowing any type of blessing, cursed Ham's [son] descendants saying they should be "slave of slaves" or "servant of servants" of Shem and Japheth.

Noah had no slaves. Those only aboard the Ark were family.

How did Noah become acquainted with the word and the nature of slavery?

I am having trouble understanding the point you are looking to make.  Could you clarify?

 I thought the argument is... what the Bible says about slavery is incorrect, wrong, and is an error. 

Slavery is well established in the OT, possibly before the flood, and the NT doesn't make any commandment to directly abolish the practice.

If the Bible is, in fact, wrong about slavery, a practice that directly impacts much of the Bible, especially the OT, would not the errors surrounding slavery render other scripture(s) [book of Exodus, Passover, and the Mosaic Covenant] wrong, incorrect, an error, and thus not God's Word?
So what are your personal feelings on the matter?

1.) Is the Bible's view on slavery consistent with God's Word?
2.) If so, do you then condone slavery, since it is God's Word?
3.) Or do you disagree with God?
4.) Or is there confusion in our interpretation of what God intended to call slavery?
5.) Or are there passages in the Bible which are not God's Word and influenced by the culture and prejudices of the time and individual?

I thought you were interested in a discussion about God's Word. You seem more interested in conducting a deposition to produce "undisputed facts". With that in mind, I'll answer, being fully aware all depos are a game of "Gotcha"...

1. "Slavery is well established in the OT, possibly before the flood, and the NT doesn't make any commandment to directly abolish the practice." God, regarding slavery, is consistent with His own Word, proven by Genesis 15:13 and Psalm 105:17-19.

2. I personally do not condone slavery.

3. I worship and obey God's Word as best I can. For example, God, among others things, commands me "to keep the Sabbath holy" and "forgive my enemies" and "search earnestly for Him" and "have no other Gods".

4. Confusion on the nature of slavery as evidenced by the scripture(s) you have posted? No. I think I understand the scripture(s) you posted.

5. All passages are the Word of God. The Bible declares itself to be the Word of God. (2 Peter 1:16-21; 2 Timothy 3:16) not the partial Word of God.

The Bible is a unified, coherent revelation from God; it does not contradict itself. If my understanding of difficult passages are at odds with the teaching of Scripture, I choose to exercise humility and consider the possibility that my understanding is flawed.

July 7th... there has yet to a response to my last comment. 

Thursday, May 29

A love letter...

My beautiful wonderful bride,

Remember when fall semester started. It was warm. Campus was busy. It was still summer, well, the end of summer. One of those summer nights, I was hanging out with friends in the parking lot of that apartment complex because that was where the party was supposed to be that night. You stepped out of an apartment and stopped to speak to Dan. You remembered my friend's names, but when you pointed at me, you said, "Uh, Steve?" That's right. You called me Steve or was it Richard, maybe John or Tim, but it was not Stack. Lucky I wasn't insecure.

And then there was TKE at the top of that darn hill. We flirted. You stood next to us. I kept bumping into you. Oh, I remember that bright beautiful smile. You remember bug eyes. Lucky I wasn't insecure,

And then I always saw you, if I recall correctly, almost every day at dinner. All semester long the dialogue went more or less like this:

"Hi Stack."
"Hi Ashley."
"What are you doing later?"
"Nothing. Studying."

That was it. The dialogue never went beyond that. At least you learned my name.

And then right before finals, it was a colder night, we saw each other off campus for the first time. Dan said he could get Steve and me in the KA party. It was a lame. We got in the car to go to another party and as we were about to leave, Dan saw you walking, in the dark, on the other side of that two lane road, with your friend Mike. Dan yelled, "Ashley!" You trotted over and exclaimed, yes exclaimed, like he just found your lost puppy, "Dan!" He said something about becoming a brother, and you leaned in the driver's side window, gave him a kiss on his cheek, and said, “Congratulations.” Oh... as for me, when I asked if I could get one too, you dissed me. Lucky I wasn't insecure.

"Ohhhh, gross, she's kissing him!"
"Ashley, Stack is on the phone."
Swissy and her menthols.
2am Frisco burgers.
Life is a Highway.
My 1980 CJ5 jeep.
Melbourne Beach nuptials.
Daughter #1.
Daughter #2
Son #1.
Vending machines.
The summer of the amusement park.

And then June 15, Nov 9, Jan 9, that trial, the fight we are currently fighting, has quite possibly been the best 18 months of my life... ever. I have gotten to hang out with you, watch you grow in faith and strength, and live a better life while God provides?

So, this weekend, your courage to have transparent conversations with my parents and your father forced me to examine my life. Our life. Our family. Marriage. Children. Parents. Sisters. Our decisions and the life we have chosen. After all of that effort, here is what I came up with...

Know, if not for you, I would never have fulfilled my purpose. I would not have been the father our children needed. Remember, "Do you want her to think this is normal?" You are why our children became a priority and I became the father they needed.

Know, if not for you, I would be just like everyone else pursuing the things of this world and valuing the things of this world. I was a cliché, the husband, who thought providing for his family only meant earn money and pursue a career. Family was secondary. Money was trump and it especially trumped the emotional and spiritual needs of our children. You changed that. Not me. You.

Know, if not for you, we would not be able to listen to others boast and brag and gush over our children. So, when you speak about what I have done and how you could not have done what I did, know your contributions as their mom mattered then and matter now. Our family would not be "our family", our children would not be "our children", and our life would not be "our life" without you. You are wonderful and thus our children and life are wonderful too. 

Know, I have always needed you, even before I knew I needed you. I need you as much as you say, “I need you” to me. You have endured my flaws. You saved my life, literally saved my life, more than once. My life does not work without you. Who else would love me anyway? Who else would look at me the way you do when I least deserve it? Who else who whisper the kind words you whisper when I least deserve kindness? No one else smiles at me the way you do and makes me feel the way you do.

Know you are a wonderful. Funny. Smart. Gracious. Faithful. Gentle. Emotional, in a good way. Strong, much stronger than you think. Who knew how much I would like red hair, fair skin, and freckles? Add soft, ample and curvy, a big bright smile and green-blue eyes... who knew you had everything to get my attention? If I could have defined a wife, I would never have been able to describe you. Just as iron sharpens iron, you make my life better, fuller, whole, and contrary to what you like to say, I'm the Lucky One while you are the Unlucky One (get it, the movie, I hope so.) Lucky I'm not insecure. 

Know, just as there is nothing better than falling asleep next to you, feeling you next to me, mushing against each other, with my hand "you know where"; just as there is nothing better than "doing that thing we do" so very well and we do… do that well don't we; it is the waking up next to you, it is being with you in the stillness of early morning, even if it is just for a moment, and knowing you are well that makes me the morning person you, and our children, love to hate.

Know, it is because of you, that God has been so good to me. You, my wife, are my greatest blessing, pressed down, shaken together, that now runs over into my lap. I love you. I hope you feel loved, worthy, beautiful, and special “as you are” because you, “as you are”, deserve, without question, to know what it's like to feel those things.

Know, as much as I love, and as much as I am in love with you, I like you a lot... a whole, whole lot. You make doing nothing something I can't wait to do with you. Before you, I never wanted to be old(er) and now I can't wait to be old(er) with you.

See you later to hopefully do absolutely nothing.