Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You're Not Going to College?!?


In a culture saturated with the presupposition that a college degree is necessary to adulthood (though it is being desaturated, I think), there are some who step back and reconsider if the piece of paper with the alphabet soup is really all that and a box of crackers. In the circles that I swim in, it's common to see the expectation that girls will stay home instead of going off to college. Online alternatives like CollegePlus! are also very popular among homeschoolers.

I guess I go a step further. More on that in a bit.

I have no intention of going to college, at this point, nor of getting any manner of degree (other than a high-school diploma). Which isn't to say that if I got a scholarship to Julliard or Patrick Henry I would just turn it down.

Why? I'm so glad you asked!

Girls


First, though, I'm going to talk about girls going to college (because I've been asked to clarify my stance). In family-integrated, homeschooling circles it's not rare to see people taking a philosophical stance against girls going to college. I agree with these people- specifically because of the Biblical principle of male headship, I would be very reluctant to give my blessing on my daughter/sister going away to college (unless she went with her brother, maybe..?).

I mean, really- why would I send the precious daughter that God has entrusted me with off to a temple of humanism to learn from educated fools (Ps. 14:1) and fellowship with boys stuck in manly bodies who would love to take advantage of her and girls who like it that way?

Yeah, that's a grim picture which I paint of college. And right you are- not all colleges are like this! Just most of 'em. So now that we've ruled out the majority of colleges...

To any girl going to Patrick Henry college or Bob Jones University or another such respectable establishment (and to her father!), I ask- how are you playing out Numbers 30? How are you as a father protecting your daughter? How are you, as a daughter, being held accountable, protected, loved, instructed, familied?


Maybe you are, that's between you and The LORD. But the principles must be dealt with, one way or t'other.

I certainly have no desire for my daughters (LORD willing, one day) to go to college.

I'm not saying that no girl should ever go to college, but that any girl that does go to college needs to deal with the principles that God gives us to live by. I'm sure there are exceptions. But I'm tired of pursuing exceptions. I'd rather seek what it is that God gives us as a normative pattern, and let Him take care of the exceptions.

Guys

Here, though, I go even further. Not only am I "against" girls going to college- I'm "against" guys going to college.

Hear me out.

Let's look at some Biblical principles:

  • Family
  • Accountability
  • Time Stewardship
  • Financial Stewardship

Family


Throughout Scripture God works through families. Whether it's blood relatives or relatives by The Blood, we're called to be in fellowship with one another. Christianity is not a religion of loners. From the very beginning, God instituted the family. It's the assumed normative throughout Scripture. (Ps. 68:6, Heb. 10:25)

It's a good thing.

So why would I want to leave my family and my church family to go somewhere else for so long? Is it really worth it?

Accountability

This is closely tied to family. When I'm living together with my family and my local brothers and sisters in Christ, I don't have the luxury of hiding things. Sure, it's possible, but it's hard. It also puts a block in relationships that I treasure. While it is indeed possible (and, I say, necessary!) to set up accountability in a college (or other such) situation, it's not as organic and unavoidable. (Jas. 5:16, Pr. 27:17)

Add to that all the temptations that come with being alone on a college campus among myriads of peers who, with the exception of the exceptional colleges, are more likely to tempt than to help against the temptations, and you have a recipe for trouble.

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." (1 Cor. 10:12)

It is by God's Grace that we stand at all, even protected in our homes. Let us not presume upon God's Grace and throw ourselves in the path of temptation.

Remember the young man in Pr. 7.

Time Stewardship

I would want to spend 4 years of my life in college why exactly? During those 4 years, I could start a business, or study my craft, or any number of things, while in the context of my own family and church. Indeed, I could start my own family. 4 years is a lot of time. Would it really be a good investment to sink it all into college? (Eph. 5:16)

Financial Stewardship

I know there are cheaper options than just the standard (extraordinarily expensive) college fare. I'm not talking about those right now.

Scripturally, debt is slavery. (Pr. 22:7) I cannot see how I could justify going into years worth of debt for a degree. Furthermore, even if I had all that money and could pay out-of-pocket, would that be good stewardship of God's money?

Please note that I'm putting these out not as a list of rules, but as a list of principles. These are my thoughts (which are, to varying degrees, undergirded with Scripture, but my interpretations aren't infallible). I'm not trying to start a fight- these are some of the reasons behind what I believe about college, and I hope some of you find them edifying.

Why?

I can see Biblical allowance for college much better if it is a local college or, especially, something like CollegePlus! which is done (mostly) from home.

