• What A Christian Woman Knows About Beauty

    120px-Shadow_me There’s been a lot of talk about beauty around here lately. One friend has even labeled the ongoing conversation TBD—The Beauty Discussion. We’ve dragged Augustine, Reformers, Puritans, philosophers, and the Mahaneys into the discussion to help us and our daughters think about women and beauty as Christians. Here are five points:

    Physical beauty is as real as spiritual beauty. Our culture tells women that physical beauty is all that matters. Some Christians react to this by saying that spiritual beauty is the only real beauty. But that’s not true; God created real, physical beauty, and in this world we see lots of it, including in other people. Something purely physical can be beautiful (a flower, sunset, and Taylor Swift’s hair), and we can be thankful for it. There is a tension between physical and spiritual beauty as we strive to maintain body and cultivate soul, but one is not less real than the other, though one is less valuable than the other. Continue reading

  • Understanding Faith

    Weltchronik_Fulda_Aa88_317r_detailHave you ever thought about what saving faith is or what it does? God’s Word tells us that faith is a gift of grace: our faith has been obtained “by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1) It is something given to us—without our having done anything to merit it. The theologian Thomas Boston describes our receiving faith this way: “We are born spiritually blind, and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace… There is, in the unrenewed will, an utter inability for what is truly good and acceptable in God’s sight.” Even elect souls attempt to resist “when the Spirit of the Lord is at work, to bring them from the power of Satan unto God.” God’s Word plainly declares our inability to create or conjure up spiritual life, including faith, from within. Continue reading

  • My Mother Doesn’t Live In Town

    Segantini_Le_due_Madri Like millions of other women, I don’t live in the same town as my mother. Some women have bad relationships with their mothers, and so living in another town is a relief. But for most, living in the same town as your mother means you have local encouragement and help from someone who has known you for life and loves you anyway.

    Part of me wants to address the issue by saying to myself, “Boo-hoo, stop it with the princess-martyr complex: ‘My mother’s not in town so I can’t go shopping by myself, nap, or get my nails done every Friday’.” Continue reading

  • Mayberry and Othniel

    3-tissot-othniel2 America is not the country that it was fifty or sixty years ago. Instead of Andy Griffith patrolling Mayberry, we have Hobby Lobby in the Supreme Court. This happened within a generation, from fathers to sons. At the same time there appears to be a steady continuity, if not resurgence of conservative evangelicalism in America. We are witnessing not only a tectonic cultural shift, but also a profound divergence within American society. What is happening?

    The book of Judges gives us some very relevant insight, proof that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Continue reading

  • Mommy Guilt and The Cross

    wall Is there a mother out there that doesn’t feel guilty about her mothering? Maybe most of it, maybe some of it—all of us are committing or omitting things that make us feel guilty. When you know that a dependent person whom you love is counting on you for pretty much everything (from food to medical care to memorable holidays), it brings the weight of responsibility and the burden of imperfect performance.

    But I’m not sure that sin is the cause of most mommy guilt. Continue reading

  • True Courage

    moses-michelangelo“Meekness is commonly despised by the great men of the age as cowardice and meanness, and the evidence of a little soul, and is posted accordingly. But the most furious and angry revenge is celebrated and applauded under the pompous names of valour, honour, and greatness of spirit.

    This arises from a mistaken notion of courage… True courage is such a presence of mind as enables a man rather to suffer than to sin, to choose affliction rather than iniquity, to pass by an affront though he lose by it, and be hissed as a fool and coward, rather than engage in a sinful quarrel. He that can deny the brutal lust of anger and revenge, rather than violate the royal law of love and charity (however contrary the sentiments of the world may be), is truly resolute and courageous… Continue reading

  • What Are We Teaching Our Daughters?

    200px-Knitted_pinksquareMaybe I’m not reading broadly enough, but there seems to be a heavy emphasis in the reformed community on passing domestic skills on to our daughters. Many authors and bloggers stress that, along with the quiet and gentle spirit, we need to be enabling our daughters to be fabulous homemakers. Now, that’s great. This generation of young men just might have wives who are Martha Stewarts from day one. That’s a blessing for those husbands.

    But for mothers, the pressure to teach our daughters how to budget like Dave Ramsey, clean like a Dutch housewife, and cook like Julia Child seems to be mounting as the church recovers a high view of homemaking and motherhood. Homemaking internships with older women, books on money, and classes on crocheting are strongly encouraged; mothers whose daughters are “behind” in these areas carry an extra burden of mommy guilt. Perhaps this is especially true amongst home schoolers. Continue reading

  • Understanding Law and Gospel

    Over at Reformation21, Carl Trueman assesses a recent blog post by Tullian Tchividjian, calling for “a much needed face-to-face debate” after Tchividjian’s claim that Reformed and evangelical preachers are confusing law and gospel; Michael Kruger provides a helpful response to Tchividjian at his blog, leading to a Kruger-Tchividjian exchange in the comments section. Reading through the posts it seems plain to me that Tchividjian lacks clarity on the relationship of law and gospel–and that his counter-bloggers (Trueman, Kruger, et al) capably and clearly explain the scriptural relationship of the law and the gospel. Others have as well, including:
    Continue reading