Posts tagged with "relationships"
Thursday, December 30, 2010 10:50:28 PM
It turns out that us moralising, fun-destroying, Bible-thumping conservative Christians are right.
Delaying sex until marriage makes relationships stronger.
Wesley Smith writes:
This is interesting. A scientific study finds that a more old fashioned approach to romance enhances the chances that relationships will be sustained and satisfying. From the story in Live Science:
When I was young and hormonal, my parents–and I must say, the culture at large–pounded the point that “waiting” was a matter of respecting the girl (in my case) you cared about enough to date. They also said that waiting made love better. It turns out, they may well have been right.
And here’s a benefit I see: Cautiously approaching intimacy leads to less personal chaos, reduced anguish, fewer unwanted pregnancies, and, it seems, more stable pair bondings.
Delaying sex makes for a more satisfying and stable relationship later on, new research finds. Couples who had sex the earliest — such as after the first date or within the first month of dating — had the worst relationship outcomes.
“What seems to happen is that if couples become sexual too early, this very rewarding area of the relationship overwhelms good decision-making and keeps couples in a relationship that might not be the best for them in the long-run,” study researcher Dean Busby, of Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, told LiveScience.
Here is a summary of the result:
Individuals were categorized as either having:
Early sex (before dating or less than one month after they started dating).
Late sex (between one month and two years of dating).
And those who waited until after they married.
Relationships fared better and better the longer a person waited to have sex, up until marriage, with those hitting the sack before a month showing the worst outcomes.
Compared with those in the early sex group, those who waited until marriage:
Rated relationship stability as 22 percent higher
Rated relationship satisfaction as 20 percent higher
Rated sexual quality as 15 percent better
Rated communication as 12 percent better
“Curiously, almost 40 percent of couples are essentially sexual within the first or second time they go out, but we suspect that if you asked these same couples at this early stage of their relationship – ‘Do you trust this person to watch your pet for a weekend many could not answer this in the affirmative’ – meaning they are more comfortable letting people into their bodies than they are with them watching their cat,” Busby said. He added that those couples who wait to be sexual have time to figure out how trustworthy their partner is, how well they communicate, and whether they share the same values in life “before the powerful sexual bonding short-circuits their decision-making abilities.”
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 10:46:26 PM
From "The First Post"
Facebook causes one in five divorces, says law firm
Anyone who is tempted to rekindle old romances or start new ones on the internet be warned: Facebook is now being cited in almost 20 per cent of divorces.
A law firm in America has made the startling claim after discovering that nearly one in five of its clients named the social networking site in their petitions.
Divorce-Online's managing director Mark Keenan said he was "really surprised" to discover that out of 5,436 cases, 989 contained a reference to Facebook. "The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to," he said.
Around 14m people in Britain are thought to use social networking sites like Facebook. And the temptation to use them to get in touch with old flames or flirt with new acquaintances seems to be too great for many married people.
Suspicious partners are also finding more ways to check up on their errant spouses, and computer companies are developing programmes that enable them to monitor online activity.
More cases of online infidelity are coming to light. Last year Amy Taylor, a 28-year-old woman from Cornwall, split from her husband after discovering his alter ego was having an affair with an escort in the virtual world Second Life. Also last year a woman discovered that her marriage was over when her husband updated his Facebook status to read "Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady".
Solicitor Karen Moores told the Daily Mail: "It started off with Friends Reunited where people were hooking up with exes from their school days, arranging to meet up and then starting affairs. Now it's Facebook, with people discovering their partners emailing or pictured with other people.
"If I was up to anything, I would never do it anywhere near the internet."
Thursday, December 17, 2009 11:33:19 AM
Every year in our town, usually the Thursday about a week before Christmas, the street is closed off late in the afternoon and a street party/ carnival takes place, during which the shops hope to sell more products than they would otherwise.
Last year, for the first time, we took a table and some products from our Christian Bookshop and also our nativity figures and were just there as a low-key witness to the real meaning of Christmas amidst the worldliness and commercialism of it all.
This year we repeated the process and we asked Troy to sing some God-songs- just a couple of brackets using an ordinary guitar amp and microphone.
It wasn't a big deal and was meant to just say "Christ is here."
Interestingly, shortly after Troy started singing, the rev-heads started up the engine on a boat they had parked in the middle of the street nearly opposite where we were. It was a horrible noise, and when they revved it up, the sound level was horrendous. People were covering their ears, babies crying. They kept that up for some time. Somebody must have called the police, because they came by and had a little chat to the lads. Next time, they only ran it for 15 seconds and didn't rev it at all. This wasn't about people trying to be smart- it was a spiritual attack.