Even allowing for something like CollegePlus! or a local community college, though, I would like to know this.

Why would I want to go to college?

Here are some of my reasons why, and then my reasons why they don't convince me.

Networking

Networking is hugely important, especially for someone in my line of business. For my part, though, I'd rather do that on websites like ChristianFilmmakers.org or at gatherings like the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. In the former case, it's free, it's ongoing, and it's focused on my industry. In the latter case, while it's away from home and costs- it's only for a week, and that's a week of condensed and intense networking. If I'm diligent enough.

Knowledge

First off, "the fear of The LORD is the beginning of knowledge." So if I'm going to a pagan institution which will teach me things rooted in a heathen worldview, I'm going to need to filter all that out.

Secondly, with all the technology we have today, why would I want to pay so much money and spend so much time going to an institution to learn when I could study from home at my own pace on only the subjects most important to me? This allows me to still learn from the wisdom of others- whether it's via books, websites, or even local mentors. It also allows me to learn my craft by doing it- not by studying about it in a classroom setting.

Diploma


It's just a piece of paper. If I can do my job and do it well, then I'm not really worried about whether I have an official stamp of approval.

That isn't to say that a college degree isn't helpful, or, at times, necessary, but rather that it isn't always necessary and is often overrated.

Hats of Awesomeness

It's hard, but I think that I'm willing to sacrifice my chance to get one of these babies for the reasons stated above.

(Again, my point isn't that college is inherently evil or that college is not an option for Christians- my point here is that I really don't see why, as a general rule, it is beneficial enough to justify all the costs.)

One More Time

Again, yes, I'm sure there are exceptions. Again, I'm not worried about exceptions. I'm not looking for them right now. I want to find the principles that God has given which direct normative Christian life. If He leads you or me to pursue a path that falls under the category of "exception," than may we be ever willing to follow!

In either case, however, we must deal with the principles given in The Text.


Well, there you have it. This concludes my doctoral thesis on why I don't think The LORD is calling me to go to college at this point in my life.

I guess I'm forever condemned to being classified with other diploma-free people like Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Ford.

Bummer.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Music: It's Been a While


This piece is from Sons of Georgia. It starts off with the musicians warming up, and then begins a dance.

It's Been a While - "Sons of Georgia" by gabrielhudelson

Here's a recently-released teaser trailer for the film as well. For this music I twisted some popular Civil War melodies into minor.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Music: Breaking Camp/The King's Prayer

This piece is from the soundtrack to Ponder Pictures' "Brothers Arise."



This screenshot actually comes from the scene for which this piece was written. Many thanks to the director for this excellent image, and for being an all-around really nice guy. He really has a heart for The LORD, and I look forward to watching God use him in the future!

The finished score in the film is slightly different than this piece (and I like it better!), but this is almost the finished product. Enjoy! If you want to hear a version closer to the final one, check out the YouTube upload. Slight differences, but they are indeed there.

Breaking Camp/The King's Prayer - "Brothers II" by gabrielhudelson

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why I Won't Hesitate to Pull the Trigger


Thoughts on Christians and violence.

I've recently been involved in multiple discussions about what Scripture has to say about Christians and violence. It is a touchy and very important topic.

I'm going to break this into two parts. First, I'm going to talk about why total pacifism is (I believe) an untenable position. Then, I'm going to discuss the Scriptural definition and basis for Christian violence.

Turn on your battle music, ladies and gentlemen.

Shouldn't We Just Love Everybody?

The argument that we should be non-confrontational can have much appeal, and appear to be Scriptural on its face.

First problem: if played out consistently, it's absurd.

Prepare yourself for some violent satire. *innocent smile*

(While I am being satirical here, it is all in good humor- please don't take offense. It's spoken with a smile. :-)

If Christians should be pacifistic, then no Christian should be a police officer, and all legal systems should be abolished. Turning the other cheek, you know.

The bad guys should never be resisted. Mugger? Thief? Murderer? Rapist? Just make sure you pick a Christian for your target, because if they aren't a Christian they might resist you.

Hey, at least I can fling a gospel tract at the guy who busted down my door before he shoots me.

Make that gently hand the gospel tract to him- flinging it might hurt his feelings.

If I was target shooting at the range, and, walking home, saw a psychotic villain massacring a schoolyard full of children, I should set my favorite pistol down and pull out my cellphone. After all, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Then, I should perhaps run into the schoolyard and try to reason with the fellow. Maybe I could do some kind of martial art on him which wouldn't actually hurt him- though the fact that he has a gun makes that idea slightly less attractive.

