Bring Back the 50s “Wife”!?

Balancing Towards a Healthy Marriage

A photo has recently circulated around social media describing how a wife in the 1950s should prepare for her husband’s return from work.  Now, before I say anything else, let the record show that if I expected any of these items from my wife, she wouldn’t be my wife for very long. But the picture did get me thinking – have we discarded some valuable marriage advice on account of the extreme conditions we found ourselves in?

bring-back-the-50s-wife

If you have yet to see the photo, here it is:

tips-to-look-after-your-husband

We read these 1950s guidelines humorously in 2016.  Many today can’t even imagine living in a world with that mindset.

But here’s the issue: we have to realize we’re people of extremes. We tend to go from one extreme (nearly abuse of women) to the other (nearly abuse of men).  You could argue against those extremes if you want, but the pendulum definitely swings.

In Canada, the divorce rate has leveled off in recent years, but so has the commitment of marriage.1  In our push to treat women better, we haven’t solved marriage problems.  The problems are just different now.

So, here’s my question: have we discarded anything of value?  To use the common phrase: “Have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater?”

Here are some thoughts to consider:

1. Selflessness is the key to a healthy marriage.

A healthy #marriage should include two people who put the other before themselves. Click To TweetThe verse that says, “Wives submit to your husbands…and husbands love your wives, like Christ loved the Church…” (Ephesians 5:22f) is often misunderstood.  The key to that verse is selflessness.  A healthy marriage should include two people who put the other person before themselves. Why not spoil your spouse!?  The only potential problem – it can’t be one-sided.

2. Generalized gender roles shouldn’t exist.

Our culture demands gender roles – what men and women should and shouldn’t do. Biblically, this shouldn’t be the case.  Jacob and Esau are great examples.  Both were male and yet completely different.  Esau was a hunter, while Jacob was a home-maker.  At no point, does scripture say either of them were “outside” of their gender.2  A healthy marriage doesn’t include generalized roles, rather leverages the strengths of each other.  That means some of these guidelines could actually help stay-at-home dads as well.

3. Listening and communicating to your spouse is a good thing.

If you haven’t heard this before, you haven’t been listening.  Communication and genuinely listening to your spouse is a part of a healthy marriage.  A common issue among divorcees is a lack of attention for each other.  Again, it can’t be one-sided, but it’s something we should value and protect for sure.

4. It takes a community to raise a child.

This 1950 guide seems to put most of the active parenting role on the mother; however, both parents (and sometimes other family and friends) hold that responsibly.  It’s probably safe to say we all agree with that.  The problem is, when we discard this traditional mindset, we can’t forget that if someone does stay home with the children (either parent) their level of daily parenting is still greater.  The responsibility might be equal, while the activity may not be.  A healthy marriage recognizes this dynamic.

5. Stress goes both ways.

There’s no need for “making him comfortable.”  But let’s face it, everyone deals with a variety of issues every day.  A healthy marriage recognizes the daily stress of their spouse.  It’s probably not a good idea to compare the level of stress – the stress is just different.  I wish I was better at this, but creating a “winding-down time” before diving into the world of parenting a toddler would be helpful.

6. Make the evening “ours”.

A healthy #marriage is about being together. #unity #HealthyAttention Click To TweetAfter a long day make efforts to spend quality time together.  Watch your favorite TV show, play a game, or share a funny story.  Even if it’s work around the house, time spent together is valuable.  If there’s one thing this guide has right, is protecting the need for the home to be a safe and peaceful place. It just shouldn’t be one-sided.  A healthy marriage is about being together.

I can’t say I’m perfect on all these fronts [and my wife would say, “Amen!”], but they are things I value and try to work on.

At the end of day, we should probably take this 1950s list and apply it to both spouses.  We have the tendency to dismiss things.  If we lived more selflessly, however, marriage would become a sought after commitment instead of a traditional option.

Your turn…

What aspects would you want to protect or return?  How can we move towards balance and not another extreme?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

References   [ + ]

Trump or Clinton?

How does a Christian navigate the 2016 US election?

At this point, I would think many Americans have their minds made up.  In fact, over 24 million Americans have already voted.1  There are “Christian” reasons to vote for either of these candidates. The question remains: who has God chosen to lead America and how will the world react?