Again we had plenty of chances to talk to people, some of whom we have now known for years. You can see that some of them are coming close to the kingdom. We don't preach at people, but we do let them know that we are consistent in what we do and believe and that we care about them. Sometimes we even get to talk about Jesus.
We had several people come to us and say "It is so good that you are here reminding people of the real meaning of Christmas."
The other interesting observation is to see people literally crossing the road to avoid out little stall. The spirit of fear is so strong in them that they just cannot come near to anything smelling faintly of God.
We took over $800 worth of stock with us tonight and came home having sold-- wait for it! $2 worth!!
That's all right because there's plenty of people needing to make a profit from consumers. There aren't too many wanting to take time to share God's love.
It was a good night and I feel that God was pleased by our humble efforts.
Saturday, December 5, 2009 12:54:25 AM
I've just spent a few days away from home conferring with a small group of senior ministers about how to improve the way we help to mentor and help new ministers and congregations coming into our apostolic network from denominational backgrounds.
I've got to say it was a truly wonderful time. We talked and had fellowship with one another and encouraged one another in our respective ministries. We did a lot of talking, listening and laughing together.
I love the way Apostle John Alley tackles these subjects. He actually had a list of issues that he is wrestling with, but we focussed on just one. He talked about the issues then we prayed, asking God to show us the way forward, and then we just listened to what the Holy Spirit might be saying.
Right at the beginning of this time, I had the words "brain cells" come into my head. The thing about brain cells is that they don't "think" as such, but rather they communicate with one another. Brain cells actually make as many connections as possible with their neighbours and it's the process of communication between those cells that we call thinking.
The brilliance of the way the brain works is that if connections are damaged, new connections can be formed. If a part of the brain is damaged, or cells die for some reason, often the damage can be mitigated by the healthy brain cells forming new connections with new healthy cells. So it is often the case that people who have minor strokes and are partially paralysed they can, over time, re-learn how to use their limbs. In fact all learning involves the formation of new connections in the brain.
If apostolic christianity is all about relationships rather than institutional structures, it follows that our processes need to be organic rather than concrete. It also means that the network needs to function in this multi-relational structure rather than a traditional hierarchic pyramid. Following the analogy of the brain cells, the more connections or relationships that we can make within the network the healthier and smarter it will be.
Out of this meeting, we have decided (among other things) to work harder (or smarter) at developing the relationships, so that when people enquire about apostolic covering or about the network, then they can be referred to several people, spreading the load but also increasing the potential number of relationships or connections with us.
That is so brilliant, you could almost say it must be God!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 5:37:24 AM
Last Sunday, I was surprised by my reaction to Rozina's question about Solomon and his wisdom. I was finding it hard to cope with the myriad demands of being a pastor on a Sunday morning. I'm not sure whether it was a physical thing or a spiritual attack but I found Sunday very stressful.
So when the sermon was interrupted by a question that I had no immediate answer to, I felt rather frustrated. The sermon was about getting wisdom, but the question was about failing of wisdom and I had no immediate answer to the question.
Anyway, that experience and some comments made by Michael Spencer in his podcast (www.internet.com) about teaching styles in the church, somehow forced me to a realisation of the tension in which we as a community live.
The tension is that God has called us to do a "new thing" with no description of what that looks like or a map of how to get there.
One thing I do know is that our expression of community has to be very different to anything currently available in the contemporary expressions of church. Community, christian style, has to be very different to
- the pastor-centric authoritarian models common in Pentecostal circles
- the institution-centric model of the Catholic Church
- the pseudo-democratic approach of many mainline Protestant churches.
The style of worship also has to be different to what is currently practised in most churches.
I am very aware that what we do now is only a temporary arrangement,
On my best days, I welcome interactive discussion-style sermons. That's why each week I publish my personal reflections on each of the lectionary readings for the following Sunday. I also try to encourage a discussion on those readings in our facebook group.
I think that people learn best when we engage with Scripture as a community, working out together their implications for us. Unfortunately that is very hard work for the leader, and for it to work effectively, it needs the leader/preacher to really have their wits about them, providing guidance without completely dominating the discussion. If the preacher is not up to the mental/spiritual discernment necessary for the task that day, it's all too easy to fall back into the didactic rhetorical approach of just telling people the message for the day.
