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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Thursday, September 16, 2010
1023: Applying a simple proverb.
In the 18 years of my marriage my wife and I have had many disagreements I suppose. Certainly in the first five years of my marriage (years when I was far from the Lord in my heart) there were many arguments and we came very close to destroying our marriage forever. Of course that all turned around on the day I, by God's grace, was able to turn my heart to follow Him in earnest. So I can say before the Lord without shame, that in the past 13 years of marriage each year has been better than the last, more joy filled, and more peaceful, meaning we have learned to settle our differences in a timely and godly manner before such things grow into anything more.

My Dad was a committed atheist, and my mom a superstitious, biblically ignorant catholic. My wife's mother and father were likewise pseudo-religious, but lacking in genuine faith during her upbringing. It is enough to say that we did not want to our children to see us "resolve" our differences according to the patterns we had inherited as children ourselves.

So, for the benefit of those who are newly wed, or new to the Christian walk, or perhaps just interested in learning how Christian couples with children resolve conflicts in front of their children, I thought I would share a disagreement my wife and I had last night.

After we came home from prayer meeting, we set our two eldest to doing those supper dishes that we had left behind when we frantically dashed out the door to get to prayer meeting (late). For supper I had made a sweet and spicy fried chicken that my wife liked, and later blamed for the gas (and painful cramps) that the baby was tearfully experiencing (our fifth child is now five weeks old).

As I sat in the living room rocking the baby first this way, then that, to try and alleviate the cramps she was experiencing (and thereby stop her crying), I noticed on the family computer that my eldest daughter was going to be getting her bangs cut next week. She had spoken to her grandmother, and her grandmother had made a hair dressing appointment, and because it was left as open mail on the monitor and a small message, I picked up that much information in a single glance.

I should explain that I had had several conversations with my daughter in the past week about getting her bangs cut. Her best friend just had her bangs cut, and so my daughter wanted to cut her bangs too.

This was not something new, when her friend had her hair dyed pink, my daughter wanted to dye her hair too. At that time I exercised my parental veto and forbid it for two reasons - first I think that women in our culture are fed a vile lie from the cradle, that being that augmenting the way God made you is not vain, but is merely "feminine", and I don't want my daughter running around with pink hair. I want her to learn to be content in God's design, that is, in her looks (plus pink hair is trashy as far as I am concerned, but that's just a personal preference).

Well, long before the dye faded in her friends hair the desire in my daughter to dye her own hair likewise faded. It was just one of those passing fancies that young people are inclined to indulge because they are young. Depending on your life philosophy, you may be inclined to indulge such things or not. I am of the "or not" persuasion, and my wife is of the contrary persuasion.

So it was when my daughter began to speak of parroting her friends bang cutting, that I expressed my concern for where this was coming from. At the end of each of a few conversations we had had, I made it clear that this was not something I would ever endorse. Not that I am a hair-Nazi or anything, but my concern is primarily tied to weeding out motives and making sure that my little ones learn to discern peer pressure and worldly thinking, and to react to these things in a godly way.

Well, at least in theory. I also just happen to think that long hair is pretty, and cutting a straight line across your eyebrows is ugly. As a father, and as someone who has a carnal nature just like everyone else, I am inclined by that sinful nature to use my position of authority to furnish myself according to my desires, whether petty or profound.

So when I read about the hair appointment, I was indignant. It didn't help that the baby was also being rather vociferously indignant, but for other reasons. Now I wasn't angry in the sense that some might thing - you know, the creased brow, the loud voice, or what have you. Rather I called my daughter into the room and asked her what this was all about.

Now, my wife knew that I not only had a preference, but she knew what my preference was: that my daughter keep her bangs long. I described above two godly sounding reasons for my preference, but in truth, the petty reason I gave (I just don`t like them!) was far more significant a factor in my concern than even I was aware. So my wife was okay with my daughter getting the hair cut.

So in the moment I read the email, I found myself both at odds with my daughter, for not respecting my wishes, and again, at odds with my wife for knowingly allowing something she knew I wouldn't approve of. I felt in the moment I read the email, not that I was being petty and controlling, but rather that my role as father and husband was being ignored and disrespected.

So, being fluent in scripture, I recalled to my wife the passage in the OT concerning vows - that one role God intends the father to play, is that of a decision maker, so much so that upon hearing of a vow that his daughter makes, or even his own wife makes, the father/husband may exercise this divine prerogative given to fathers/husbands by God, and veto the vow. My intention was not to exercise the veto, but rather to brow beat my wife with the verse until she obliged of her own accord.

It is fair to say that at this point we were "arguing" and our two eldest were right there listening to it. Anytime parents argue, children worry, and so it was with our kids. They listened as they did the dishes, and (as I found out later) were praying for us. My wife didn't want to have an argument in front of the children because when she was growing up that's what her parents did. But because I wanted our children to see that even Christians can argue, and again, to see the process of reconciliation that follows, I insisted that the children continue doing their dishes.

Our "argument" wouldn't even pass for a heated discussion in many homes, but it did get to the point where you start venting about other things you don't like. By the time we got there, my wife had said a few things I knew she would regret, and like the proverbial son who suddenly realizes that he is wallowing in the mire, I found myself realizing that for all my spiritual pretense, quoting verses, and defending my opinions from scripture, I was not actually in the Spirit, but rather firmly in the grip of the flesh.

I hate it when that happens, because it is like the man who by his constant digging has set himself in a large hole, such that even after coming to his senses and suspending his digging, still has the problem before him of being in a large hole.

So it was that I found myself, in the wrong, in the flesh, under the perturbed stare of my wife, trying to soothe my littlest one, and wishing I hadn't dug so deep a hole for myself. In those moments my silent prayers seem to me to be jumbled and desperate - like I am clambering to surrender to God in my heart, but doing so not to draw near to God, but only to satisfy a religious check box, and I have to press on beyond the superficial, and humble myself in my heart - to pass "from this is what a Christian ought to do", and into, "I desperately need God for real".

We took a break to put the kids to bed, and as we did I was genuine in my desire to find a godly path out of the mess I was making. My son is only twelve, but he knows the word of God, and I believe knows the Lord and loves Him. I asked him to give me his honest opinion of my side of the discussion, and he looked me solemnly in the eye and said that perhaps instead of quoting the bible on what it says about father's I should try quoting what it says about arguing.

God bless that boy, for in the moment he said this the words of Proverbs 26:20 came to mind, "For lack of wood the fire goes out" - immediately I knew that the "wood" in the fire of this present contention was my own self interest. How blessed is the man whose children love the Lord!

I got on my knees right then and there and thanked my son for speaking the truth to me, and thanked God that the Holy Spirit was able to find that traction to instruct me through my son's wisdom.

When I returned to my wife, the argument was more than over because the point of contention had been dealt with by God, even as my children had been praying, and as I had called on the Lord to do.

After my wife and I asked one another for forgiveness, we went to our children and explained our faults to them, and how in spite of these, the moment we sought the Lord in earnest, we were blessed. This we did in order that they might have an example to follow in their own lives.

We are all going to fall on our faces from time to time, spiritually speaking - but if we are parents, let us be sure that our children who witness our fall, witness also the way in which the Lord raises us up afterwards.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering ...my daughter is going to have her bangs cut, and I am fine with that.

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posted by Daniel @ 7:09 AM  
1 Comments:
  • At 8:57 PM, September 23, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Way not to make a mountain out of a mole him. Bigger fish to fry down the road. Might be better to get the pink hair thing out of the way now, while it still is wash away product....hehe.

     
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