Reblog: A Failure of Worship

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Challies.com                 September 15, 2014

I find addiction, and the bondage of addiction, to be very difficult to understand. It seems like overcoming addiction should be so simple, and especially for the Christian: Instead of doing that thing, how about next time you just don’t do that thing? Instead of opening that bottle, keep it closed. Instead of buying those pills, buy some groceries. Instead of typing in that web site, type in a different web site. Instead of walking through the doors of the casino, choose not to even go near the casino. If only it was so simple.

To treat addiction so simply is to misunderstand its very nature. I said recently that Kent Dunnington’s Addiction and Virtue is easily one of the most fascinating books I have read recently, and in that book he tells us why addiction is far more than making bad choices instead of good choices. Addicts are not simply satisfying a need or following habits, though they are doing those things as well. Addicts are actually seeking the good life, and are convinced it can be found in and through the addiction. Dunnington says it this way:

We are neither taught nor inclined to think of addicted persons as being actively and passionately engaged in the pursuit of the good life. We tend to think of them as persons who have checked out of the game or who are positively bent on destruction. But this is not so. I maintain that addictive behavior can tell us more than almost any other kind of human behavior about what human beings most deeply desire.

Addicts are expressing a universal desire, but are doing it in a more “sold out” way than most other people. If most people pursue the good life in a halfhearted way, addicts pursue it full-out.

Addiction, then, might be understood as the quest for … ecstatic intoxication. The addicted person, recognizing her own insignificance and her own insufficiency to realize perfect happiness, seeks to be taken up into a consuming experience, longs to be the object rather than the subject of experience, craves to suffer happiness rather than produce it.

“Ecstatic intoxication.” That is what addicts desire, whether the intoxication comes through a substance or an experience, through the rush of the drug or the rush of the sexual experience. In either case, addicts long for that consuming experience and convince themselves it can be found in drugs or alcohol or gambling or pornography or in whatever it is. In this way we see that addiction is actually a failure of worship.

Addictions are addicting just to the extent that they tempt us with the promise of such a perfect happiness, and they are enslaving just to the extent that they mimic and give intimations of this perfection. The depth and power of addiction become more intelligible as we come to see addiction as a counterfeit of the virtue of charity. As such, addiction is appropriately described as a failure of worship, a potent expression of idolatry in which we pursue in the immanent plane that which can only be achieved in relationship with the transcendent God. The cunning and allure of addiction is in fact brought out just to the extent that we see how stunningly addiction enables addicted persons to achieve [imitations] of the goods that right worship makes possible. Such a display demonstrates that addiction can most fittingly be characterized as an enactment of the striving of human persons to attain on their own the flourishing, integrity of self and ecstatic delight that is only to be received through right relationship with God.

Addiction is worship, a failed attempt to find in substances or experiences what can only be found in God. How can you see evidence of that worship? By the way the addiction becomes the means to elevate and interpret any experience.

The fact that anything can count as an excuse to use is a function of the power that addiction has to incorporate every aspect of an addicted person’s life into its own rhythms and rationales. It really is the case for the alcoholic that the good times are vacuous without alcohol, that the hard times are unbearable without alcohol, that loneliness doesn’t feel lonely with alcohol, that loving relationships are mediated by alcohol, that success can only be celebrated with alcohol, that only alcohol can insulate from rejection and so on. To be an alcoholic is to enter into such a relationship with alcohol that everything else in life makes sense only if it is accompanied by alcohol. … [A]ddiction transfigures the most ordinary activities into meaningful transactions.

Do you see it? The Bible calls us to incorporate worship of God into all of life’s rhythms and rationales. The hard times are unbearable without God, loneliness doesn’t feel [as] lonely when we are walking closely with God, loving relationships are mediated and enhanced by shared love for God, success is best celebrated with thanks to God, a relationship with God insulates us from rejection, and so on. To be a God-worshipper is to enter into such a relationship with God that everything else in life only makes sense if it is accompanied by him.

The addict is not merely following deeply-ingrained habits and physical desires, but seeking the escstasy of worship. The problem is not the desire to worship—we are created to be worshippers—but the idolatrous object of that worship. The addict looks elsewhere—anywhere—for what can be found only in God. The addict’s foremost failure is a failure of worship.

