The best kind of officer

Clauzwitz is channeling Aristotle again. He says that strength of character consists of having powerful emotions balanced with self-control:

If we consider how men differ in their emotional reactions, we first find a group with small capacity for being roused, usually known as ‘stolid’ or ‘phlegmatic.”

Second, there are men who are extremely active, but whose feelings never rise above a certain level, men whom we know to be sensitive but calm.

Third, there are men whose passions are easily inflamed, in whom excitement flares up suddenly but soon burns out, like gunpowder. And finally we come to those who do not react to minor matters, who will be moved only very gradually, not suddenly, but whose emotions attain great strength and durability. These are the men whose passions are strong, deep, and concealed. Continue reading “The best kind of officer”

Thought to Ponder

From my reading this morning:

God’s people tend to suffer a lot of false guilt over sins they have already confessed and received forgiveness for. The big ones and the minor ones. Even attitudes. We long to live lives that are beyond reproach. We want to be perfect parents, perfect children, perfect friends, perfect Christians, perfect people. But we are not always empathetic and forgiving. We have trouble demonstrating unconditional love. We are not always kind. Sometimes we even have temper tantrums. And sometimes we are blanketed by depression.

Why do we have all the struggle? Why is it so difficult to see ourselves as God sees us — on the one hand, sinners who cannot be good enough to please him; on the other hand, his beloved children, forgiven and restored? Once reason, as we’ve discovered, is that we’re often preoccupied with the opinions of other people rather than with God’s. We’ve adopted this world’s standards. We judge ourselves and others by those standards, forgetting all that the Father has to say about us.

But as we begin to recognize and accept our standing in God’s value system, we can be free from the struggle for self esteem, the maneuvers to bolster our egos, the fight for our place in the pecking order. Freedom will come when our views of ourselves don’t depend on the looks, physique, or intelligence we inherited, the family we were born into, the size of our bank account, or even how others treat us. A general principle is: When you feel comfortable about yourself, about who you are and what you have, you can direct your focus away from yourself and toward others.

Norma Kvindlog and Ester Lindgren Anderson (From Beyond Me)

The Title Says it All

So my dad was offered several free magazine subscriptions that he had basically already paid for so he decided to get some random titles that looked like they might be interesting. One of the magazines he is having sent to the house is called Working Mother.

Sounds interesting right? Well, when the first one arrived I flipped through it and found it to be both intriguing and appalling at the same time. This second issue is no different.

On the cover there is a perfectly coiffed platinum blonde mother and her two platinum blond children. One boy and one girl of course and they look to be about 7 and 10. Oh, and by the way, the Papa is missing in the photo because this is about the working mother.

In the past year or so, I have come to the conclusion that you cannot be a mom and a career woman and be satisfied with your life in both arenas. You can either be the best mom or be the best at your career. It takes more than 40 hours a week to do either them exceptionally and there aren’t enough hours in the week (unless you intend not to sleep and no one can go full throttle on no sleep for long).

Now I’m not saying that a mom can’t work. In fact, there are a lot of women who enjoy their jobs and being a mom. And there are lots of women who have jobs they might not like so much but have them because of financial constraints on the family. What I am saying is that the focus and time allotment to really succeed cannot be divided between two objectives: motherhood and careerhood.

The table of contents of Working Mother really hits this dilemma on the head, or should I say the order in which articles are clumped exemplify the point. First up are the articles focused on You, then Work, and finally Family.

The main problem is found in the first focus: you. When we focus on ourselves everything else does come secondarily and even tertiarily. But I believe that our positions in which we serve others (family and church) suffer the most. Even careers don’ suffer as much because ultimately a career is also self-focused and about how I can get ahead, make more money, attain esteem, etc.


One of the blessings we’ve had of late has been to be a part of a home group whose leader truly cares pastorally for his little flock. He’s also a reader, which has been to my advantage, because there are a lot of books in the tradition of my church that I’ve never read before and right now I don’t have the cash to buy them, or the room to store them if I did. And so my deacon has become my librarian.

Recently he had lent me his copy of CJ Mahaney’s book Humility: True Greatness (which I highly recommend to everybody) and was asking me if I could share any thoughts on what I had read with our group. I sent him a few notes on what I might say to the group, but there was one thing that I didn’t find convenient to mention there, so I thought I might share it here:

In reading CJ’s book, it occurred to me that much of what I practice in the name of humility isn’t really humility at all, but self-effacement, which is not the same thing. I still think of myself more highly than I ought – in fact, more highly of myself than of you. But I hide my pride, and glory in the fact that I may have impressed you simultaneously with how humble I appear to be.

A Reflection on Parenting (Part 3)

A while back I started writing a series of posts on some of my thoughts about parenting. I kinda got sidetracked by life, but wanted to get back to some of the things I had been thinking about. In the last post I talked about the fact that society is diligently working hard to dictate how we respond to our children’s desires even going so far as to creating a science for understanding their feelings. Like darwinian evolution, behavioral science is devoid of the concept of God and focuses on self awareness, self esteem and self gratification. Do we see the root of the problem?

Behavioral science would rather have us ‘understand’ their urgings and desires instead of molding and shaping them “in the ways they should go” as we are exhorted to do in scripture. Giving our children free reign to pursue pleasure, whatever it may be, is basically giving them a free ticket into the proverbial handbasket. When we let them pursue self we are not being good parents and we certainly aren’t looking out for their benefit.

So the next I would like to explore is what specific things Christian parents can do to model Christ in a world that would rather us look through the lens of Behavioral Science and self focus.

I think the first place we need to start, is by being good role models especially when our kids are young and are watching everything around them so intently. It has been a real eye opener to watch David take in his environment, a rather sobering eye opener. As Christians, what we do and say are always being watched by society but we sometimes neglect the truth that our children are watching us even more closely so that they can imitate us. They want to play on the computer, or sweep the floor, or drive the car, or talk like Mama and Papa do. We are their first glimpse into how big people relate to each other and become thier example of how marriage relationships, friendships, being in fellowship with other Christians and relationships with their own children are supposed to work. So let us walk uprightly in the sight of God and our children, guarding our tongues and scrutinizing our actions so that in all things we glorify God.

The next thing we need to do is not to be afraid of correction. Either in correcting our children or being corrected ourselves. We all know how important it is to correct our children in love so that they will learn right from wrong, but I believe that a lot of people can undermine what they say and do by reacting badly to correction themselves. What kind of message are you sending to your children when you grumble about what your accountabilty partner is trying to help you with right after you’ve spanked them for taking cookies without asking?

I think that it ultimately boils down to where our heart is and how we respond and live. Are we focused more on our selves and reaping to the flesh instead of the spirit (Galations 5)? Are we modeling what it’s like to be follower’s of Christ? Are we good at taking God-directed correction?

Thought to Ponder Part II

Today’s thought to ponder is very short and came from last week’s sermon. I really needed to be reminded of this particular thought:

To complain about out circumstances is to really complain against God. A sovereign God does not owe us an explaination; God is not more interested in being understood than worshipped and trusted in every circumstance. We have to learn to trust even if we don’t understand.