Monthly Archives: December 2005

My family and I went to Worship Service at our church on Christmas morning and it was good.

Very good. Lots of food for thought.

The Christmas story was read from Luke 2; every other verse or so we stopped and sang a carol.

Parts of the "story" that amaze me. Not that God sent His Son (that does amaze me) - but that the second Person of the Trinity - Almighty God! came to earth in what the pastor called the "great descent"

The timing and circumstances of the greatest event in history are amazing also.

The world that Jesus was born into was under the thumb of the Roman Empire. There had been great turmoil for centuries, but only a few decades before the birth of Jesus, the Empire entered a time of relative peace, "pax Romana". Roads were built and travel was, for the most part, safe.

The life that Jesus was born into was as shameful as the death that He died. The "birthing room" was more of a cave and the "manger" was probably more like a hole in the ground.

Christ chose to start at the beginning, like we do. Why?

Through Christ, we have a complete connection to God. Christ is our only mediator; we need no other.

Through Christ, there is a radical redemption. Being reformed, I understand that "redemption", like in a pawn shop, means that He came to redeem that which was His.

And, through Christ, we become like Mary. Human, born into sin. Like Mary - a peasant girl - it makes no difference what our background is. Like Mary - unmarried and pregnant - our past doesn't matter.

Like Mary, when the Holy Spirit does His work in our lives, the seed is in us. We, like Mary, become a miraculous vessel of the message of salvation.


A couple of years ago I wrote a research paper on "Adult Singles in American Christian Churches". My professor suggested I get it published, but I was already kind of persona-non-grata at my church when it came to singles issues. Then my motherboard fried and I lost the finished product - I'm going through and doing some additions and edits. 2006 might be the year.

I was widowed at age 41 after 23 years of marriage. Like most married people, I didn't have a clue about how many single people surrounded me (or not). Like most married people - the church I was at didn't have a lot of single people and I didn't waste my time asking myself why that could be.

I did have single friends - my husband didn't come to church with me for several years and in that time, married women didn't befriend me, it was the single women that gathered around. But when my husband joined the church, I kept those single friends, but didn't look for new single friends. I was part of a "couple" and that's largely how we socialized.

As of 2004, 49.8% of "Heads of Households" in the United States are single adults. That's a lot of single people.

Does your church look like the population, reflecting that fact that roughly 1/3 of adults in the United States are single? If not, why not?

I had some interesting experiences as a widow. Because of my age (only 2% of the US population consists of widows between 34 and 55), my experiences are different than most widows. In a lot of ways, I have more in common with divorced women my age than I do widows of all ages - who are mostly older)

By and large - married women treat single women as "outsiders". Face it, we're not part of the club. Some of the excuses:

We have different challenges. I would answer that when my daughter wants to go out with a young man that I don't approve of, the challenges are very much the same - only I don't have a husband to stand beside me to provide an example of what a Godly man should be like.

We're in different social circles" I would answer with a question: Why? As a woman, I love gardening, animals, reading, cross stitch, walking. I love to go out for coffee and just chat. I have teenage children. Socially, you might get along really well with me, if you can get over the fact that I'm not married.

I've read "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend. It's all about putting up good boundaries and it could be dangerous if I include a single woman in my life" I would answer that going out for coffee with a single woman is not going to endanger your marriage unless your marriage is so fragile to start with that life as a single starts looking more attractive than your own life. This would not be the fault of the single woman.

I don't want to take the risk of my husband getting to know a single woman I would answer that most single women will assure you that we promise not to jump your husband in the sound booth at church. Seriously. (Yes, I had this experience. A gentleman was teaching me to run the power point from the sound booth. His wife was in the choir loft and when she saw me talking to her husband she made a beeline for the sound booth, put her arm around her husband and didn't let go until I left.)

My family is busy. Okay, you have a home and teenagers. So do I. We're both busy. Some are busier than others. I'll make time for a woman-to-woman relationship if you will.