I think this is one of the best articles I have read on addiction from a Christian Perspective, hence I posted it in it’s entirety. ~Beth

Reblog: Living in a World of “Little Boys With Their Porno”

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by Jason Morehead on CHRIST & POP CULTURE
Earlier this year, Arcade Fire released their highly anticipated double album Reflektor to considerable fanfare. While much of the subsequent attention has been focused on songs like the title track, ”Here Comes The Night Time,” and “Afterlife” — and understandably so — there’s one song on Reflektor that has stuck with me since my earliest listening sessions, but that seems to have flown under most critics’ radars: the bluntly titled “Porno.”

“Porno” begins with slinky synths and disco-lite beats over which Win Butler intones “You take the makeup off your eyes/I’ve got to see you, hear your sacred sighs” to his lover. Given the song’s title, we listeners brace ourselves for a sordid tale of lust and debauchery. However, when the chorus arrives, the band performs a bit of musical sleight-of-hand, turning “Porno” into something approaching a lament.
You can cry, I won’t go
You can scream, I won’t go
Every man that you know
Would have run at the word “go”
Little boys with their porno
Oh, I know they hurt you so
They don’t know that we know
Never know what we know

Later, Butler sings:
But the cup it overflows
Little boys with their porno
But this is their world, where can we go?

Makes me feel like something’s wrong with me
Makes me feel like something’s wrong with me
Can you see me?

Throughout the song, Butler laments the damage done by pornography — both to women, whom pornography reduces to mere sexual objects, as well as men, who grow increasingly confused and damaged in their thinking regarding women and sexual performance. (Or, as Butler puts it, “And boys, they learn some selfish shit.”)

…. read the rest here.

Reblog: 10 Ways to Exercise Christlike Headship

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by Owen Strachan (The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)

Few words are more invested with meaning than the term “headship.” It’s a Christological and theological term that is grounded in Ephesians 5:23, which reads “For the husband is the head [Greek kephale] of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” This is the preeminent statement in all of Scripture on what a husband is and is to be.

This means that the husband, in John Piper’s seminal words, is the one who takes “primary responsibility for Christlike servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home” (Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, 84). There is so much to unpack here, and it can be confusing for modern men to understand, especially since a secularizing culture dislikes, even detests, the concept. Because that is the case, let me suggest ten ways by which godly husbands can practice Christlike headship in their home.

10. Christlike male headship means that you see the spiritual nourishment of your wife as your primary duty (Eph. 5:28-30). This doesn’t happen by accident; it happens as, on a regular basis, you open the Bible with her, pray with her, and talk about God with her. You don’t need to be a global theologian to read the Bible and pray the Bible, right?

read the rest here.

Jamie Won $ !!!

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I’m so very proud of Jamie.  She entered the Booktrack contest several months ago, made the finalists list and just found out Monday that she won $5,000.  What a confidence builder for her.  She is an amazingly talented writer, in my humble, motherly opinion. And she actually won this contest for adding sound to another person’s writing.  (As you can read, writing is not a gift, necessarily in my life.)  Check out Jamie’s blog for all the details of what she did and links to hear and read about the contest.

Reblog: A Line In The Sand by HSLDA

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by Michael Farris

The following article will appear in the Second Quarter 2014 Home School Court Report, due in mailboxes late August 2014.

Two prominent speakers on the homeschooling circuit have experienced dramatic falls from favor due to admitted sin. Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips have both been accused of serious sins involving young women. The accusations are sexual in nature. Both men have admitted to some form of sin with regard to these accusations, although each has disputed some of the details. Gothard disputes that his sins were sexual in nature. Phillips admits to an improper physical “relationship” with one young woman.

read the rest here.

~Just a personal note here, this article is great in my opinion.  We are a family who has been greatly harmed by Vision Forum’s teachings… more to come eventually!   Beth

Reblog: 9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day

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July 1, 2014 by Entrepreneur

What you do today matters. In fact, your daily habits may be a major determinant of your wealth.

“The metaphor I like is the avalanche,” says Thomas Corley, the author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals.” “These habits are like snowflakes — they build up, and then you have an avalanche of success.”

Corley spent five years studying the lives of both rich people (defined as having an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million or more) and poor people (defined as having an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less).

He managed to segment out what he calls “rich habits” and “poverty habits,” meaning the tendencies of those who fit in each group. But, Corley explains, everyone has some rich habits and some poverty habits. “The key is to get more than 50% to be rich habits,” he says.

And what are those rich habits that are so influential? Here are a few:

1. Rich people always keep their goals in sight.
“I focus on my goals every day.”
Rich people who agree: 62%
Poor people who agree: 6%

Not only do wealthy people set annual and monthly goals, but 67% of them put those goals in writing. “It blew me away,” says Corley. “I thought a goal was a broad objective, but the wealthy said a wish is not a goal.” A goal is only a goal, he says, if it has two things: It’s achievable, and there’s a physical action you can take to pursue it.

