Friday, May 26, 2006

God is good

"It's these moments, I think, that reveal the true man; the instinctive reaction before manufactured and trained good behavior can take over. You have a glimpse of what lies underneath the conventional responses, and in my case I saw a monumental selfishness."

--Iain Pears
in "The Portrait"

I have to admit to seeing such a monumental selfishness in myself...and frequently. But I try to keep before my eyes the hope I have in my Lord Jesus Christ: I have the opportunity, as a child of God, for a lifetime of growth and maturation through the influence of his Holy Spirit inside me; I am allowed to choose an increasing vulnerability to the love and the will of God, a choice which always leads to transformation and salvation, over and over again.

Praise the LORD!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

the hugest update this year....for me, anyway

Hi Friends and Neighbors and Assorted Lurkers,

So, here’s the major-mondo update I’ve been promising for months and months. I’m going to keep it “short”—not because I don’t want you to know details, and not because I don’t think you’re interested (because I know you’re waiting with bated breath to hear about everything going on in *my* life)—but for my own sanity. Why? Because if I don’t keep this update relatively “short,” I’ll never write it. And if I never write it, I think I’ll inner-pressure myself out of blogging anymore. And if I inner-pressure myself out of blogging, I might go a little nuts.

If that makes sense to no one but me, then the going-nuts part has probably already happened.

So, with neither further ado nor further adon’t, here’s the nuts-and-bolts version of what’s been going on the last few months:

1. My sermon at the German Ladies' Retreat in February.
Aye, it went well. I wasn’t as nervous about this one as I was about the one last September. God infused me with more calm than I’ve ever had while speaking in front of people…and this time, I actually had fun with it. Slowly, I’m starting to believe those gifts-assessment tests that claim I would be good at teaching in a public role. Hmmm…..

2. My "epiphanies" resulting from the English-Speaking Ladies' Retreat in March.
In the shell of a nut, these epiphanies were specific to my relationship with Ed, and they’re not something I would want to tell the world about. Not in this forum, anyway. Suffice it to say, I realized this: The way I’ve treated Ed in the past has given him the feeling that I don’t trust him. Many things I’ve said and done have hindered him from leading our family the way he should. I talked with him about these realizations and asked his forgiveness.
And since I’ve started concentrating on trusting him, he has started making some good changes, and I don’t feel this inner pressure on myself to be in control of everything.
Huh. It’s pretty neat how God knows what he’s talking about in regard to men and women.

3. The counseling class I took.
This was another advanced course with Jim and Elsa Springer from the church in Bremen. The class covered the basics in counseling, and it was a great challenge. The most important things I learned were things about myself:
--I’m not yet emotionally mature enough or educated enough to be a counselor. Even though I often need to take a counseling role in my work, I put too much pressure on myself to be “better” at it than I’m capable of being at this point.
--I can’t communicate my boundaries to others until I have established them firmly in my own mind.
--I now feel better equipped to let others deal with their own problems instead of becoming emotionally overwhelmed myself because I feel like I have to take responsibility for what other people are doing. I’ve learned and now understand that what others do is not my fault, and it’s certainly not my responsibility. I’m not going to drag others’ emotional baggage around with me anymore.

4. My brief trip to Oklahoma.
As some of you already know, I was in Oklahoma for a week at the end of April. My Grandma Boxley, who is 91, is in very bad health. My mom called me and asked me to fly over there and spend time with Grandma for a week, and of course I agreed. It was a rough, rough trip—physically and emotionally. I’m glad it was possible for me to go….I’m glad I got to say goodbye.
Since I’ve been back, I think I’ve been avoiding thinking about Grandma a lot…which is terrible of me. But this is not an easy pain to deal with.

5. Current events:
--Let’s Start Talking team arrived from Cascade two weeks ago. Nichol, Spencer, and Tasha hit the ground running by hosting the LST Info Meeting the very day they arrived. Since then, they’ve been reading with people, visiting schools, and being an encouragement to the church here.
--The Harding Choir arrives for a concert this weekend. Fifty students; 3 or 4 will be staying with Ed and me. We’re renting a big room downtown for this Sunday’s worship service, and we’re inviting the Lutherans from down the street to join us if they wish. (The Lutherans will be keeping half the Harding students for two nights; the church will be keeping the other half.)
--FriendsCamp will be the weekend of June 9th.
--The “Singing Campaign” from OC will arrive mid-June.
--I still need to go to the “Ausländerbehörde” (“Foreigners’ Department”) to find out about the paperwork I submitted for my visa extension. I think that technically, I’m in the country illegally.
--I should’ve gone to the doctor a week ago to find out some blood test results (thyroid again), but I haven’t gotten a round 2 it.
--We need to take Pippin to the vet soon to have her “fixed.” Poor thing.
--I've been reading a lot of good books lately, including:

