Thursday, April 28, 2005

Best Sex in Marriage book: The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love by Tim LaHaye

The revolution started in 1968. Prior to that Kinsey and others had attempted to bring an understanding of sex into books designed for us little people to read. Playboy had been out for 13 years talking about sex perversion, and to be fair had produced some serious articles on sex in marriage. But Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Sex was the breakthrough book. It was a huge best seller, and brought normal sexual activity to the grass roots.

Enter Tim LaHaye, author, preacher, and Christ follower. He is best known now for the Left Behind Series, but his book, The Act of Marriage, has sold over 2.5 million copies. The reason is simple. The information is dead on correct. If the sex in your marriage is not what you want it to be. If you are struggling with any kind of disfunction. If your spouse is unresponsive. If you are getting married soon, or have just recently been married, and you have questions about how things work or how to relate, this is the resource you need.

There are other good books on marital sex, both secular and Christian. As a fan of Dr. Ed Wheat and his wonderful marriage book, Love Life for Every Married Couple, I could easily recommend his fine book, Intended for Pleasure. The Wheat book is fine, The Act of Marriage is outstanding.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Multi-tasking - Why Men Can't

It is truly fascinating to watch my wife multi-task. Like most of her gender, she can talk on the phone, wash the dishes, keep an eye on dinner, and know that one of the kids is about to put crayon to wall.

As a student of the human condition, I have watched this phenomenon for years and wondered why we men are not blessed (I guess) with this ability. Brian, my teenage son, and I have discovered the answer. In almost all cases one of the tasks included in this group of tasks is "talking on the phone."

For a woman, this takes no effort or thought at all. She uses the phone for two main purposes: 1. To tell her friends the big story of the day or week. This has been repeated so many times that it is effortless to tell it again; 2. To listen to her friends tell their story of the week. The correct response to these stories are things like "I know," "Been there!," "Oh, I'm so sorry," or "That's great." So clearly, this doesn't distract at all from the other things going on in her world.

Men, on the other hand, can't use the phone as one of the tasks. To them, any call that lasts more than 2.5 minutes is way, way too long. Then, if they are listening to someone's story of the week, they are either trying desperately to one up the other person's success, or they are working like crazy to find a solution for their problem. So, in either case, they are totally distracted by the effort and the desire to be doing something else.

I suppose if Brian and I could devise a study, we might be able to get this theory published in the Journal of Social Psychology.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

LA Times on Porn - Interesting if Misleading

April 23, 2005

Just the Facts of Life Now
*Pornography is so common in the Digital Age that teens see it as 'part of the culture.' But if it's corrupting them, the data don't show it.

The article goes on to say that there is no data. The subhead suggests that there might be data, but that the data shows that kids are not corrupted by it, or that at least the data is neutral. Very misleading

Beyond that, the article is interesting. It shows clearly that our kids are very involved in the culture of porn, and common sense will tell you, even if the data supposedly doesn't, that having preteens and teens look at kids and adults doing every kind of sexual activity imaginable (and some that isn't), can't be a good thing. From my research, and other articles previously in this blog, the effects of porn are extremely damaging to men who view it, and to women who are around those men. Check out the earlier posts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Calling All Those Who Love to Read and/or Write

Reading today in "A Way of Escape" by Jerry and Kirsty Newcombe, I realized that I was cheating my readers and myself. I have three major projects that I would very much like to complete, and until I found out through this book that I am prideful and thus unwilling to share the fun and the glory, these projects might have taken years, not to mention that by spending so much time on them, other opportunities would be missed.

So as my first step out of the sin of pridefulness, I am inviting the entire Christian universe to help me. For that I will need anyone who is a big time reader and/or is able to write decent prose.

Project 1: A website that will consist of the top Christian books of the last 105 years. Your opportunity is to submit a review of any length designed to both encourage others to read your top pick, and to promote your pick to top ranking (there will be voting, probably.) And you may send more than one, if you have several that you really appreciate. You will be credited and your URL will be noted and linked. There is at least a possibility that the best might eventually be published in book form. If this happens you will be further credited and your URL noted. Please also send a brief bio with your review.

Project 2: This is similar, but different enough. I have already begun to post reviews of the top book of a particular genre on this site. I am opening the door to your providing me with reviews of the books you feel are the best in any category you wish to dream up. So far catagories have been parenting, marriage, sex in marriage, etc. But I could imagine a catagory as narrow as parenting strong willed teens. Same details as above, although I have no vision of this as a book.

