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Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

Month

January 2017

#WomensMarch #MenGrowUp! #MothersDay

Can February March?

No, but April May!

Since Donald J. Trump has taken his place as President of the USA, people all over the world have marched through their cities in protest, I asked someone who I know is a mother and a Christian, wondering whether if there was a better way for women to get their point across?  She replied that she didn’t march because she had to work and look after her kids all of whom have special needs.

If she had marched it would have been FOR equal rights and equality in all aspects of life for women!  I finally understood where she was coming from, some of the tweets she was sharing were from interviews women have had basically asking:-

  • Are you married or single?
  • Are you planning on getting pregnant any time soon?
  • What will you do if your child is sick?

Now, those questions are rarely given to male applicants and shouldn’t even come into the interview process!  I can understand that if a small business is employing a female and then that female gets pregnant, calls in sick, due to morning sickness and then takes a year off on maternity leave, possibly even quitting at the end of that year it is not the most ideal situation for the business owner.  But also men will rarely get asked those type of questions as cavalier as it sounds, we are rarely left “holding the baby”, if you boil it down some men just consider their role in parenthood is providing half the DNA however it happens and then the woman is “stuck” with the tiny human growing within their own bodies!

I know that every relationship is different, they often break down, it isn’t always clear cut who is at fault, occasionally it is mainly down to the behaviour of one individual in the relationship being unreasonable, abusive and/or battling with an addiction which ruins their lives.  There are more and more relationships where one “party” or even both “parties” are suffering with mental conditions like depression, anxiety or something that makes them view themselves in a way that isn’t true like anorexia or body dysmorphia.

The bible was written in a time when societies were very patriarchal, so a lot of the bible is written and translated in a way which appears to perpetuate the idea of male superiority.  Yet Jesus and the bible also elevate women to important roles!  Because of Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law, she was the ancestor of David, who in turn was the ancestor of the Lord Jesus!  Esther was used to protect her people from being harmed as she was placed as queen in the court of King Xerxes.

In my entire working life, there has only been one job where I haven’t had a female in a supervisory role over me.  Being a parent and a youth worker, I can see the importance of good role models for children and young people, I look at my parents and my siblings and see that we have “turned out quite well“.

Despite what match.com and other dating sites try to make you think, complete compatibility is not what you need in a partner, you need someone who “completes you” someone who has and is some of the things you are not!  My wife is a go-getter, her motto is the same as Nike’s “just do it!” she cannot stand the committees and discussions that people have before they step out, she just does and then learns from her mistakes!  I am more of a thinker, I should step out more but I am always (over-)analysing things.

I do however get angry at my fellow males who need a good slap or a big wake-up call! I know i have my failings but seriously how on earth can you:-

  • Moan about someone delivering a donated appliance to replace your broken one, and not lift a finger to help in moving it into place?
  • be able to drive and refuse to take YOUR partner to the shops or town to get what she needs for YOUR kids?
  • Spend money on buying sports gear, when your kids are barely able to eat.
  • Spend loads of money on christmas presents, when your children’s mother has not got a Cooker to heat the christmas dinner in?

We are no longer in the 1950’s, roles for genders have changed, my wife has so much more experience in a particular role that she could earn more than me if she went to work and  I stayed at home (although a large chunk of that would disappear in transportation costs). Some parents are in the position that they have no choice but for them both to be at work!

Single parents do an amazing job, i know of one mum that has three teenage kids, one with special needs, yet she has a job and makes time to work out! I know of other mums that have children with special needs yet they make sure all their children have all they need!

I look around and can understand why some feminists may feel the need to not require a man’s input other than his “seed” but that just shows the twisted understanding and failures of males to step up and be “men”, not aggressive neandarthals but good examples of responsible fathers, caring & supportive partners and hard working individuals!