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“Christian” Politics

I recently saw a diagram outlining the American characteristics of the left versus right politics.2

leftright_us_1416-1When you start describing the “Christian” view, it’s difficult to stay on one side or the other.  Here are some examples:

  • Christians should be inclusive, and yet protective of established morals.
  • Christians should be loving and build relationships of respect and trust, and yet tough love is often required to build discipline and a strong character.
  • Christians should help those in need to encourage unity and equality, and yet make the most of every opportunity and be great stewards of our resources.
  • Christians should pursue peace, and yet protect those who cannot defend themselves.

The problem in 2016 is that neither of the candidates fit perfectly into the ideal left or right, and neither are “Christian.” Clinton has proven to be untrustworthy, or even unethical at times, and Trump’s tactics are aggressively non-conservative.

My point is this – voting “Christian” is not an option.  American Christians need prayer so they can choose the leader God has already chosen. #Election2016 Click To TweetThe choice is between Clinton, who has few Christian morals but has some Christian polices, and Trump, who holds true to most Christian morals, but has few Christian polices. American Christians need prayer so they can choose the leader God has already chosen (Acts 1:24), not the “Christian” leader, because that’s not an option.

In God we trust…

As the Pledge of Allegiance and the US currency clearly states, the American people put their trust in God.  While many now don’t truly believe this, Christians certainly should because scripture tells us to do so. In the case of political leaders, we know God is completely in control!  Paul wrote:

“…there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1, NIV)

No matter the final outcome on November 8, God is completely in control and there is no need to fear.  American Christians need prayer so they can trust God, and not fear the outcome.

The Canadian Christian Reaction

I’ve watched the Canadian reaction during this election at a bit of a distance.  As a Canadian, I really don’t have much to say, other than pray for fellow believers as they try to navigate through the muddy waters.  If you’re Canadian, this is my advice:

  1. Pray – honestly and earnestly pray for American Christians as they go to the polls to vote. Pray that they hear God’s voice and vote accordingly.  Pray that they don’t fear the outcome, but put their trust in God’s direction. American Christians need prayer so they can trust God, and not fear the outcome. #Election2016 Click To Tweet
  2. Don’t advocate – you’re Canadian, not American. I wouldn’t expect Americans to understand Canadian politics either.  All I know is that the election is far from ideal and both candidates have pros and cons.  As Canadian Christians, should we be advocating one way or other? Probably not.
  3. Publicly state your support – as fellow believers, let American Christians know you support them. Let them know you’re praying for them and the results of the election.  If there’s one good thing about social media – it’s your platform to bring encouragement internationally.
  4. Pray for our government – Trudeau and his government will have to work closely with whoever is elected. Pray for wisdom, so that our leaders don’t lead out of fear.

Your turn…

Are you praying? How do you think Canadians should react to the election?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

References   [ + ]

When Change Happens

A meditation for the closing PSCH Chapel (September 6, 2016)

Change is never easy. I encourage change, but I don’t always enjoy change. What I mean is this: I know change can be good for me and it helps me grow, so I encourage it.  On the other hand, the process and transition of change, is never really a fun experience. The reality, however, is that change happens.  We can’t avoid it.

psch-closing-meditation

Four years ago, my wife and I moved to Bay Roberts.  I’m a “townie” (from St. John’s) and so the jump from living in an urban area to living in a rural area was a bit of a leap for me.

One of my first experiences was the post office.  I dropped by to register for a new box number and before I had my name out, she knew I was the new Pentecostal pastor.  She proceeded to ask if I wanted the previous pastor’s box, or a new one.  Off the top of her head, she knew his box number and the churches’ number.

All I could think was, “Do I have ‘PASTOR’ written on my forehead? What’s going on? People didn’t know who I was back home.”

My “normal” had changed.

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Should Christians Play Pokemon Go?

Finding the Balance between Distraction and Opportunity

The more I hear about the new Pokemon Go app, the more it makes me think. I’ve seen the game act as a distraction and also as a ministry tool. My question: do we have to worry about balance?

pokemon-go

For those living outside of the Millennial/Gen Z craze, Pokemon Go is a new game played on your smartphone.  In its simplest form, you have to walk around, with your device in hand, looking for Pokemon (cartoon creatures) to catch.

This might sound a little obscure and silly, but so do many games until you start playing.  In fact, games can become highly addictive. A little silly game can quickly consume large portions of our time and conversation.  Candy Crush is a great example.