Project 3: Biographies of 20th Century or Modern Christian heroes. Do the research, write a short or long bio (not book length.) Get an interview with them, or if they are with Jesus, see if a spouse, close friend or relative, or co-laborer might do an interview. Complete freedom to do it any way you wish. Again you will get full attribution for any submission. I definately plan this to be hardback at some point. I am not a great editor, but I will offer suggestions for improvements. When any of these projects get to the publishing phase, other editors will be involved, and we will want you to be helpful at that point, if you wish to be part of the book.

So get writing. Pictures will add great flavor, so send those that apply. Send to, or any other email you might already be using to reach me.

Writers part 2 - Instructions

The feedback thus far on the top Christian books of the last 105 years, top Christian books by genre, and biographies of modern Christian heroes has been great so far. One friend pointed out, however, that I might not have given quite enough information about exactly how to proceed.

Please e-mail your piece to me when completed. It can be a typical 2 to 4 paragraph blog post or it can be 2000 words if you like, but send it to or I am not asking for any exclusive right to use. Post it on your own site if you wish, and syndicate it. Just send it to me for the compilation. There is a good chance that I will also compile these into books. If you don’t want your product to be used for that purpose, please let me know up front. It won’t influence whether I use it in the blogs, but I’d rather know that I need someone else to cover the turf in addition to you. These lists would not be complete without certain names (C.S. Lewis) or books (Richard Foster’s "Celebration of Discipline")

I would like to get this done in the next 30 days. With 100 good writers we can do it even faster than that. The biographies might take a little longer due to research time, but even there we are not looking for book length biographies. Most of you should be able to dash off a revue of your favorite book or two or three in short order.

I hope this covers the needed details, but I’ll be happy to hear from anyone who feels I’ve left stuff out.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Babylon Rising by Tim LaHaye and Greg Dinallo

No offense meant to Jerry Jenkins, but as much as I liked the Left Behind series which he co-authored with Tim LaHaye, it might have been even better with co-author Greg Dinallo. If you like edge of the seat action dramas with a Christian theme, you won't do much better than Babylon Rising.

From the opening page of this thriller, you instantly befriend Michael Murphy, the anthropology prof cum adventurer. All of the major characters in Babylon Rising are three dimensional and memorable. There is even a love interest in this one.

From time-to-time you might be reminded of Indiana Jones as you travel into ancient digs throughout the Middle East, but unlike Indy, Michael Murphy is dealing with prophesy and Biblical themes, and all of the characters are dealing with various levels of belief or unbelief.

Tim LaHaye, mastermind of the Left Behind Series, seems to have a limitless ability to move the Word of God forward. Not everyone knows that his writings go far beyond Left Behind, including what I consider to be the best book available on marital intimacy (read "sex.") See my post on The Act of Marriage. He has written or co-authored at least 22 other books. He is also the founder of what is now the Family Life Today Marriage Conferences, two Christian grade schools, a high school, and a college.

Babylon Rising is 9 on a scale of 10. Available in paperback from Dell.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Christian Discipline

The Life of Discipline Is One Filled With Joy and Productivity

Paul wanted to know why he was continuously doing the things he shouldn’t while failing to do the things he knew he should. This wasn’t any ordinary Paul, but the man who wrote most of the New Testament. Like David and Isaac and Moses and all the other heroes of the Old and New Testament, he was a flawed human being, but he had a heart for God.

As I move relentlessly through this brief but complicated life as a saint who continues to sin, I imagine that I’m not so different from you, dear reader. We don’t want to continue to sin, and we do want to obey Jesus, but we fall so far short of the mark. What I have learned during my sojourn up to this day is that I am the most obedient, the most Holy, the least tempted, the least persuaded, when I am the most immersed.

Paul also compared us to athletes a couple of times. If I really wanted to be a major athlete, a star in some sport, it is pretty clear that the first thing I would need to do would be to work tirelessly and single-mindedly towards that goal. There would be no time to pursue separate efforts in music or history or art. I might have to limit my effort to some degree by demands that I couldn’t avoid like school, raising children, taking care of a spouse, or working to support my self while in training. But to every extent possible, I would spend every other available moment on that sport.