How horrifying does the example have to get before we admit, "OK, I guess I'd have to do something then?"

Buy a Sword

Now I'm going to use The Sword to see whether we should use the sword.

I have six points to this part of my article:
  1. Assumption
  2. Model
  3. Command
  4. New Covenant
  5. A Pragmatic Presupposition
  6. On Martyrdom and Self-Defense
Assumption

In Proverb 6:16, The LORD states that He hates hands that shed innocent blood. Interestingly, He didn't say that He hates hands that shed blood, as such.

Scripture assumes the use of violence (if necessary) to protect the innocent from evil.

"If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft." (Ex. 22:2+3)

"When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her." (Deut. 22:27)

Scripture doesn't specify when exactly we should pull out the Glock or bust out a 3-punch-combo. But does It really have to?

In all honesty, what kind of man would I be if I saw someone being attacked and I didn't rush to their aid?

I'm not talking about two drunks getting into a fight into which I throw myself and "[grab] a dog by the ears."

I'm talking about a woman being mugged or a black guy getting mistreated by a couple of white guys in the men's room or an old man being accosted by a robber.

God made me a man. He gave me strength and a love for things of war. Not things of death- things of victory and justice. Rescuing the damsel in distress. Slaying the dragon- or the gangster- to save the innocent.

I'm not defending a sick fascination with violence- a love of pain and misery- a desire to hurt and kill.

I am defending a love of justice, and a commitment to protect the innocent. I see it modeled and assumed in Scripture- and I see it written on the heart of every little boy who loves to play soldier.

I'm also not saying that lethal force should be the first resort. Absolutely not.

I am saying that the innocent should be defended using whatever force necessary. Perhaps it can be simple psychological warfare. Maybe a swift chop to the temple will stun the assailant without permanent damage. Or maybe his death is necessary. Really, though, it's not about me wanting to harm him. It's about me wanting to protect her (whoever the innocent person is). So long as he insists on harming her, he'll have to go through me, and he's in danger. The moment he stops trying to do evil, he stops being in danger. It's his choice. I'm just defending.

Model

Throughout Scripture appropriate use of violence is not only portrayed but is commended. The example of Phinehas, who slew two people who were defiling God's tabernacle, comes to mind. What did God have to say about Phinehas' taking of two human lives?

"Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel." (Num. 25:13)

Command

"When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: 'Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.'" (Neh. 4:14)

Not only is violence in defense of the innocent, specifically in defense of the family, assumed throughout the Old Testament, it is also commanded.

We see that also reinforced in the New Testament in that Christ gave up His life for His bride!

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her..." (Eph. 5:25)

New Covenant

Now comes the real issue. Oftentimes today the New Testament is not looked at in context of the Old Testament- as the fulfillment thereof. Rather it is seen as something vastly different which frees us from the bondage of the Old Testament.

And indeed we are free from the Old Covenant, praise God! However, those who wrote the New Testament were thoroughly saturated in the Old. That set their worldview. They also reaffirmed the value of the Old Testament. (2 Tim. 3:16)

Yes, we are indeed free from the Old Covenant. The sacrificial and ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ. We aren't Jews, and don't need to be- Christ is our High Priest. Praise God!

If we take that (precious!) truth and use it to nullify all of the Old Testament, we not only cause ourselves much pain and confusion but we specifically disobey both the models and the commands that we are given in the New Testament.

To say that anything stated in the Old Testament must be re-stated in the New Testament or it is invalid is simply unScriptural.

That said, if Christ overturns something in the New Testament, He has every right to do so, and it is incumbent upon us to submit to that.

So what does Jesus say about violence? I'm going to look at some Scriptures that might be brought up specifically for this discussion, and then talk about how I interpret that. If you question my interpretation, please feel free to tell me so in the comments! However, please remember the Old Testament context in which Christ spoke, and interpret these passages in light of the whole context of Scripture.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9)
I can be a peacemaker and still stop the guy who comes in to attack my family. Actually, I'm probably more of a peacemaker by doing so. (Gotta say, I think the Colt "Peacemaker" has the best name for a gun that I've ever heard.)