This all works well in a medium sized group, but how to do it in a much larger group? How do we engage in creative responses to scripture in ways which speak to the varying learning styles that people have? How do we structure our whole worship space to best use the gifts of all of our people?
There is a balance in all of this. We need some information in order to be able to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. There are times when the preacher has to nicely tell people that it's time to listen. There are also times when the best thing for a preacher to do is just shut up himself and let the rest of the community work it out together.
It's wonderfully easy when we have the capacity to just package up a particular format for each week, where people know that their role is just to absorb the anointing being imparted by the pastor.
I'm not so sure that leads to genuine growth in faith for anyone involved.
So we grope towards a new form of community. Some times it will be wonderful and other times less than ordinary. But it's all a part of the journey Jesus has called us to.
Thursday, June 18, 2009 11:57:18 AM
As much of the West continues to reap the deadly harvest of the so-called "Sexual Revolution", one judge in Britain has stood up and said that the only way forward is to recover the primary role of marriage in creating a stable society.
From "Breaking Christian News":
British Court Justice Shakes the Nation:
Only Reaffirmation of Marriage Can Mend Britain's Broken Family Structure
Teresa Neumann (June 18, 2009)
"There is no quick-fix solution, although the reaffirmation of marriage as the gold standard would be a start: statistically, it has proved to be the most enduring relationship, and the best environment for children."
UK newspapers are buzzing this week with statements from Justice Paul Coleridge who claims that only marriage can mend "broken Britain."
The sensation his stand is causing in Britain may not get much airtime in the U.S., but Breaking Christian News is here to see you read about it.
Listing a litany of statistics regarding children from broken homes, The Daily Mail quoted Coleridge as saying marriage should be promoted by the government to end the "social anarchy of family breakdown."
Coleridge also said mothers and fathers "who fail to commit to each other [are] engaging in a game of 'pass the partner' that has left millions of children scarred for life."
The Telegraph U.K. ran a commentary by Coleridge which read, in part:
"There is a tendency, especially among the chattering classes, to assume that we have attained a social utopia, in which we are entirely and happily free from taboos, stigmas and other constraints on behaviour. It sounds so beguiling: let us all do what we want, when we want and sort out any mess as we go along.
"But surely the test of any social change is whether it enhances people's lives or makes them more miserable. And this is where I take issue with the modern view of the family. If it is so successful, why are the statistics for separation so large? More significantly, why are the family courts overwhelmed with cases involving damaged, miserable or disturbed children? How do other children, caught up in less serious separations, really feel? Do they relish the endless changes of partner, or adapting to a new step-parent and step-siblings?
"In the end, however," concludes Coleridge, "it is the behaviour of individuals that has driven us here, and it is only changes in behaviour that can make a radical difference. The time has come for a major examination of all the issues surrounding family life, so that we can stand back and remould our behavior for the benefit of us all—especially our children."
God bless you, Justice Coleridge.
Source: Paul Coleridge - The Telegraph U.K.
Monday, November 24, 2008 7:37:27 AM
"The shattered relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the cross provides the basis for our reconciliation.
No other relationship ever suffered more than what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit endured when Jesus hung on the cross and cried, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
Jesus was willing to be the rejected Son so that our families would know reconciliation.
Jesus was willing to become the forsaken friend so that we could have loving friendships.
Jesus was willing to be the rejected Lord so that we could live in loving submission to one another.
Jesus was willing to be the forsaken brother so that we could have godly relationships.
Jesus was willing to be the crucified King so that our communities would experience peace.”
- Paul David Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2006), 13.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 9:47:26 AM
I received this article recently from Mark Burlinson at Shiloh Place Ministries
Recently the leader of a network of churches asked me "what does a church look like when it is founded completely on the Father's love?" As I considered my answers to this question I realized how different the church looks when agape love is the foundation. The reason for this is that God's love is primarily expressed in the Kingdom of God; the Church is the community of the citizens of the Kingdom, not just a gathering of disciples in a locality. The Kingdom creates the Church, local churches are facets of Kingdom Community, and because God is love, the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Love. So what does an agape church look like?
Sunday, June 22, 2008 7:30:12 AM
Scott told me during the week that he was leaving his flat on the weekend to move into a caravan at the piggery where he works... sounds like the story of the Prodigal Son doesn't it?
Yesterday afternoon he had nowhere to store his furniture and nothing to transport it in. We weren't feeling terribly sympathetic as we were in the middle of rearranging the little bed/ store room in the church and just had to keep at it. We decided though that since his natural family was again being totally negligent, the spiritual family had better step up to the crease.