  • "The Importance of Being Foolish," by Brennan Manning
  • "QBQ! The Question Behind the Question," by John G. Miller
  • "The Portrait," by Iain Pears
  • "Life Expectancy," by Dean Koontz
  • "Walking Through the Wardrobe," by Sarah Arthur

I've been toying with the idea of blogging some book reviews. But how would I make the time?

I’ve been feeling tired a lot.
And I guess that’s it. You want any more details, yer gonna hafta ask. ;o)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chessboard Parleys, Episode II

mgam: I suppose you can say whatever you like. you're a big girl. hey who you calling unique?!
angeltwist: i'll even shout it from the rooftops if i want, so there. ;oP and i'm calling you unique! you've never given me the impression that it's your lifelong goal to be like everyone else.....
mgam: Hey I'm not oppossed to that nor to the ide of being unique...
angeltwist: better than the ide of march, i suppose.
mgam: if you've seen one ide you've seen em all...
angeltwist: it would take me a few minutes to figure out how many ides of seen.....but i'm sure i haven't seen all of them. i'm not as old as you, y'know.
mgam: thanks for rubbing it in. the ide of texas are upon you...
angeltwist: well, ide éclair!
mgam: that was the greatest pun i've ever heard. you win.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

great news for virginal men

I just read the following article in the Yahoo! news section:

It's hard out there for a virgin...
Fri May 5, 8:49 AM ET

A brothel has become the first in Berlin to offer special deals for virgins with prostitutes trained in the delicate art of catering for customers who have never had sex, a German newspaper reported Friday.

The brothel in the red light area of the Kreuzberg district of the city charges 60 euros for a half an hour of sex and works within the laws of Germany where prostitution is legal.

"These are men who either never had sex before or have never been in a brothel before," the brothel's operator was quoted as saying in Berlin's B.Z. tabloid.

"It's the first house of love in Berlin that specializes in taking care of beginners," wrote the daily on its front page.

Prostitutes are given "sensitivity training" for first-time clients, who the brothel operator said are not necessarily young but often 40 or older: "They need to be aware of how much courage it takes to go to a brothel the first time."


Let me repeat that final quote: "They need to be aware of how much courage it takes to go to a brothel the first time."

Excuse me? Courage? I can think of a few words that would make for a better description. Perversion, for one. Immorality, for another. Or how about total lack of respect for self. Total lack of respect for women.

Actually, come to think of it, even cowardice would be a better word than courage. Yes, cowardice, because paying someone to have sex displays an unwillingness to deal with reality. Maybe the reality of an unhealthy marriage. Maybe the reality of one's own deep psychological problems. For virgins, maybe the reality of not being able to develop healthy, committed relationships.

This article shocks me. Not because prostitution is legal in Germany. I already knew that. And not even because this brothel is catering specifically to virgin men.

(Guys, would you really want to have to tell your future wife that your first sexual experience was with a woman you had to pay? A woman you didn't even love? A woman you didn't even know?)

No, what shocks me is the attitude in this article. The mindset. The view that prostitution is perfectly normal. Perfectly acceptable. Perfectly okay. And, underlying all of that, the view that if you think this is wrong, there must be something wrong with you.

The article emphasized the "sensitivity" of the trained prostitutes. Well, I think the whole thing is fundamentally sick and wrong. I guess that makes me insensitive.

So be it.

People, I refuse to sugar-coat this. On this subject, I will gladly stand up under accusations of being politically incorrect, intolerant, and judgmental.

Prostitution is a sin. Under any circumstances.
Visiting a prostitute is a sin. Under any circumstances.
Sex outside of marriage is a sin. Under any circumstances.

This is the kind of thing that caused the fall of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the Roman Empire. (Greatest nation of the world, brought down by immorality. Does that ring a bell?)

This is why the world needs us Christians to be light. This is why the world needs us Christians to be salt. (Matthew 5)

Without light, people stumble around in darkness and fall.

Without salt as a preservative, things rot.