"You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." (Matt. 5:38-42)
Take insults like a man. I firmly believe that the culture of dueling to the death over insults violates this principle. If somebody slaps you or makes a snide remark, take it with grace and love him back. It's not something to kill over. Be generous of your stuff and your time- if the guy is holding you up for the $20 in your wallet, dig out the loose change for him too. "Do not take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God."
"...love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matt. 5:44)
Pretty self-explanatory, but please, let's let God define love, instead of the soupy, mushy, "tolerant" culture of today.
"Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.'" (Matt. 26:52)
I love the argument that my good friend Casey made over at his blog for this passage. Basically, if you make a lifestyle of swordsmanship, you're going to wind up dying by the sword, most likely.

There's a world of context that we must see these statements through. Jesus is set on fulfilling what His Father has commanded. He's not here to resist- He knows not only that the soldiers are here to take Him, but that His Father wants Him to go with them.
"When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?" They said, "No, nothing." And He said to them, "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:35+36)
Here Jesus tells the disciples to buy a sword. We see the juxtaposition of his previous miraculous care for his disciples with a transition into a more natural method of provision and survival- take some money and a sword.

So one has to ask- if Jesus meant to say never use violence, why in the world would He tell His disciples to sell their cloaks and buy a sword?

You may say "Jesus never used violence." (He did, actually, in the Temple.)

But Jesus didn't have a place to lay His head, either.

We can't forget that when Christ walked the earth a whole lot was happening. Many things throughout that period in Church history were not normative.

A Pragmatic Presupposition

The argument has been made that I know where I'm going when I die. I know where my wife is going, and my kids (by God's Grace). Odds are, this poor criminal is going to go to hell if I shoot him!

This is a thoroughly pragmatic and humanistic argument based on a wildly unScriptural thought process.

It is for us to do what God has called us to do. It is for God to worry about the consequences.

If I get to witness to this man- to wage psychological warfare- praise God! So be it. I'm not looking for a fight, and I'd rather see this man come to repentance.

But I have a feeling that if he kicks down my door and pulls a gun he isn't stopping by for a friendly chat over a cup of eggnog.

God calls me to love my wife- to love my children- and to love my neighbor. What kind of sick logic turns these commands into a call to give my family over to the criminal to be abused and slaughtered? Who am I called to love more- my wife, my child, or this murderer?

And am I really loving my neighbor(s) if I allow this person to get away with this evil deed?

The effects on society are obvious. When the good guys have the guns, the bad guys are scared to commit crime. When the good guys are disarmed, the bad guys have nothing to fear. If I let this wicked man work his will and leave, how many other homes and families is he now able to destroy?

It is because I love that I will use force on this criminal. Because I love my wife, my kids, my God, my country, I will not allow this evil man to pillage and plunder freely.

It's not a lack of love that makes me pull the trigger. It's the presence of love.

We talk a lot about how we should love the perpetrator- whatever happened to loving the victim?

On Martyrdom and Self-Defense

Martyrdom is a glorious thing. Many early Christians were brutally murdered for their faith, and Scripture repeatedly paints for us a glorious picture of what an honor it is to endure hardship and even death for the cause of Christ.
"...others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection..." (Heb. 11:35)

"...they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name." (Acts 5:41)
There is, however, a vast difference between being martyred and being mugged.

If I am to suffer for the cause of Christ, praise God! May He strengthen me that I may suffer and die well.

But if a man attacks me in an alley, I will defend myself, just as I would defend my home- Ex. 22:2, again.

(EDIT - as a commenter pointed out, I don't mean to say somehow martyrdom isn't to be resisted. I believe that the same Biblical principles apply. This section on martyrdom was simply to say that I do believe that if resistance is no longer an option there is much glory to be found in the choice, by God's Grace, to die well and without a struggle. What a testimony.)

By doing so, I protect myself from death, my family from the loss of a brother and son, and the next person that would have been attacked from death as well.

If I'm married, I'm then protecting my family from the loss of their protector and provider.

Do you see how Biblical use of violence is protective? It's not about taking lives- it's about saving them.

It is worth stating again that lethal force isn't the first resort. It has been rightly said that we should "shoot to stop, not to kill." Sometimes death may result in the process of stopping them- sometimes not. But because of what I love, because of what I value, I will use force in defense of the innocent.

And if it comes to it, I won't hesitate to pull the trigger.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Thoughts on Biblical Feminity - Pt. 3


This post is the third in a series. The first one was very foundational, so please read that one. And if you'd like to read the second, I won't complain.

I'm going to wrap up my posts on this theme with this third post, at least for now.

This is really an open-ended series. It can't end. It's an exploration of different ways to please our King. He is infinite. There's always more to be learned.