THE MEN (in terms of helping single parents) SAY:
My wife wouldn't like it. I would answer with a question: who rules your home? The man or the dragon? (This is a reference to Mark Driscoll, who I have heard a couple of time explain that there are two options - either the man runs the home in a Godly way, or the devil rules it in an ungodly way.)

There are a lot of things that would help single people - and single parents in particular.

- recognize that we're part of the family. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another (New American Standard Version Romans 12:4-5)

- Help us out. Help can take many forms - even just a cup of coffee. Offer to include a single parent on a picnic. Better yet, a husband can include a fatherless child (and I'm including the children of some divorced moms) on a father/child outing with your church. Many single moms cannot afford a family outing to a baseball game - take an extra child.

- We're have gifts. And they don't just include being in the nursery during an even for couples. Make a real and purposeful effort to include singles in church planning (women's events, men's events, picnics, etc.)

- We hurt. Just like you do, only for different reasons. Please don't make being excluded one of those reasons.

- We don't necessarily want a "Singles Group" that is a church within a church. Many times, that just feels safer. Please help us feel safe.

We (like all people) recognize that it's not what a person says, it's what they do.

A single person can say all day long that they want to be included - but if they don't make themselves open to inclusion, all of their talk won't do any good.

Likewise, a married person can say all day long that they would include a single in their group - but if they walk by with a nod and a smile, all of their talk won't do any good.

It's not what you say, it's what you do: “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second son and said the same thing; and he answered ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of the Father?” They said, “The first.” (ESV; Matthew 21:28-310)

How do you treat people who are different than you are? This includes single, married, white, black, whatever, impaired, "normal" (if there is such a thing).

How do you show Christ to those who are different?

This book would be very helpful for Christian families who are in a Reformed tradition - and even for Christian families who are not in a Reformed tradition, but have an open mind.

There is a bit of "Arminianism vs. Calvinism" in that the suggestion in put forth that Arminians cannot contemplate "infant faith" since for them faith is of human origins and there needs to be at least some human reasoning ability. Calvinists, on the other hand, believing that faith is a gift from God and thus there is no human ability to reason required.

I understand that faith is not the same as trust, but there are verses that seem to say that a Covenant child (child of the promise) can have faith from a very early age.

Psalm 22: 9-10
Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you
even at my mother's breast.

From birth I was cast upon you;
from my mother's womb you have been my God.

Psalm 71:5-6
For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.

From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother's womb.
I will ever praise you.

Psalm 8:2
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

Jesus used this last quote in Matthew 21 when He cleared the temple
(has this every clicked for any of you, it sure didn't me!)
14The blind and the lame came to him at the temple,
and he healed them.
But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the
wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple
area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant.

16"Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him.
"Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read,
" 'From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise'?"

Can those who do not have faith, truly praise God?

1 Comment

Here are some conclusions/questions...

The author concludes that babies of covenant families are given faith by God. He is "happily agnostic" when it comes to the salvation of babies that die in unbeliving families.

If we are saved by faith, it would follow that babies have some sort of faith. If they do not have faith, then how are they saved?

If babies have faith, but can fall away, what does that do for perseverence?

I'm fairly new to Reformed theology and I know that baptism does not save. However, Lusk seems to say that baptism is more than a symbol, it is more like the (my words) door through which salvation comes.

How does one relate baptism to salvation?

If baptism is a symbol, and not a vehicle, why baptize infants before they understand the symbolism?

Here is a tough one. I spent years outside the church. Looking back, I can pinpoint a moment when my relationship with God became very real. Given it is possible that is the moment I "got saved" - are the babies that I lost before that moment saved or lost?

She Feasts

The blog I got this from said it was a Friday thing...I'm doing it on Monday.

What is a word that your family uses that would not be considered common? Snuberated. It came from an aunt that got offended by video game "kills" - even pacman. Video game "gotchas" are now "snuberations".

What theme of calendar do you have on your wall this year? I have "mom's organized family" calendar.

