Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Russell Kelly's Tithing Info is Available Online


While there are other good books on tithing available, Dr. Russell Kelly's is the most thorough (The Church of Scotland, which rejects mandatory tithing, has Kelly's book as part of its recommended reading list on the subject).

I have a link to Kelly's book on the right side for those who would like to purchase a copy.

I recently became aware that Kelly has much of the material from his book available on his website for free (while he does need a good website designer--keep in mind that he is legally blind--the information he presents is solid).

He also has a series of 22 videos (each about 5 minutes in length) explaining the subject.


Monday, March 17, 2014

God's Plan for Giving, Parts 1 & 2


These two sermons by John MacArthur are from 1975.

If you want a clear explanation of why tithing is not biblical for Christians as well as a description of what is the biblical giving model for Christians, these two sermons are an excellent place to start.

Both the text and audio are available at the link.

You can listen to the audio online, or download it and listen to it later.

The length of each audio is about 50 minutes.

Blacksmiths did not Tithe

I got the annual tithing message at church today. Unlike sermons in the past, which were more a perfunctory “you should tithe” message, they doubled—no tripled—down. Listening to the sermon, I started to wonder if they were drifting into prosperity gospel territory, as it was emphasized that if I failed to tithe not only would God fail to bless me, but it would actually bring about God's curse upon me.

What is it about tithing that causes otherwise reliable pastors to lose their minds; to lose the ability to follow even the basic rules of exegesis? Other than the word “tithe,” the modern teaching on tithing bears little resemblance to the ancient practice (perhaps this is the reason the majority of evangelical pastors don't even believe in tithing1). I'd like to give those preaching tithing the benefit of the doubt, but my gut says this is a 1st Timothy 6:10 problem. Pastors directly benefit from tithing. At best they aren't motivated to dig deep into the subject; at worst...

This will probably end up as a multi-post subject, so I'm going to start with a simple question:
Why were blacksmiths in ancient Israel not required to tithe?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Who is Discouraging Women From STEM Careers?

I was reading an article at Matt Walsh's blog1 where he pointed out that women don't have it worse than men. One of the comments2 caught my eye:
However, one thing about the .77 dollar argument that bears investigation is why women are underrepresented in the STEM professions, which tend to be the highest-paying professions. Studies have consistently revealed that girls are discouraged in math and science classrooms.
Having worked in a STEM field (computer programming) for over a quarter of a century, I found the idea that girls are discouraged from entering STEM fields to be curious. It certainly didn't line up with my experience in the industry. Schools have been pushing girls into math and science, not discouraging them. In my experience technology companies have been bending over backwards and jumping through hoops to get more women into IT (information technology). From programs aimed at getting high school students involved in technology to hiring decisions, there has always been a blunt, out-in-the-open emphasis on getting more women into IT.

So, if it's not “the patriarchy” pushing women down and denying them a chance to enter technology fields, what does account for women being underrepresented in technology fields? After a little research into personality types and career fields, I think I found the answer.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Overt Confidence is the Alpha Key

Which of the following people would you be most likely to follow:
  1. An inept man who was outwardly overconfident in his abilities
  2. A competent man who was humble about his abilities
I'm sure most people picked #2. We all like to think we would make the smart choice, but according to research done by Cameron Anderson2 the choice most people make is #1. And it's not even close, the overwhelming majority of people prefered the inept overconfident guy.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is the Cube Farm the Meaning of Life?

I read an article describing a woman who was raising her daughter to be a mother—to marry young to a good man, have children, and spend her life raising her children.1 The criticism of her was blistering. One theme continually popped up in comments: how can you waste your daughter's potential?

Potential? Potential to be what, exactly? A doctor, lawyer, or CEO; one of life's movers and shakers. There are a couple of problems with that attitude. For one, those types of careers are few and far between. Secondly, for most people (man or woman) the meaning of life won't be found on the job—it will be found at home in their families and in God.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How a Woman Can “Have It All”

In an earlier post10, I noted the modern feminist meme of women having it all. Unfortunately, not only does the feminist plan ensure women don't “have it all,” it ensures what they do have will be royally screwed up. From a man's perspective, this means they are awful (inferior, substandard, flawed) wife material.

Here is a different plan. One that allows women to achieve life's major goals and still be good choices as wives.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

PAC-Man: The Passive-Aggressive Christian Man

Dr. Paul Glover, in his 2003 book No More Mr. Nice Guy, says nice guys are dishonest, secretive, manipulative, controlling, attracted to people that need fixing, and full of rage; they have difficulty setting boundaries and problems with intimate relationships; they fear conflict, blame others for their problems, fail to live up to their potential, and give to get.

Dr. Scott Wetzler, in his 1992 book Living With the Passive-Aggressive Male, says passive-aggressive men are dishonest, secretive, manipulative, controlling, attracted to people that need fixing, and full of rage; they have difficulty setting boundaries and problems with intimate relationships; they fear conflict, blame others for their problems, fail to live up to their potential, and give to get.