Read the rest here.

Reblog: Doug Phillips’ Biblical Patriarchy Scandal Moves to the Courts

Here is an update on the Phillips tragedy.  I hadn’t heard anything since the breaking of this story.  There are many links in this article updating a lot of issues.  This is very sad for me and my family.  God, have mercy on your church! ~Beth

From the Huffington Post 6/17/14 —

Last fall home school leader and Biblical Patriarch Doug Phillips made a public confession of an inappropriate relationship with a young woman, leading to his resignation, the closing of his organizations and much behind-the-scenes jockeying.

But the confession left much ambiguity in terms of the actual accusations, so rumors and facts swirled together in the blogosphere as some insiders shared what they knew and others speculated. While Phillips has threatened litigation against former friends and colleagues, at least some of the speculation is put to rest now, as the young woman comes forward to file a lawsuit in the District Court in Bexar County Texas against Phillips, Vision Forum Ministries and Vision Forum Inc. The complaint accuses Phillips of various sexual improprieties, emotional damage related to that impropriety and even fraud, invoking his status as the defendant’s former pastor, counselor and employer. It also brings charges against Phillips’ ministry and his business.

……….read the rest here.

ReBlog: Growing Up in a World Like This

From: challies.com

Informing the Reforming

A short time ago I shared some resources meant to help parents as they prepare to have “The Talk” with their children. But even after looking at those resources I had some questions I wanted to ask, so I spoke to Dr. Chris Richards, who together with Liz Jones has authored Growing Up God’s Way, a book with editions for both boys and girls, that helps prepare young people and their parents for adolescence and adulthood. Dr Chris Richards is a Consultant Paediatrician in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is the Director of Lovewise, which produces material for teaching about marriage and relationships from a Christian perspective in schools and church groups. He is married and has four children. He is a deacon at Gateshead Presbyterian Church. Here is what he had to say about preparing children to grow up in a world like this.

read the rest here.

Reblog: 10 Lessons from 10 Years of Public Schooling

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By Tim Challies

Last weekend I was a guest on Up for Debate on Moody Radio where we discussed whether or not Christian parents should send their children to public schools. I am not opposed to homeschooling or Christian schooling—not even a little bit—but do maintain that public schooling may also be a legitimate option for Christian families, and this is the perspective they asked me to represent. It is quite a controversial position in parts of the Christian world today.

As I prepared for the show I went back through my archives to find what I had written on the subject in the past. I found that I first wrote about it around eight years ago when my son was in first grade. Well, he is now just days away from his eighth grade graduation and this seems like an opportune time to revisit the subject and to ask, What have we learned in ten years of public schooling (which includes two years of kindergarten)? I spoke to Aileen and together we jotted down a bit of what we’ve learned from having three children in public schools. Here are ten lessons from ten years of public schooling.

1. Develop and Deepen Convictions

I often find that parents who put their children in public school are represented as being without convictions while parents who homeschool or who enroll their children in Christian schools are the ones with strong convictions. Admittedly, that is sometimes the case and if you are a person without convictions it is unlikely that you are homeschooling. But before Aileen and I put our children in school we developed and deepened our convictions about public schooling and these convictions allowed us to enroll our children with confidence and to keep them there with confidence. At the same time we have regularly revisited the subject to ensure that we have not grown complacent but are still following conviction. My encouragement to any parent considering any of the educational options is to develop and to deepen Bible-based convictions, and then to respond charitably to those whose convictions differ from your own.

read the rest here.

Reblog: Lighten Up, Christians: God Loves a Good Time

by N.D. Wilson/ May 7, 2014

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We Christians are the speakers of light. We are the proclaimers of joy. Wherever we go, we are the mascots of the gospel, the imagers of the infinitely creative Father, and the younger brothers and sisters of the humbled and triumphant Word. We speak in this world on behalf of the One who made up lightning and snowflakes and eggs.

Or so we say.

Saying things is easy. Meaning them—in the realm of will and emotions—is harder…

read the rest here.

Reblog: 5 Things My Husband Did to Rebuild Trust

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Standing in a dark Las Vegas hotel room with my ear cupped to the bathroom door, I heard a voice that I had never heard before. This was not the man I married eight years ago.

I was overhearing my husband “chatting with” and making arrangements to meet with a prostitute later that evening.

Immediately fear seemed to strangle me. My body shook uncontrollably at just the glimpse of the depth of darkness my husband was entangled in.

read the rest here.