On SCOTUS

Though I hold a Masters degree in theology and ministry, I will not take the time to pen my own thoughts concerning the SCOTUS decision to legalize homosexual unions across the nation.  So much is wrapped into this issue other than theology, including the constitution, democracy in general, personal narratives, and the culture wars.  Instead, I will point you to two trusted sources for information and what to do going forward.

First, the CM Alliance’s official statement on the matter (which is quite masterful):

http://www.cmalliance.org/news/2015/06/26/the-alliance-responds-to-scotus-ruling/

Second, a few thoughts from Walt Mueller of CPYU:

http://www.cpyu.org/2015/06/27/post-scotus-chatter-and-trying-to-get-it-right/

I am struck by the stance Pastor Myron laid out in the Sunday morning worship service yesterday – the need for the balance of holiness and love.  Do not retreat to the ends of the spectrum, for by doing so you alienate others and render your stance useless.  Always speak the truth and point people to the cross out of genuine concern and desire for wholeness.

Matt

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Talking About “Inside Out”

The new Pixar movie “Inside Out” is now in theaters, and portrays both the value and harm emotions can play in our lives.  So how do we talk to our kids about it?  How do we let them know it’s OK to feel angry or hurt, as long as it is in balance and doesn’t lead to irrational, reactive actions?

Read this:

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/talking-about-inside-out

I see a danger in this movie.  By personifying emotions, I fear it could lead to younger kids thinking that their emotions are beyond their control.  They see an independent, determining force controlling how they think and feel and this might be how they frame their reality.  The entertaining portrayal could become a framework perception, thus leading to blaming outside forces rather than ownership of emotion and reaction.

Talk to your kids about emotions.  Allow them to feel, but check and balance those feelings and always point them toward Jesus, thankfulness, and reconciliation.

Matt

Fathers – You’re Call is to Your Family

While the biblical scholar in me thinks the author of this article is reading a bit too much into the scripture, i do believe he is right on in terms of the necessity of father’s to lead in your homes.

Read this:

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/fathers-exercise-the-leadership-god-has-trusted-to-you

Our model of fatherhood is that of our Heavenly Father.  Our model of husbandry is that of Christ to His church.  Lead well and be lead well.

Matt

Disagree to Disagree

A 10-year study has found that disagreeable teens tend to turn into disagreeable adults.

Read this:

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/16/414831873/disagreeable-teens-fail-to-understand-their-blind-spots-research-reveals

Yes, it’s true.  Teens have trouble empathizing in general.  Given the rise in technology as a barrier for face-to-face communication, empathy is a skill that now needs to be intentionally taught.  I find the study in the article interesting, but not hopeless.  Yes, many teens who are selfish or disagreeable grow up to stay that way.  However, there are many vehicles for changing this sort of behavior.  Team sports is a great one – it teaches teamwork, social dynamics, and the all-too-forgotten skills of winning and losing with grace.  Scouts teaches team dynamics and respect.  Other programs or social activities can be useful, but they are all about instilling value and behavior modification.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about modifying behavior or even changing priorities.  The Gospel is about the transformational work of Christ’s death on the cross, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the love and acceptance of the Father despite our brokenness.  Talk to your kids about the Gospel and how it affects their social dynamics.  Respect, empathy, and even listening skills will come as a result of the work of God in their hearts as they follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  Everything else is just behavior modification.

Teens Lean on Technology for Health Advice

Apparently teens use the internet for more than wasting time.  The below CNN article speak on research which finds that many teens turn to the internet for health advice.  Using search engines and other websites, teenagers look to find tips, how-to’s, and information regarding health related issues.

Read this:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/02/health/teens-health-technology/

One thing the article mentions that i think is worth more than a pass-by is that, “teenagers still say they get the majority of such advice from their parents.”  Your kids may have their noses buried in devices, but their ears are still functional and are tuned to YOUR frequency.  Parents, you are the most influential presence in your kids’ lives…don’t forget it.

Matt

What’s the Balance with Bruce Jenner?

This blog post by The Gospel Coalition (i recommend you subscribe or follow them on Facebook) does a wonderful job of outlining what it means to love Bruce despite his confusion and open rebellion against God’s design.  It’s a hard balance, and it’s especially hard to communicate to our kids the “why’s” of our true and loving response to the situation.

I believe reading this will bless you:

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/caitlyn-jenner-love-future-tense

Matt

Inferiority Inspired by Social Media

Social Media has some merit, but unfortunately it is the last ingredient in a rather bitter cocktail.  The human condition of sin bears the burdens of jealousy, comparison, inferiority, and pride.  We take on all that weight, and the world, using the lens of social media, is like a 10 year old boy on a bright summer’s day with a magnifying glass and an ant hill.  It’s simply destructive.

read this:

http://www.examiner.com/article/what-to-do-about-feelings-of-inferiority-inspired-by-social-media-images

Your worth, comes from the Lord!  Romans 8:28-29 tell us of the good that God works for us…that we are being made into the image of Christ!  That is your worth.  That is your identity.  It is the worth of Christ.