Mothers do a lot statistics like this regularly appear at this time of year

Mother’s Day job values index

Mother’s job description BLS Occupation Title Hours Per Year 2016 median hourly wage 2016 median annual earnings 2015 median hourly wage Change compared to LY Mom’s 2016 annual earnings
Taking care of the kids Childcare worker 2080 $10.75 $22,360.00 $11.10 -3.2% $22,360.00
Summer activity planner Social director 480 $18.20 $37,856.00 $18.68 -2.6% $8,736.00
Helping with homework Teacher/ instructor 400 $20.43 $42,484.00 $19.30 5.9% $8,170.00
Cooking Cook 728 $10.00 $20,800.00 $10.13 -1.3% $7,280.00
Driving Taxi driver/ chauffeur 468 $14.63 $30,420.00 $12.12 20.7% $6,844.50
Cleaning up Maid/ housekeeping cleaner 520 $10.18 $21,164.00 $10.00 1.8% $5,291.00
Shopping for the family Personal assistant 156 $11.03 $22,932.00 $10.63 3.8% $1,719.90
Planning parties Meeting, convention and event planner 64 $21.00 $43,680.00 $24.53 -14.4% $1,344.00
Fixing up the house Designer 40 $23.48 $48,843.08 $23.27 0.9% $939.20
Finding out what the kids are up to Private detective 40 $21.08 $43,836.00 $25.91 -18.6% $843.00
Family finances Accountant/auditor 26 $24.70 $51,376.00 $24.98 -1.1% $642.20
Yard work Grounds maintenance worker 52 $11.73 $24,288.00 $12.95 -9.4% $609.70
Nursing wounds Licensed nurse 24 $18.43 $38,324.00 $18.43 0.0% $442.20
Hair stylist Hairstylist and cosmetologist 26 $11.58 $24,076.00 $11.90 -2.7% $300.95

Mom’s total earnings: $65,522.65

Four mothers close to me are just a few of the incredible examples of motherhood there are:-

  • My mum- always there when we need her, she cares a lot for her children and grandchildren.  She is generous and is passionate.  She managed to create such an environment in her music class in a rough boys school that they respected her and one boy felt remorse when he felt he let her down!  She is awesome!
  • My big sister- acted like a second mum, has such a generous spirit, cares a lot, despite having to remain in hospital following the birth of her baby, she is fighting against PTSD and “baby blues”, she is one of the most loving people i have ever met!
  • My sister-in-law- is always willing to help, is a really caring person!  In her capacity as a midwife, she delivered all three of our children, she was like a mother to my wife and works non-stop to support her family and even makes time to help at a counselling centre for women struggling with their pregnancy, miscarriages at the same time as training to be an accredited counsellor!
  • My wife- obviously a very inspiring woman! She has a big heart for mothers and families in need!  She spends 4 out of 5 mornings doing something to support the mothers in our community.  Our children have one of the best mums they could ever imagine!  I know I could never afford to pay someone to do all the things she does for me and my chidren but I do appreciate it and no doubt fail to show her enough how much!

I know this is very late to post but I wanna encourage mothers out there, that you are doing an amazing job, you deserve more credit, more reward and more recognition than the world gives you!  All your children can ask is that you try your best to make time to spend with them as that is what they will remember!

Males need to get a grip, show your appreciation to the females who are supporting you and caring for your offspring, give them some respect and don’t treat them like a slave or something disposable!  Remember if you have a child, treat their mother the way you would want someone to treat your mother or your daughter!

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Are you are “melted chocolate teapot” or do you have “log-eye”?

I read this morning that Chris Pratt, the lead actor of Guardians of the galaxy and many other movies, reportedly was “converted” whilst being a waiter and living out of a van! There is a part of me that likes becoming aware that some of the people I see on my screen have a faith in God. However, I also find it odd when people say “you should vote for them as they are Christian!” Just because they claim to follow Christ doesn’t mean their vocal abilities are any better than another person!

If our “faith” has little impact on our behaviour then we fail to be “light” to the world or “salt” purifying and giving our community “the flavour of Christ”. We are called to be set apart, we are “in the world but not of it” so how do we make a difference? If we decide that we are not going to:-

  • swear
  • Tell rude jokes
  • take part in activities that are questionable

Will others not see we are different?