But I'm finite, so this is the last post in this particular series. :-D

A godly woman whom I would like to spend my life with:
  1. Is about her Father's business and her father's business. And she isn't waiting for me. I will explain.
  2. Is very intelligent- and not just in a sharp, high-IQ, witty way, but especially in a studious and wise way.
  3. Is prepared to learn, to change, to repent, to forgive, and to submit to my leadership.
  4. Is striving to be like Christ. Not because it makes guys like me pay attention, but because it's right.
  5. Presents a unified front to our children and others.
  6. Is honoring to the men in her life.
  7. Is interested in theology and philosophy. Like, really interested. Like, I can discuss eschatology and utilitarianism with her. And she loves it.
  8. Loves kids and knows how to handle/raise/teach them.
  9. Dresses modestly. And that doesn't mean in a burlap sack or a burka, either.
  10. Can cook a mean dinner, and, in general, run a home like a captain runs a ship.
  11. Can talk to me like a friend and a brother- like another person.
  12. Is joyful. Really, downright joyful- rejoicing where God has placed her. And is happy to be a woman- with all that that entails.
  13. Can look at a dilapidated home or an unpleasant situation and has the vision to see what it could be and what needs to be done to get it there.
  14. Is frugal and joyfully content.
  15. Is hospitable.
  16. Is physically disciplined.
  17. Is musically talented/inclined/knowledgeable/etc. This one is much more personal, but I think I can broaden this principle to apply to all of my sisters in Christ, not just those who might end up marrying a musician sometime down the road.
This post covers points 9-17.

Point 9

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with dresses modestly. And that doesn't mean in a burlap sack or a burka, either.


Ah, to find Biblical and God-pleasing balance in all things. I am one to err more on the side of functionality- I have my T-shirt and jeans (with the shirt tucked in for professionalism ;-)- what more could I need? I have one sister who is more prone to this error and another sister who swings to the other extreme.

Fashion isn't inherently bad. I've been convicted to take a little more time to make sure that I look (and smell) nice. It's polite, and it affects my testimony to others.

Modesty doesn't just mean not showing inordinate amounts of skin and/or shape- though it is very much that. It also means adorning yourself in such a way as not to draw attention to yourself. And, perhaps primarily, it means acting in this way.

So dressing in a burlap sack is not modest at all. It's distracting. Same thing with wearing prairie dresses all the time. They may be beautiful dresses which hide all the naughty-thought-inducing curves, but they make you stand out like a sore thumb.

Yes, we should be different from the world. We should look different, too- distinctly masculine/feminine, pure, modest, discreet, disciplined.

That doesn't mean that it's a bad thing to look nice- and to look stylish.

So girls- take care of yourselves. It's not a bad thing to make yourself presentable, modern-looking, and attractive.

But saying that opens the door to a hefty danger on the other side.

It really boils down to the question: who are you trying to please? God or man? If you are dressing to attract guys' eyes (or, as I hear is often the case, to look better than other girls... o.O), then you are striving to please man. That's sin.

To be practical, once we've pressed past the heart-issue of being a man-pleaser, we get into a grayer area. There's a difference between being attractive and lust-inducing. There's a point where you are putting a stumbling block before your brothers.

Note to guys- man up. I firmly believe that ladies have the responsibility to be considerate and Godly in their clothing choices. But we have a responsibility as well. The message of modesty should be preached to the girls, but we men need to keep our minds and eyes in check as well. Take every thought captive. It's not all their fault. Maybe God has given them different convictions. Or maybe He is just waiting to address their clothing because He is working on them in an area that is more important. My brothers. Please. Love your sisters in Christ. Take responsibility. Be the man.

Ladies, I'm not going to draw the lines for you. You must dress in such a way that is feminine and modest. That's what Scripture says. How that looks is between you, your father/family, and your Father in heaven.

I thought this quote was worth sharing:

"Your dresses should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady." - Edith Head

Something else to take into consideration is time stewardship. To the stereotypical woman who spends hours in the mirror daily, I ask you- is that really how God would have you invest His time?

To be real practical (speaking from my preference, here, not from Scripture- my sister says that she likes this kind of feedback), I hope the women in my family are able to wear feminine pants in a feminine way, and also an occasional pair of blue jeans when the occasion necessitates, but that they are usually found in dresses or skirts. And that they like it that way- I don't want to be the clothes police. For now, that's how I'll be leading my household, and that is something that I like to see in other young women as well.