I’d be the first to admit that I spend my fair share of time playing silly phone games. I’d also be the first to admit, that it doesn’t help me grow in my Christian journey.

I’ve started to re-ask myself a very basic question, “If Jesus were here today would He be trying to ‘catch ‘em all?’” It might be a complicated answer.  There are two questions we have to keep in mind: 1) is it a distraction; and, 2) is it an opportunity?

Pokemon Go as a Distraction

There are many things that can distract us from what is actually important in life.  Games, in general, definitely make that list.

Actually, “distraction” might be an understatement. Pokemon Go has caused car crashes, people to walk off cliffs, and otherwise completely disregard all forms of basic humanity.1

Games like #PokemonGo have the potential of distracting a whole generation from the #gospel. Click To TweetIn writing to Timothy, Paul warned him to avoid “youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace…” (2 Timothy 2:22). The phrase “youthful passions” is often debated, but it’s fair to view this in a general sense.  It’s a tendency to be lured into “immaturity” and the “new thing” and distracted from what’s important – “righteousness, faith, love and peace” (ie. the gospel.) 2 Games like Pokemon Go have the potential of distracting a whole generation from the gospel.

Paul also understood that we live in grace.  There are many things that we are free to do, “but not all things are helpful” (1 Cor 6:12, 10:23).  Paul was discussing specific issues when he wrote that, however, he was simply stating our freedom and responsibility in Christ.

We can participate, but is it helpful?

Pokemon Go as an Opportunity

Just like there are distractions, there are also opportunities.

Jesus made the most out of every opportunity while bringing people down the road of #SpiritualLife. Click To Tweet

Jesus connected with people in culture. In fact, he connected with them wherever he went. Jesus made the most out of every opportunity while bringing people down the road of spiritual life. Shouldn’t we aim to do the same?

Several local churches have made new connections with youth and young adults through the game.  Some have set up a charging station, put up a sign to welcome Pokemon trainers, and otherwise interacting with those running around their city or town.3

Check out this local church (their building happens to be a Pokestop):

Paul wrote, “I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).  That means, for the sake of the gospel, we sometimes need to engage with things in order to connect with people.  It’s not a call to avoid holiness, rather a call to relate. We are by no means threatening our relationship with God by engaging in Pokemon Go.  But, by participating, we may in fact connect with kids and teens for the Kingdom!

So What Do We Do?

Ultimately, we all need to distinguish between a distraction and opportunity for ourselves.  As I observe, however, these are my best suggestions:

  • Understand the game and learn why culture is so caught up with it;
  • Sign up for the game and try it out; and,
  • Interact with those around you; BUT,
  • Avoid becoming personally invested in the game; and,
  • Keep your attention towards relationship building and Kingdom growth.
#PokemonGo can help us engage w/ culture so we can lead others to what really matters – Jesus! Click To Tweet

I won’t say Pokemon Go (and other games) are “sinful” or “ungodly.” However, if God wants us to live our lives for His glory, the Devil is certainly excited to see Christians fully engaged in silly games.  If we’re not focusing on our spiritual journey, then we won’t be able to lead others to Christ.

If, however, we use games like Pokemon Go to help build the Kingdom, there are some great opportunities.  Pokemon Go can help us engage with culture so we can lead others to what really matters – Jesus!

On a physical level, there could even be some positive outcomes to playing such game (12 Surprising Health Benefits Of Playing Video Games).


Your turn…

Question: How will you engage Pokemon Go? …and other games? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

 

References   [ + ]

You Can’t Fight Hate with Hate; Respond With Love

3 Reasons Why Christians Must Respond With Love, Not Hate

The world is in bad shape.  It seems like every time I turn on the TV or read a news article online, I’m faced with another tragedy or senseless act. Even the local crime rate seems to have escalated.  As I read each story and witness the pain, I’m left to respond in some way.  It’s difficult, however, to find words or even manage emotions.  I’ll be honest, it’s easier when the tragedy or crime is at a distance, but the reality of the pain and the thoughts of a potential parallel situation, are difficult to absorb.

love-not-hate

Question: How do we process this? How do we respond? What if it becomes personal? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Jesus gave us a clear teaching: don’t fight hate with hate; respond with love.

Here are 3 reasons why:

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