After a sermon about relationships and caring for one another because of who we are and not just for what people can do for us, I asked for people to come and help us move him out.
So what would you expect from a request for workers with no prior warning, and to help someone who hasn't exactly been a regular part of the congregation lately? Most of the men and some of the wives who didn't have children to care for turned up for between one and five hours.
What an awesome response!
We not only got his stuff loaded onto utes and put into storage (or else sent to the tip), but we cleaned the flat to "as new" condition. So much so that the estate agent would be able to put a new tenant in tomorrow with little work required.
If I was measuring our church's level of care for one another, I think I would give us an "A" after this.
Another reason to "boast" about "my" excellent congregation.
Thursday, March 27, 2008 10:30:39 PM
This one gave me a laugh, but there's a lot of wisdom here.
From "The Word For Today"
Keys to a stronger marriage (1)
"Love ... is not ... self-seeking."
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV
An elderly couple celebrating their 50th anniversary had no secrets, except for a shoe box the wife had always kept hidden under the bed. She agreed to let her husband look inside. When he did, he found two crocheted dolls and $50,000 in cash. 'Years ago,' she explained, 'my mother told me that the secret to a happy marriage was never to argue. Instead, when I got angry I should keep quiet and crochet a doll.' Her husband was delighted; she'd only been angry at him twice in 50 years! 'Honey,' he said, 'that explains the dolls, but what about the $50,000?' 'Oh,' she replied smiling, 'that's from selling the dolls!'
Marriage therapy often calls for 'active listening', and affirming your spouse through paraphrasing, validation, and positive feedback. But research shows that many couples aren't always happy with the results and problems still recur. Dr John Gottman says, 'That's because we're asking people to do Olympic-style gymnastics when they can hardly crawl!' Instead, Dr Susan Boon recommends identifying the issues that must be resolved - and learning to live with the rest! Work around them, commit to staying together, and for every negative experience, look for five positive ones to balance it out. Dirty socks, snoring, thermostat settings, unmade beds - our habits can drive our partners crazy.
We must learn to 'Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ' (Eph 5:21 NIV), and remember, 'Love ... is not rude ... self-seeking ... easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs' (1 Co 13:4-5 NIV). Well, how are you doing so far?
Wednesday, March 5, 2008 9:41:57 AM
The last few Pastors' Prayer meetings have been variable.
Today I was encouraged by the presence of Rev. Tim, the Anglican minister. He rode his bike here (about 4 km) as his family only has 1 car, so that shows a fair bit of desire to be here.
I feel like we are at a place where the pastors think praying together is a "good idea", but not quite the highest priority. That's probably a better place than where they were at the end of last year. That is progress, I guess.
More prayer required
Monday, March 3, 2008 5:45:15 AM
That feels better!
From the ABC:
Blogging boosts your social life: research
By Claudine Ryan for ABC Science Online
Blogging can help you feel less isolated, more connected to a community and more satisfied with your friendships, both online and face-to-face, new Australian research has found.
The research, from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, found after two months of regular blogging, people felt they had better social support and friendship networks than those who did not blog.
Researchers James Baker and Professor Susan Moore have written two papers investigating the psychological benefits of blogging, regularly updating personal web pages with information that invites others to comment.
The first, published in the latest issue of the journal CyberPsychology and Behaviour, compares the mental health of people intending to blog with that of people not planning to blog.
Moore says the researchers messaged 600 MySpace users personally and directed them to an online survey. A total of 134 completed the questionnaire - 84 intended to blog and 50 did not.
"We found potential bloggers were less satisfied with their friendships and they felt less socially integrated, they didn't feel as much part of a community as the people who weren't interested in blogging," Ms Moore said.
"They were also more likely to use venting or expressing your emotions as a way of coping.
"It was as if they were saying 'I'm going to do this blogging and it's going to help me'."
And it seemed to do the trick, as the researchers' second study shows.
This study, which is yet to be published, was conducted two months later.
The researchers sent out questionnaires to the same group of MySpace users - this time 59 responded.
Bloggers reported a greater sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people and feeling more confident they could rely on others for help.
All respondents, whether or not they blogged, reported feeling less anxious, depressed and stressed after two months of online social networking.
"So going onto MySpace had lifted the mood of all participants in some way," Ms Moore said.
"Maybe they'd just made more social connections."