On hair (after all, if I'm gonna open up one can of worms, I may as well...). It's Biblical for women to have long hair and for men to have short (1 Cor. 11, and I'm discussing norms, not exceptions). But how long is long? How short is short? Same deal here. There's plenty of Christian liberty and beautiful options and variety within the confines given us by Scripture. It's not my job to pull out the measuring tape. But I don't think it's a good thing (for men and women alike!) if I see you from behind and am left wondering which gender-camp you hail from.

Point 10

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with can cook a mean dinner, and, in general, run a home like a captain runs a ship.


WHOOPS.


*phew*

Much better.

This point is pretty self-explanatory and explicitly Biblical- she's the homemaker. And "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach."

(What do you meant that's not in Proverbs? *searches madly*)

OK, well, "She rises also while it is still night, and provides food for her household..."

Pr. 31 makes it clear. This lady is on top of things. So from being able to manage the finances to being able to manage the dinner table, she is indeed the home-maker. My heart safely trusts in her- I know she is making sure the books balance and the kids don't whither away.

Point 11

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with can talk to me like a friend and a brother- like another person.

If we're not married and we're not blood-relatives then we're brothers and sisters in Christ. I as a guy and you as a girl need to be able to relate as such. We should love each other in beautifully platonic purity. :-)

In other words, when we meet each other we shouldn't be thinking "potential spouse!" while our heart rate exceeds that of even the most vigorous cardio-athlete.


Nor should we be thinking "cooties!" and scampering elsewhere like the two Ns on a pair of magnets.

Indeed, really we should stop thinking about ourselves. She might marry me! Does he think I'm cute? Do I really have to talk to her- a girl!?! NOOOO!!!


And we need to start thinking about others. How can I love this person, this brother or sister in The LORD, in such a way as to edify him, to encourage her, to bless him, to please God?

Because remember, there's no "I" in "friend." Or something like that.


Point 12

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with is joyful. Really, downright joyful- rejoicing where God has placed her. And is happy to be a woman- with all that that entails.

It's a fruit of The Spirit. :-) As such, let's pause and say that joy should characterize every child of God- not just the ladies. If you don't have joy, something's wrong- you need to repent.


(Note that there's a difference between joy and happiness. I can be mournful and yet still resting in the joyful hope of the victory of Christ. But the deep and wonderful facets of joy are not what I'm here to study right now.)

Who would want to live with an angry or miserable person (spouse or parent)? Who would want to grow up in such a house?

How much more beautiful is a household which emanates the joy of Christ?

It's also important that we are joyful about the way God made us- content. As a man, I need to rejoice that God made me as a man and gladly assume the responsibilities, duties, and so on which correspond to Biblical manliness. The same for my sisters in Christ. Enjoy being a girl! Enjoy doing Biblically feminine things. If my wife was always groaning about how she really didn't want to be a homemaker and wished she could have become a brain surgeon, you can see how that would not only damage our relationship and the atmosphere of our home but also the worldview of our kids.

Point 13

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with can look at a dilapidated home or an unpleasant situation and has the vision to see what it could be and what needs to be done to get it there.


My mom is a first-class example of this. Messy house? Mounds of laundry on the floor? Moldy drywall that needs replaced? Or maybe we need to rip out the flooring?

If that's where The LORD is leading and where Dad is leading- move over. And take a "before" picture. Because it's going to be awesome.

This point also means that a godly woman doesn't shy away from helping the dirty homeless kid or cleaning up the home of the old lady we're trying to help.

A Godly woman- I've said it before- is a warrioress. Not a china doll. She'll do what needs done. She "maketh her arms strong." Extreme Makeover Home Edition has nothing on her. (In fact, she does extreme makeovers without the TV show budget.)

Point 14

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with is frugal and joyfully content.


This kinda goes along with point 13- and my mom is a great example of this one too. She can stretch a dollar like a rubber band. She can find good deals, she can manage the finances and balance the budget. So whether you have a little side business that you run from the home (talk about a homeschooling opportunity) or maybe you just have an eye for killer deals, you can be a real asset to your husband, by making the winning of the bread take a bit less of the sweat of his brow.

A related but separate point from frugality is joyful contentment.

I'm not rich. I'm exceedingly blessed and better off than many in this world, but I'm not rolling in the dough. At least not yet.

Which means that I probably won't have a mansion to offer my bride. Nor is it likely that we'll honeymoon on a fancy ship to an exotic location and sip drinks with umbrellas in them.