One of my favourite actors has done a few broadway shows and I listened to a recording of one of the songs he sang, I was dismayed to hear him dropping the “f-bomb” in it, I don’t really see the need to swear, there are so many more words in the English language but people seem to resort to the basic four-letter words whenever and how often they feel like it.  I caught myself thinking about whether or not he should have sung/said those things, realising that  I am not “squeaky clean“.

I don’t envy celebrities, as soon as they are semi-famous, people wanna know their business, reporters will look for any “dirty laundry“, one article will say how awesome you are, another one will pull you to pieces for something you did ages ago.  As followers of Christ, we should not judge others, yet we often do!  Jesus loved everyone from the outset, it is not our place to rip someone off a shred, but we are called to challenge others if they are not living as they should, not in public but in private so they can be corrected fairly.

Kim Burrel had been set to appear on Ellen Degeneres’ (or “Ellen Degenerate” as some people apparently call her!) show, however Kim’s comments in her church about the “homosexual spirit” caused that offer to be withdrawn after someone recorded her spiel and posted it online.  Could Kim have had more of an impact if she was “softer” in her approach to homosexuality being a sin and been able to get on Ellen’s show?  Should we all be nicer when it comes to how we talk about sin and everyone’s failure to respect God and our fellow man?

I can recall that in high school, my refusal to swear was something different  to my friends, they kept trying to get me to say swear words and even resorted to German and Spanish to try and trick me!  They made jokes about me getting aroused at images of fully dressed women who had also fur coats on (rather than the naked or half-naked ones my friends obviously enjoyed viewing).  My friends even thought that my unwillingness to cheat in the card game “cheat” was abnormal! It wasn’t a moral decision but the fact that we played with 3 decks of cards totalling at least 156 cards meant i didn’t often need to cheat!

I look back at my life and easily identify times that I could have done better, been nicer, taken more time to think before acting.  I try my best not to be critical of others, but as I have said before:-

The “grass may be greener on the other side” but you don’t know how much work has gone into making it constantly look that way!

On the flip side of that, you or I may look at someone, thinking about how:-

  • useless they appear to be.
  • they really need to “step up” and do more to help their family!
  • they shouldn’t say or do those things you have seen or heard them doing.
  • unloving and disrespectful they appear to be.

Yet as Jesus said “he without sin cast the first stone“, we need to be mindful of our own faults because if we do decide to “pull our neighbour up” on something they have done, we should be prepared for them to do the same! If I am a liar and a thief, I have no right to tell my friend “you shouldn’t be having sex with someone of the same gender!”  Sure we should fight and stand up for our beliefs but there needs to be a balance of love and respect!

Kim saying “homosexuals are gonna die of their sin in 2017” may not have been the best way of handling it, she should have tempered that comment with all the other things God calls a “sin”!  All of us have fallen short of what God expects of us, yet he loves us anyway!  There is more and more hatred & vitriol these days coming from people who should know better!

There are a number of high-profile christians who have been caught out, or have confessed doing things which the bible tells us not to do, but should that mean we dismiss them off hand? If a singer-songwriter who writes amazing songs of worship, commits adultery whether out of wedlock or homosexual, does that mean all their songs are “tainted” with a deceitful spirit?

If someone is holding a position of leadership and they are leading people away from the truth, then sure it is something we need to walk away from, but if what has been said or written by them is “true”, surely God can redeem it?!

I have watched countless youtube videos by people condemning “wolves”, my wife thinks I listen too much to them and not enough of the bible and she has got a point! If we are constantly on the look out for heresy, deceit and evil in our midst, we are doing not much better than those who constantly are after the next “spiritual high”, being as useful as a chocolate teapot and not meeting the needs of those in our community!

This year I am going to try to be more intentional, not sleepwalking through my walk with God, but trying my best to be aware of others needs, the truth of the situations I find myself in and loving others how Jesus would like me to.

What about you? Have you ever been a melted chocolate teapot? Criticising others for their sin-charred kettle butts? Wanna change this year? Don’t make a resolution!  Just do it!

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