Glover states “Nice guys are passive-aggressive.” Wetzler states “...passive-aggressive men negotiate the world as 'nice guys' denying even the slightest hint of hostility or conflict.”

This is not a coincidence. Being a nice guy and being a passive aggressive man go hand in hand. Glover's and Wetzler's books are eerily similar. Even though their subjects are different and the approach from opposite directions, you can't help but get the feeling that they are describing the same person—because they are.

It's no secret that the modern Christian church has become a nice guy factory. What people have failed to realize is that it has also become a factory for producing passive-aggressive men. The nice guy personality turned out by churches is the one described in the above books—the one that goes hand in hand with being passive-aggressive.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Courage vs Confidence

Courage is the opposite of cowardice; confidence is the opposite of uncertainty.

Courage and cowardice are antonyms—they mean the opposite of each other. They both deal with how you handle fear.

Confidence and uncertainty antonyms—they mean the opposite of each other. They both deal with how you handle doubt.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Presentation Matters

Recently, I've noticed another round in the debate between just-be-yourself and craft-your-image; between what is known as inner-game and outer-game. The inner-game argument is that you should not present yourself as something you are not. A reasonable argument, but it is then taken to the extreme. The argument is being made that you should only focus on your inner qualities. Don't worry about your outer qualities—your image, because your inner qualities will shine out and people will see you for your true self. It's a nice theory, but it doesn't work in the real world.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Individuals are NOT the Bride of Christ

I heard a pastor say it again. In the middle of a sermon on individual Christian's responsibilities; on how individual Christians should comport themselves; on how individual Christians should love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, he said this:
You are the bride of Christ.
He then expounded on the reasons why, because Christians are the bride of Christ, they should act in a specific manner.

The bride of Christ is the church corporate. Individuals are NOT the bride of Christ.


The Myth of the Egalitarian Marriage

My wife and I are equals. We share in all the decision making. Neither of us is the leader of the other.
The egalitarian view sounds so lovely. Two people living together in harmony. Neither having more authority in the relationship than the other and neither having more responsibility in the relationship than the other. Unfortunately, it's merely a utopian vision, because when a crisis occurs (when the metaphorical shit hits the fan) the egalitarian model breaks down.

Consider this scenario:

A married couple along with their two children are driving home from a weekend trip. As they round the corner their home comes into view. There are firetrucks and flashing lights. They simultaneously realize that their house has burned to the ground. One spouse emotionally melts down; turns to the other spouse; and with tears in their eyes and panic in their voice screams: “Oh my God! What are we going to do? Tell me, what are we going to do?”

Which spouse had the emotional meltdown?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Men, You Are the Prize

This is a letter I composed for a friend who's dealings with women over the years has caused him little but grief. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Luke,

I've heard once again hat you've had problems with a woman. I can relate to that. Recently, I've come to realize something:
In any relationship between a man and a woman, the woman is not the prize—the man is the prize.

Friday, December 13, 2013

When Pastors Lie

58% of evangelical leaders say tithing is not required of Christians.
That was the result of a survey done by the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) of their members1 (members here refers to the leaders of the various churches that belong to the NAE—the pastors who actually run the church). When was the last time you heard an evangelical church preach that tithing wasn't required? I can't think of a single instance. Every sermon I've heard on tithing has maintained that not only is tithing required, but to not tithe was the same as robbing God—a literal sin. The conclusion is obvious:

Jesus Said Follow Me

There are a plethora of phrases people use to describe their relationship with God: I am saved; I've given my soul to Christ; I love Jesus; I am a bride of Christ; I have placed my faith in Christ; I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; or I'm born again.

I would like to suggest a simpler one; one found repeatedly in the Bible; one Jesus himself used:

     I follow Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Women Who Live Life in Reverse

When considering a woman as a wife, it's vital to understand how she views the various stages in her life and how she thinks they will play out over time, because her choices will affect how your life will play out also.

The modern feminist plan for how these years should be structured goes something like this:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Is There Time in Your Schedule for Sex?

Sex (or should I say lack of it) is one of the big frustrations of married men. One reason is we don't plan for it. We've fallen into the romantic-fantasy mindset that it should be spontaneous—it should just happen. We certainly don't make our daily schedule around it. Below is what has been my weekday schedule for most of my married life:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Christmas Carol on Marriage

There is a lot of hand wringing (particularly in Christian circles) over why young men today aren't marrying. The answer can be found in the classic A Christmas Carol, which contains a clear example of why men used to marry.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Wife from Proverbs 5

When the wife from Proverbs is discussed, the one from Proverbs 31 jumps to everyone's mind. But, I want to talk about another wife—the wife from Proverbs 5.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Jesus Was Dangerous

Jesus wasn't crucified because he was a nice guy. He was crucified because the powers that be were afraid of him. He challenged them. He called them out and called them names. He refused to play along with their rules. He could not be controlled.