I can't afford those things right now. And I certainly don't want to chain myself to 30 years of debt just to get a big house.

I'd rather be a poor, free man than a rich slave.

I need a wife who can support me in this.

I'm an entrepreneur. I don't have a steady paycheck.
Let me pause to address a mindset with which I heartily disagree- that the $50-a-day job is a "real job" and jobs without a steady paycheck aren't. In both cases, God is the One who provides. (That random bit of insight was free.) Ooh, another random bit of insight- guys, "entrepreneur" is a label that's easy to slap on to just about anything. If you're planning on supporting a family, make sure that you aren't slapping that label on an idea you have or something you might do one day. We must pray for God's provision- but we must faithfully invest and work hard as well. "In all labor, there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."
If the clients just aren't coming in, I need a helper who can joyfully rest in the hand of God and trust in His provision. (Another note to guys- if the clients aren't coming in, I shouldn't be so stuck to "pursuing my dream" that I can't do what it takes to provide for my family- whether that means lawn care or serving milkshakes at Chick-fil-a.)

If my wife is always pining for the big house, the fancy cruise, if we see the rich guy come in with his wife decked out in expensive jewelry and she looks longingly, then that shows a lack of vision on her part.

And it hurts, on my part.

Not because I believe that God has called me to be a millionaire- He may give and take as He sees fit- but because I really really want my girl to be happy.

And when her happiness is contingent upon me acquiring something which God has not called me to acquire, we have a problem.

An admirable example of this is Mary from It's a Wonderful Life.


She didn't need George Bailey to see the world or design skyscrapers or become a millionaire so that she could love him wholeheartedly. She took a broken-down (like, really broken-down) old house and turned it into a palace. She supported him by giving away their honeymoon money to keep the Building and Loan running. She was joyfully there by his side, supporting him through whatever he was going through.

I as the husband want to provide for my wife and family in the best way that I can (as God leads). But I don't know where God will take me or what trials we may have to endure. A wife who can support her husband through all the financial worries and troubles of life and who can find a way to make things work is a very valuable companion indeed.

So are you ready to rest in the hand of God and be joyfully content where He puts you, whether that's a trailer or a mansion?

Can you take them both with equal joy and say "The LORD giveth, The LORD taketh away, blessed be the name of The LORD?"

Because it's all His anyway.

Point 15

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with is hospitable.


I might be an elder in the local church someday. One of the requirements for being an elder is hospitality. I need a wife who can help me with that. I, living with her in an understanding way, want to help her by working with her needs in this area. She needs to support me by being able to throw a feast for our guests, making our house presentable, and so on.

I remember the story that Dad tells of when ours was one of the host-homes for a Christmas event at a church. One of the older men of the church walked into the house, looked around, and said "Rob is going to go far- he has a good wife."

What amazing insight by him! And what a testimony to the character of my mother!

While some may not be able to vocalize what this man saw, everyone feels it. A woman can truly make a house a home- it's not just a trite saying.

Point 16

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with is physically disciplined.

Now we're really getting into some practical stuff that's more what I would like than what God commands.

But there are nevertheless Biblical principles to be brought to bear here. Let's explore.

I'm into physical fitness. I like to work out, I try to eat right- so on. And I'd like to have a wife who can go on a run or a hike with me.


I also would like her to be able to make healthy meals, made-from-scratch foods, and so on.

These are preferences. Maybe God will give me a wife like this- maybe His plan is different. (Whatever it is, it's best.)

But everyone needs to deal with Biblical principles like good stewardship and self-control.

I realize that some people are overweight because of disease or other conditions over which they have no control.

But if you are overweight because you don't have the self-control to say "no" or the discipline to take a walk now and again, then this is a problem. This isn't just an issue of not looking nice- it's a character problem.

If you constantly eat garbage and drink poison (you know what they are!) then you need to consider whether that is being a good steward of the amazing body that God gave you. And if you're feeding garbage and poison to our kids- even worse.

Again, there's a balance here. I, for one, am prone to fall on the other side of that balance to the point where I can't enjoy a cup of hot chocolate because I'm too busy reading the ingredients list. That's not good either. It goes back to joyful contentment.

If God provides this non-free-range chicken or Christmas candy with unpronounceable ingredients, let us eat it and give thanks!

But I'd love to be able to wrestle with my great-grandchildren. And I'd love it even more if my wife was right there tickling Johnny alongside me.


I think eating right and staying in shape might just help us get there.

Even more importantly (to varying degrees for different believers), it's Biblical.