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 7:15:58 AM
One of the most significant acts of symbolism in our history will take place on 13th February when the Prime Minister will say "Sorry" to the Stolen Generation. The Stolen Generation is a collective term for the aboriginal children who were taken forcibly from their families and sent to institutions or to the homes of white families. Many terrible abuses occurred under this system which was operating as late as the 1970's.
I think that many Australians at the time thought that they were giving these children a helping hand, but history has shown that we have reaped a terrible harvest of drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, domestic violence and perpetual cycles of child abuse amongst our indigenous people.
One of John Howard's big mistakes in government was to refuse to say "Sorry". It's good to see that new PM Kevin Rudd is wasting no time in settling this issue.
I think he is right also to say there will be no financial compensation to individuals. The real need is to provide services such as health, education and economic development to aboriginal communities so that the shameful inequalities between black and white populations are reduced.
While saying "Sorry" won't fix the problems, there is a big step of reconciliation and healing that takes place when people admit that they have hurt others.
Thursday, January 24, 2008 2:58:14 AM
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus announces: "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering" (Matthew 5:23-24).
Incredibly, Jesus believed that reconciling with people takes precedence over ceremonies. Jesus didn't condemn religious rites. Instead, he affirmed that people take priority. No religious ceremony is worth more than any individual. Anger, battles, and contentions cannot be swept under the rug by sitting in an auditorium. No amount of hymns, sermons, Bible studies, Lord's Suppers, recitations of the Lord's Prayer, or small groups can substitute for one estranged relationship.
We might contemporize Jesus' statement, "Therefore, if you are singing a praise song, speaking in tongues, or taking communion leave and first be reconciled. Afterward, come and resume your activity."
That is an astoundingly drastic suggestion. In Jesus' context, the temple ceremonies were the highest form of piety. To instruct people to discard them in favor of reconciling relationships struck at the very heart of the religious structure. Nevertheless, Jesus teaches that people are more valuable than rites?even God ordained ones. God has fashioned people, not religion, in the divine image.
So, in the mode of Jesus, I encourage you to take a radical step. In taking Jesus seriously, in taking discipleship earnestly, in following the words and spirit of Jesus, I invite you to stop going to church?if you can think of someone with whom you are at odds. Have you crossed someone? Are you quarrelling with your sister or brother? Would you prefer to see someone dead rather than see them sitting in your pew? Church going will not resolve that situation. Only the hard work of humility can set things straight. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
Once you go the extra mile in resolving the situation, then go back. When you do, you may discover new joy, meaning, and purpose in the ceremony. By the grace of God, you may discover that you hold people far dearer than any observances.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 7:04:28 AM
Do you ever have days when stress is piled on stress?
We had a huge day today with lots of people coming through to visit our retail activities. One lady came and had a happy hour browsing in the bookshop while her 200 children went feral through our toys... OK so I exaggerate slightly!
Margaret had advertised that we are having a toy sale this week, so the church is even more kiddie heaven than usual. It's hard to tell visiting children that these toys are OK to play with but these ones aren't.
Anyway while this family was happily enjoying our facilities we had a bunch of other people through to buy stuff.
It was all very busy but we could handle it.
Then this afternoon Margaret went to her annual tussle with the Spanish Inquisition- Centrelink. We receive a fairly generous family payment from the Government but now they are trying to rein all that in. The trouble is that we don't fit the boxes- both Margaret and I are full time workers who earn very little. So Centrelink is never really clear about whether we are really working or not or which boxes we should fit into. To make matters worse, they were trying to conduct this interview in the middle of a one-day renovation of the office. In the end the Centrelink worker decided it would be much easier if Margaret returns on Monday, after she has had a chance to find an exemption for us and can think straight without being surrounded by chaos.
Meanwhile I was playing electronic tug-of-war with the Tax Office. Each quarter businesses are required to put in GST returns. In the past I've done this on the internet which makes it very quick. But we ran into a problem when I upgraded my computer a few months ago- for some reason the digital certificates that you use to sign on would no longer accept my password on my new computer. So last time I used the old computer which is now Margaret's computer. A couple of weeks ago, I sent in a request for a new certificate in order to do this quarter's statement. I installed it on my computer then found it wouldn't accept my password. Aaaaaaagggghhhhh! So I rang the ATO's help line which was busy, but eventually found a number for the technical helpdesk. They told me how to re-install the certificate, but it didn't fix the problem, so I decided to just go back to paper statements. I rang the ATO again and was on hold for 45 minutes or more (thank you Lord for speaker phones!), before a very helpful lady took my details and then said "I'm going to try and get these technical people to solve this problem." She put me through to a higher level flunky who wasn't at all fazed when i said "Look I'm using linux and I know that's not supported." He went on to explain there was a bug in the software that if you had a box ticked that actually looked like it should be ticked it would not accept password changes. So we went through the steps, unticked the boxes and logged on happily.