Name 3 people you speak with on a daily basis. Phil, Tom, Manda

Main Course
If you could put a new tattoo on someone you know - who would it be, what would the tattoo be of, and where would you put it on them? Manda wants a tattoo anyway...I'd stick a Tom's Design on her. My son has designed a tattoo with an "alpha" and "omega" interposed. It've very cool and would look great on a girl's shoulder. Or a pale white lily (for lily of the valley) on her ankle.

What is the last beverage you drank out of a glass bottle? Easy! Young's Double Chocolate Stout.

blogger doesn't use trackback, but here's a link to she-lives:

My Family’s (non)Traditions

Over the last five years I’ve decided that if a tradition isn’t working – pick a new one!

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two holidays that my family “struggles” with traditions – meaning that in the past there has been a tension between what the tradition “should” be and what really works for us.

I’ve come to the conclusion that family traditions are extremely important – and you need to make your traditions yours. Adopting somebody else’s just isn’t the same.

The first year after my husband passed away, we decided that we really didn’t want to spend Christmas at home. Too many memories. So, we spent the holiday with my mom and dad in Florida. It was very nice (and warm). But it wasn’t home. It was my kids’ first Christmas “without Dad”, they didn’t need to escape – they needed Christmas at home. We have spent Christmas at home every year since – but it hasn’t looked the way that it did.

The next Thanksgiving (the second one without Dad) was the big change in tradition. For years, we had gone to my brother’s home for Thanksgiving Day and I planned on that again. Just a few days before the holiday, I called to find out what I could bring. After a couple of stalls, I was told that everybody was spending this Thanksgiving with their in-laws. Golly – that stung.

I felt totally alone – I didn’t have in-laws to spend the holiday with. So, I made an “executive decision” to just stay home. A dear friend put it this way: I could either decided to make do with what was left of my family – or we could go on because this is our family. The first Thanksgiving I did the whole big dinner thing – for 3 of us. Oh, there was so much food! And in the afternoon (NO football at my house) we rented movies and had a marathon. It was right before the third LOTR came out and I had not seen the first 2 – so on Thanksgiving Day we got me caught up.

Every year since, we have turned down invitations – Thanksgiving is a family time. Our family time. This year, we did spend it with my sister-in-laws. But the rule was – we had to have a movie marathon. It really works for us and (at this point) we have no intention of changing it.

This year, for Christmas, we don’t have a tree up yet (it’s in the basement, in a box). We all have final exams for college next week, I should be (at this moment) working on that research paper.

The new tradition is friends and fun. My kids have friends in families that don’t seem to “get it”. Last year, three teenagers left their families before noon on Christmas Day to come to our house. One of them had been removed from his home and placed with his sister. His birthday is Christmas Day – and they forgot. This boy turned 16 on Christmas Day and came to my house. He cried when I made a birthday cake.

Don’t get me wrong – glitz and ribbon and ornaments and stars and all that “stuff” is nice. This year I went to the mall for that.

It’s the people that should be the outstanding tradition.

Since I’ve been a widow, I’ve had lonely times around the holidays. Most single folks do.

But I’ve also seen that there are people – in my life, kids – that are a lot worse off.

Christmas this year? Church service in the morning, and then I expect some extra teenagers for movies, video games and frozen pizza.

It’s the people.


I followed a link from somewhere (I can't remember where or I'd give credit) to this book. I'm relatively new to Reformed theology and barely have a grip on paedobaptism. I recognize that it's Biblical, but hesitate on the Scriptural backing. So, as kind of a general "more information" kind of thing - I got this book.


The author is definitely "truly reformed" - and that's ok. Sometimes I find myself not wanting to sound "TR", yet believing a lot of the same things, but really not wanting the attitudes that I see in some of the "TR" folks. Anyway - that's a whole different topic. The result of the "TR" is that the book is written to Reformed or "Covenant" families.

In my jouney into my own reformation I treated a student from Calvin Seminary to a snack out and one of the hard questions that I asked was "what about babies that die, before or after they're born?" This book (for me, anyway) answered the question for believing parents (unbelieving parents are still up in the air - but they don't believe, so they're not asking the question anyway.)

Here's a link to the book

I'm going to try to go through it with notes and blog about it - Christmas break is coming up