Hopefully I've navigated that minefield with some semblance of success. I look forward to hearing your comments. I firmly don't mean to say that all Christians should be P90X grads. But the Biblical principles do need to be dealt with. How you deal with them is between you and our Maker.

Point 17

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with is musically talented/inclined/knowledgeable/etc.



Like I said in the longer version of the point- this doesn't apply to all of you. :-) Indeed, it doesn't necessarily apply to my future spouse- that's in God's hands. This, like being able to run with me, is a much less important thing then whether she has right doctrine or honors her parents. I'm being brutally practical in hopes that it will edify some of you.

But let me get to the point of which "the point" above is just a practical example.

I have been called to a certain mission, a certain facet of dominion-taking by God. All men have. Mine, at least for now, is music. God has given me this to conquer for His Glory. I would like to have a wife that can help me in this specific area.

Now please, don't start piano lessons. (Well, do start piano lessons, but for different reasons. Like because they're awesome.)

This goes back to how I began this series of posts- applying yourself to real-world pursuits. If you have practical skills that you can use to help your husband in- well, whatever it is he does, then you are all the more prepared to be a helper to him.

(And don't take that to mean that you need to figure out what kind of man you want to marry and what kind of woman he would want and... this is just a practical outplay of what I said at the very beginning of this series. Invest your time wisely, and pursue what God wants you to. Let Him worry about matching skill-sets.)

Leftovers

Here are some other things that I'm not going to spend a lot of time on, but which are quite important:

- The way she treats her family/siblings. That will speak volumes about how she will treat me and our kids.
- The way she takes- or doesn't take- responsibility. Is it always because of something or someone else? Or does she take responsibility for her actions and character? Is she trustworthy? (Pr. 20:6)
- Does she not only "let boys be boys" (in the righteous, dignified, un-barbaric and Biblical sense), but love and cultivate their daring, bravery, strength, and manliness? Does she prevent little brother Johnny from ever doing something that might end up giving him a black eye or bloody nose? Or does she encourage him to be brave, praise him when he comes in with a "war-wound," bandage him up and send him back out into the fray?

Purity

You may notice that purity wasn't on my list. Is it important? Very much so. Indeed, it is on my list. Just not the list that I posted here.

But physical purity is the milk. Let us press into the meat. I can find an army of virgins, not one of whom is a warrioress for The Kingdom of Heaven. I want more than just a girl who hasn't done drugs or kissed five previous boyfriends. I want a girl who has done and is set on doing great things for The Kingdom of God. I want more than a girl who never gave her heart to Edward Cullen- I want a girl who has given her heart to Christ.


I would rather have a harlot who sold her body for years but has now sold her soul to Christ than a girl who checked all the boxes and is a whitewashed tomb.

Just sayin'.


On Perfection

I realize that this is a long list and that no one is going to be perfect. Also that this list isn't perfect, or exhaustive. My list isn't the standard- God's Word is. I don't expect perfection of my spouse, and I hope she doesn't expect perfection of me ('cuz she ain't gonna get it).

I don't expect her to be like Christ in everything.

But I do expect her to desire to be like Christ in everything.

And really, that's where it starts.

If she strives to please Him, the rest will come in His good time.

One More Time

I also wish to re-state that some things I talked about are objective truths that apply to all women- or all Christians! Others are more specific and practical, and will apply at different levels to different people, and perhaps not at all to some. Some of them are even things that might not apply to anyone beyond my own household, being my own personal desires and convictions.

That's All, Folks!

Like I said, this is an open-ended list- it's not a checklist, but rather a list of things to think about and discuss in the light of God's Word. It is an attempt to give my sisters in Christ a bit of a better picture of just what guys like me think a "godly woman" is. There's where those practical parts come in handy.

More importantly, it is an exploration of what God thinks a "godly woman" is- not because I know what pleases Him, but because I want to know what pleases Him. He tells us in His Word. May He open our eyes more and more to see His Truth!

Sisters, hopefully this gives you some ideas, not of what this one guy wants you to become, but of what Christ wants you to become. Brothers, let us encourage our sisters to godliness, and let us ourselves strive to admire that which God finds admirable.

This concludes my thoughts on Biblical femininity. For now, at least. Thanks for reading and for interacting!

(Oh, wait! Did I list that she absolutely must be drop-dead gorgeous. ;-) Actually, she doesn't have to be- and I could go into the whole inner/outer beauty thing, but I'm just going to stop this article. Now.)