The Prosperity Spouse Gospel

I see a lot of people these days critiquing the so called prosperity gospel.  This prosperity gospel takes several forms and extremes.  Sometimes it’s used to suggest that if I do certain things then God will give me worldly prosperity.  For example if I tithe then God will give me a lot of wealth.  Or if I give my life to Jesus, then my life will go the way I want it to.  The idea is that doing what God wants will alleviate my suffering in this world sort of runs counter to the idea of picking up my cross.**

This is of course not true.  Now it is true that God rewards faithfulness.  It’s important as we critique the prosperity gospel peddlers that we not lose that truth.  Otherwise we’d have to toss out a lot of scripture.  But God doesn’t promise rewards in the way that we often like to see them.  That’s the key distinction.

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Nice Is Not A Virtue . . . Or Attractive

The other night I was perusing some old videos of a great teacher named Bishop Fulton Sheen.  He is actually really entertaining.  In this particular video he was talking about the difference between nice people and awful people.  At one point he said this, “A nice person who drinks too much is an alcoholic.  An awful person who drinks too much is a drunkard.”  It’s funny and it’s brilliant.

One of the things I’ve tried to help guys with here over the years is the idea that your goal is not to be a nice guy.  In fact I’ve said that you need to just quit being the nice guy.  I’ve talked about avoiding the nice guy trap.  I’ve talked about how women say, “He’s a nice guy but . . . ” when talking about a guy they are not attracted to.The bottom line is that women are not attracted to nice guys.   I’ve shared all of this from the perspective as a guy who has in the past, and in fact still, struggles with being the nice guy.

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Are You Good Enough For Marriage?

When I was in high school and college, one of the things that I battled with constantly was the idea that I wasn’t “good enough”.  I battled this in almost every area of my life.  I saw myself as decent, but not great at pretty much everything.  The things that I did care about (sports for example) I worked my tail off to become great.  But I never saw myself as arriving at greatness.

Nowhere was this more true than with the opposite sex.  I was constantly in the friend zone with the girls that I liked.  I thought I was physically not attractive enough.  Later I thought I wasn’t making enough money.  The list goes on.  One of my go to thoughts was, “I’m just not good enough.”

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Stop Dishonoring The Good Guys

I’ve shared a lot of things on here about what I’ve seen done wrong in how we talk to/about men – single and married.  Let me share about one of the best events I’ve ever been to and why it stood out.

A group held a special event a couple of years ago in a community near me.  They hosted a “Father’s Night”.  They invited the people from the community to come to the school auditorium to honor some fathers from the community.  They first had three very different speakers talk about fatherhood and what it means.  Then, get this, they actually honored some fathers with fatherhood awards.

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The Costs Of Reformed Romance

In my last post we discussed the utter fiction of what I’m calling Reformed Romance.  The idea and mindset where we take the secular culture’s idea of romance and chivalry and combine it with Calvinism.**

Today I want to talk about some of the price we are paying for this.  I can’t cover it all in detail as that would be more of a book than a blog post.  But there is a cost to getting all of this wrong, not only for those of us in the western Christian culture but also for the rest of world that we live in.

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Modesty, Lust and Attraction

One of the fun things about writing this blog over the last few years is the questions, thoughts and ideas that readers bring via comments and emails.  Today I wanted to write a post in response to an email question I received a while back.

A young lady wrote in and asked:

I want to know why modesty in dress is considered so important for men’s purity of thought.

I dress modestly. I have no problem with that. Doesn’t bother me. . .

But, I don’t really believe that normal, average women are physically appealing to men when the women who men want to look at are strippers, porn stars, prostitutes and lingerie models. The women who men pay to see are surgically enhanced with silicone parts and fake hair, nails, tans, noses, breasts and eyelashes. That’s not what most average women look like. We don’t meet that physical gold standard of beauty or physical attractiveness.

So why do we have to worry about men lusting after us when we’re not the ones they want anyway? They’re looking at the iPhones, not me or other women who are around.

This email actually raises several different questions and thoughts.  We are talking here about modesty of dress, men lusting, how attraction works among other things.  Let me address a couple of points here that might be helpful.

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Attraction vs Sexual Desire

One of the problems in our theology of marriage and celibacy, as well as frankly most other topics, is that we often use the certain words interchangeably that don’t mean exactly the same thing.  This of course causes all sorts of confusion and it makes it really hard to have theological conversations of any kind let alone a debate.

Now part of this is due to the English language itself.  Now I’m fan of English, but let’s face it, some of our words cause problems.  Think of the word love.  I love my car, I love my dog, I love Mizzou, I love my wife, I love God.  Obviously I love all these things differently and yet I’m given only one word to use.

But a lot of our problem comes from lazy theology and/or lazy language use.  For example, while they are to varying degrees related, salvation, justification, and election are not theologically the same word, and yet we often treat them as if they were.

This is also true when it comes our theology in the contexts of marriage, celibacy  and sexual sin.  So today, I want to break down a couple of these words we use.  I’m not expecting everyone to agree with me, but we have to at least try to talk about it because if we don’t have any nuance of language then we can’t really have much of a conversation about any of this.

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