Blogs were never meant to be one-way communication. Because of the increasing difficulty in maintaining a helpful commenting section, I have recently added a Letters to the Editor feature. Today I share some recent letters to the editor. This week’s Letters to the Editors (and last week’s, since I didn’t post any last week) were almost entirely focused on three articles.
Comments on The Plausibility Problem
I’d like to thank you for your review and recommendation of Ed Shaw’s book. As a Christian who happens to be attracted to the same sex, it’s one of the best I’ve read on the topic. I wanted to point out something that I think the Reformed community has generally missed when it comes to this issue, namely how hard it is for the parents. I’ve seen this in my own life. Over the past year and a bit I’ve opened up to a number of family and friends about my struggles in this area. Overall I’ve been amazed and extremely grateful to all my friends for their love and support once I told them. God is good! The fear I felt that my friends would reject me or look down on me for this has been found to be groundless. However it was much harder for my parents to hear this about me. They were afraid that if the church in general knows, I may be looked down upon and treated as an outcast. It must be brutal to learn that a son that you hoped would be happily married and have kids (your grandchildren) may have to live his whole life in singleness. Often I think that my parents have a harder time with this than I do and that is one of the hardest parts of having SSA. I think in general it could potentially cause the parents to have a lot of guilt (was it the way we raised him/her?) that would be compounded if the church looked down on those dealing with SSA. If we could have a church community like the one Ed Shaw outlines in his book, parents would not have to fear for their child as the church would be ready and willing to be a support for both the individual dealing with the same-sex attraction as well as his or her family.
—Liam K, Edinburgh, Scotland
Tim: Thanks, Liam. This is an area where we, as Christians (and Reformed Christians) have a lot of learning, listening, and thinking to do. I hope and pray we can take Shaw’s challenge and make sure we offer a plausible alternative to the world’s messaging.
Comments on The Counter-Cultural Vocation of Homemaking
“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!” as the old saying goes. I stayed home with my six children. The days are long, but the years are short. We as parents do not have much time to instill our faith and values into our kids. No money would be worth missing our children’s first steps or first words or their games or concerts, or to miss the daily conversations about God and life that ensue. And we did struggle financially, but my husband worked hard and God provided our needs and many wants. I, too, felt “dumb” at times, especially when I was the only other woman in a get-together who did not work outside of our home, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Now that our kids are all grown up with families of their own, all of our girls and daughters-in-law are home with their children. They are pursuing the best thing for their families. It can be lonely and hard at times, but it is worth it. Thank you, Tim, for giving women at home a boost! You can’t take anything to heaven with you but people.
—Victoria K, Upper Chichester, PA
Hi Tim, thanks so much for your article about Aileen’s decision to stay home and about stay at home moms in general. I have read very few articles on this topic that were written by men, and I appreciate you supporting women in this way and championing their hard work at home! My husband and I have also chosen to live in a cheaper housing area and to live on a tight budget so that I can stay home. If I were to go to work (as a nurse) our income would double; but that is not our choice while our kids are little. It is a lot of work to be diligent with our resources, but we believe it is worth it. I’m grateful to my husband for working hard and for the option of staying home. I know many who would like to be home with their kids but who don’t have that luxury.
—Emily A, Roseville, CA
Thank you for writing on this often-neglected topic of homemaking. Now that all of my children are in elementary school, I have been regularly asked, “So what are you going to do now?” Or more boldly, “When are you going back to work?” I never left work! My work changed into being a wife and raising three children. That is work. Bless you for recognizing, encouraging and validating this vital career choice.
—Ursula F, Apex, NC
I’m writing in response to your short article The Counter-Cultural Vocation of Homemaking. I am a wife and lawyer turned stay-at-home mom to my three young children (aged two, four and six). I quit my job at a large international law firm when my eldest was born, and most of my colleagues and many of my friends thought it was an insane move. I walked away from a salary in the $200,000 range, and traded in my sporty Mercedes for a ragged SUV. Gone are the days when I purchased expensive things from expensive stores.
But the truth is, I don’t miss my former career one bit. As a homemaker, I have found a depth of calling that no degree of professional accolade or shiny sports car could ever begin to mimic. God has blessed me with the weighty responsibility of instructing my children in his ways, of filtering the things of this fallen world for three little people, and of creating a home where biblical hierarchy is modeled.
There is immense, eternal responsibility inherent in the vocation of homemaking, and in it I find true joy.
God bless your wife for her desire to serve her family. “An excellent wife who can find?” Tim Challies, apparently. -)
—Leah R, Philadelphia PA
Tim: Indeed. Yet it struck me as interesting that 100% of the letters to the editor on this topic were supportive. It is encouraging to me how many women (with their husbands) have made the same decision for the same reasons.
Comments on A Simple But Life-Changing Realization
I understand what you are trying to say in this article, but would caution that it comes close to sounding like you are advocating the “abundant-life” or “second blessing”-type teachings of Keswick or Wesleyan theology. I’ve been reading your material long enough to know that you don’t subscribe to that aberrant school of thought, but wanted to share this observation with you. I completely agree with the points you’ve made in this article, and praise God for how He has used your ministry to help me to continue growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
—Tom W, Spring Lake, NJ
As a young minister struggling to maintain purity, this was a great encouragement. Thank you for helping me remember that God is not just giving a command, but an opportunity to experience life with Him. Truth be told, I was in the midst of battling temptation when I came to it, and God gave exactly what I needed. Thanks again for this truth.
—Greg H, Tallahassee, FL
Let me first say how much my wife and I enjoy reading your blog on a regular basis. You have been a great help. This letter is not an argument but rather a request for clarification. In your article, “A Simple But Life-Changing Realization”, you write, “God would not tell me to do something I could not actually do.” Would you say that applies universally, even to a command like in Matthew 5:48 where Jesus tells us to “be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect”? Any insight you can provide on the matter would be much appreciated.
—Nick A, Atlanta, GA
Tim, I wanted to thank you for your article “A Simple But Life-Changing Realization.” As a young man who has chosen sexual sin over and over again, this article was used to breathe life into my dry and restless soul; the realization that God’s commands are promises and that he provides the means to obey and fulfill those things is truly breathtaking. You say, “You actually can obey him all the way. You actually can be free from the sin, and not just in its broadest, most blatant forms.” I desperately want that and now I understand that it is possible. Thank you, Tim.
—Austin B, Kansas City, MO
I agree with you because I’ve seen it lived out in my father’s life as well as others. But he would be the first to say (in fact he did say this last evening at our home fellowship) that the sign of a mature Christian is how fast he can run to the cross. Note that he didn’t say he is getting better (he’s now 85 years old) but that by confessing sin quickly, applying the precious blood of Jesus, he is set free from the bondage of that sin. To deal with sin, we have to be willing to bring it out into the light, not hide it or justify it, but call it what it is and allow Jesus to make us clean. He’s been very open over the years about some of his struggles with sin and because he’s willing to share how Jesus has met him, forgiven him and continues to help him, others are encouraged in their lives as well. Holiness is possible because Jesus’ death and resurrection has made it possible. The blood will NEVER lose its power!
—Mary O, Snoqualmie, WA
Tim: Not surprisingly, there was a lot of response to this one. I would like to return to the concerns about “higher life” and perfectionism that people asked about. I was grateful that, while people raised the concern, they also gave the benefit of the doubt: “We know that you don’t actually believe this, so please clarify.” For now, maybe I will just say this: Properly understood, grace always sounds far too good to be true!