So we got to the end of the day having felt like we were swimming upstream for most of it! At least we got done everything we needed to do and found helpful people in Australia's two biggest and least friendly bureaucracies. Miracles all over the place!
No time for photos today. Maybe tomorrow!
Friday, July 27, 2007 12:11:53 AM
We had a great start to our School of Ministry in the Holy Spirit last night. The School is part 2 of our "Equipping Track" which is the process by which we give our people practical encouragement to grow in their relationship with God and their ability to impact their circle of friends.
It was a small group but for me there was a highlight as we were praying for people at the end of the session. We were praying for Greg and the Lord just popped into my head the word "faithful." Greg is a faithful man- constant, loyal. But as I looked around at the group we had there, and thought of the other members of our church who weren't there, it struck me what a treasure we have in the faithfulness of our people.
As I said last night, "We aren't flash, but we are solid."
There is a depth in our church, a commitment to one another, a deep sense of belonging to one another, a huge sense of community or family that you won't find in many other places.
I thank God for that strong community.
Thursday, May 24, 2007 7:38:57 AM
I really feel like this character today.
It has been really full on with a funeral this morning, lots of people, counselling, even a couple from Presbyterian Inland Mission passing through- why they visited us I'm not so sure. In the middle of all of this we are minding Alex.
But it's good to be able to have the opportunity to share God's love with so many people in a variety of ways.
One non-christian person who came through to buy some baby goods is really under pressure from having to move at short notice. Margaret was able to say to her "You can pray about this you know and get God's peace."
In the end that's what all we do is about- sharing God's love with people who are far from Him. Sometimes it's preaching, other times just being with people. Either way, we try to be Jesus to people who don't know Him yet.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 4:41:19 AM
Yesterday, I conducted a funeral service which was odd in the nice sense of the word!
The people involved were from out of town in an area considered by townies as a "Hillbilly" district... and the family certainly lived up to that reputation! But they were really nice people, despite the outward appearances.
What was interesting was that the son who had taken on the role of organising everything came about an hour before the service to help set things up, but that wasn't necessary. We gave him a cup of coffee and then other people started coming and also drinking coffee and cold drinks. By the time of the funeral we had quite a thriving coffee shop going.
People sat at our outdoor tables and on the cane chairs just generally doing what churches call "fellowship."
After the service it was more of the same as the body was going to Gunnedah to be cremated. We waved off the hearse and people stayed for ages just having a good time together.
One lady started talking to Margaret and it turned into a 2 hour counselling session.
I believe it is this kind of "ordinary" event (as opposed to "religious" events) that really is a sign of the Kingdom of God in our midst.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006 12:13:59 PM
My lovely wife and I celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary tomorrow.
It's definitely been a wonderful time- and it has gone so quickly!
We managed to find a time slot to celebrate together. We are planning to have afternoon tea together in the park.
It's a funny thought but we spend most of our days working together, but finding time to be intentionally alone is so hard that we have to make an appointment
Last year my wonderful cell group leaders bought us a voucher to have a wedding anniversary dinner together. It took us until February to use it!
I love my wife and our crazy life together.
Monday, August 14, 2006 10:31:18 AM
I've just had another session with a couple who are to get married in a few weeks time.
They are really nice people. It's really been great getting to know them and spend time with them.
As part of the preparation for marriage I get people to fill in the "Prepare" questionnaire. This covers a whole range of issues surrounding marriage and really opens up conversation between the partners and also with the celebrant.
I've noticed the last couple of times I've done this that the couples have been living together for a couple of years but their profile is more like that of your traditional "bad" marriage where they are fighting all the time.
I think there may be a connection. It seems to me that the modern trends of so-called "liberal" attitudes to sex and living together before actually making a formal public commitment to one another may accentuate the negatives in a relationship (poor self-esteem, poor communication) while lacking the glue of a vow to commit and to love one another regardless.
This couple had some other issues. The husband was pretty well abandoned by his father, and basically filters all his relationships through fear of rejection.
We spent some time talking about the issues. I offered that they can come around any time if they want to talk some more.
I pray that God will bring come hope and healing into the relationship.
Perhaps the wedding will be a step forward in that process.
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