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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Demise of Guys

Interesting TED talk by Psychologist Philip Zimbardo. The presentation is only a little over 4 minutes long (one of the short TED talks I've ever heard). In it, he asks, "Why are boys struggling?" He shares some stats (lower graduation rates, greater worries about intimacy and relationships) and suggests a few reasons -- and he asks for your help! Watch his talk, then take his short 10-question survey:

I have been working with teenagers for well over 16+ years. I have seen this almost every day working adolescent boys. So much here in this short presentation. Not a lot of new revelation, but the data is great to reflect on then ask, "What can we do to change the tide of the demised guy?"

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Confessions of a Christian Homeseller/buyer

We have been trying to sell our home for about 2.5 months. It's a really tough market and going to get tougher as we can see by the economic news of recent days. So needless to say when we got the first offer to buy our house, we moved heaven and earth to get the deal done honorably, fairly, and reasonably without losing the proverbial shirts off our back. We got the deal done in about 3 hours with our realtor on vacation in northern MI (thx, John, you rocked it!)

Then we turned around and started the mad rush to find home very quickly given we were closing in 30 days and needed to get the kids registered in a new school district and school in less time than that. Long story short: we found our house on the first day and put a reasonable and negotiable offer on that day. That was a week ago. Time seem to come to screeching halt or at least move in slow motion as negotiated with the realtor of a 89 woman whose kids live in KY and CA.

So here's the confession. Because we like the house so much and have to move rather quickly to get the other pieces into place, I have been praying like a man on fire! Talk about your prayer without ceasing. The problem is...I've prayed more for this house deal in the last week than I have in the last year for friends of mine who are far away from Jesus. I've prayed more in this week that God would work a miracle to sell that house to us than I have for those being rocked by famine and unjust food distribution systems. It seems like I have prayed more in this week for that house to move into our possession in a timely fashion than I have for my own children's hearts to be soft to Jesus. Ugh. Those hurt.

I'm sorry, Jesus. Please forgive me.

This has consumed me. And I have to ask myself honestly why? Materialism? Security? Selfishness? Care for my family? Whacked priorities? Lack of faith? Need? Desire? Both? Etc etc etc.

Can you relate? Have you gone/are you going through similar circumstances? What were/are you consumed by and how did/does that differ from other things you should be consumed by? How do you respond? How does God respond?

I believe through it all God is not up there pointing the finger at me going, "Shame on you, Seth. Shame. On. You!" No, I believe he is down here nudging me/prompting me/leading me saying, "This house selling/buying is important. I know it is. But don't let it blind you to what is more important to me: loving Me by following Jesus and loving others. Let what consumes me consume you. I'll take care of you. Remember I have your best interesting at heart."

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Shock Waves of Marital Selfishness

Life is good...yes. But life is also hard...especially relationships. And no relationship can be harder than the one between a husband and wife in the context of marriage.

How can I say that? Because my 16 years of marriage (this month) to my amazing wife, Kelly, tells me that much. Hard painful realities about me, she, we, and everything in between that scream we are selfish, prideful, and hurtful people (me more so than Kelly) who are in desperate need of saving, healing, and loving. Our marriage takes tons of work (more work than I'm sure I give it).

And what's crazy is that my marriage is a cake walk compared to other marriages I have seen up-close or from afar. I have counseled, married, re-counseled dozens upon dozens of couples who have struggled with trust, abuse, power, anger, violence and affairs in the context of married life. It's brutal what many endure/have endured in the name of "love".

Marriage is hard. Plain and simple

So when I saw that Jennifer Lopez broke her silence about why she and Marc Anthony decided to divorce, I was curious as to what she had to say. An affair? Domestic violence? Financial deceit? Nope...none of was this:

"'It’s not that I didn’t love myself before. Sometimes we don’t realize that we are compromising ourselves. To understand that a person is not good for you, or that that person is not treating you in the right way, or that he is not doing the right thing for himself—if I stay, then I am not doing the right thing for me. I love myself enough to walk away from that now,' she says."

There is so much in this statement I don't know about, but if I take it at face value, it reeks of selfishness. And that kind of selfishness is already running rampant in so many marriages. But when a star of J. Lo's prominence states it "for the record", the shock waves can have a huge impact on marriages calling it quits simply because "I love myself enough to walk away."

Marriage is easy to enter into. Marriage is hard to live out. Divorce is easy to enter into. Marriage fallout is hard to live out. I would suggest entering into either having done all the hard work of seeing if marriage/spouse is right for you and then divorce if you've done everything to save it, seek understanding about yourself and serve the other.

The Hunger Site

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