My plan would be simple. Exercise and practice. Develop the skills, knowledge, and muscle memory needed to excel. Work on mental skills like concentration, relaxation, and quick thinking. Participate in competitions to improve handling pressure and understanding the opposition.

Up to here it would seem that we could pretty much substitute success as a Christ follower for success as an athlete. Try it. Go back and reread the whole thing with that change in mind.

Update March 23, 2013

I am updating this blog post almost exactly 8 years after first writing it.  During the course of those 8 years my life was turned upside down.  I lost my business, my wife left me, and as my comedian daughter said, "Dad, you are like a country western song.  Even your old dog died."

My discipline of rising each day and reading God's word, praying to Him, worshiping Him, and Listening to Him, was lost.  I began to take some matters into my own hands that seemed expeditious at the time, but that were clearly sin.  My life continued to spiral out of control. 

Where I had generally listened to Christian radio when driving around town, I switched to secular talk shows.  Where I had read the great authors of the Christian world, i now watched TV cop shows or political talking heads.  The discipline went away, and with it the Holiness.  Like an athlete who stopped lifting, running, and listening to his coaches, my Christian walk and witness was nothing like it had been. 

I can hear my own voice in talking to Christian friends or family members:  "I know I would be happier, more joyous, more productive, and a better man if I were back to being immersed, but I am frustrated with God for my losses, and I can't get over it."

Thankfully in the past couple of months, God has reached out to me in so many ways.  I have regained the discipline, immersed myself, turned off the TV, switched the channel on the radio, and picked up great Christian writers.  And predictably my life has become more joyous.

Back to the Original Post (with some updates)

That would require quite an effort. You might even say you would have to sacrifice much of your other life to do this. But that kind of discipline would certainly make us more likely to be Christlike, don’t you think.

Here’s the other interesting new thing that has come to mind recently. The athlete certainly wouldn’t do things that were counterproductive to his plan. He wouldn’t work the wrong muscles, he wouldn’t shortcut his sleep, he wouldn’t eat wrong foods, and he wouldn’t drink alcohol.

But pretty much every Christian I know, including this writer, are watching TV programs and movies, listening to music and radio programs, reading magazines and books that are working the wrong muscles, feeding our soul and spirit the wrong food, and acting like intoxicants in our hearts.

I’m not bragging, but I spent about 5 years pretty much 100% immersed in God’s word and the things of God, while avoiding the things of this world. It was a very good 5 years. Now you’ll know I wasn’t bragging, because I stopped this disciplined life and substituted bad food and drink for the body and blood of Jesus. And it showed.

I haven’t given up these habits cold turkey this time, but I am working towards it. Pray for me.

See my update.  It isn't pretty.  3/7/2010.   As noted above, it took another three years to work things out with God and return to a life centered on Him.  Having waffled so badly over this total of almost 15 years between immersion and good discipline to no discipline and only a tangential hold on Christian teaching, I can't begin to explain the difference in my quality of life.  But maybe at some point I will try.  

What I do know is this.  God was able to use me when I was available and listening.  Now I believe God is ready to use me again.  I would recommend that you bookmark this blog, subscribe to it, or add it to your RSS feed.  Check out the content added after March 23, 2013.  

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Check Out This Blog

One of the fun parts about the blogosphere is meeting new folks. One of the best I've met so far is Stacy at Mind & Media. She has created a site devoted to reviewing the latest in Christian books and other media. I will be doing a few reviews for her. As a result I will be a "professional reviewer," since I will be paid (in free books.) Anyway, pay her a visit at Mind & Media.

You might note that I've listed a few other new favorites to the right.

The Pope - Part II

Check out Albert Mohler's post about Pope John Paul. Here you will find a fine, brief description of the differences between Protestants and Catholics done in a way that is useful. I believe that this Pope moved us forward towards unity. I have prayed for a unified Christian Church my entire life. Not, mind you, one that is devoid of doctrinal skirmishes, but one in which all branches agree on the essentials. Maybe the next Pope can build on the efforts of John Paul.

A Life God Rewards by Bruce Wilkinson

When I was a young businessman, just starting out, I was driven to succeed. I wanted the big house with the pillars in front and the bowling alley in the basement. I wanted to Jaguar, the trips to foreign lands, and the home entertainment center worth $10,000 or more. The way to get there was to work hard and smart. I read the books that told you how to get there, and I did all the things they said to do. The good news - I gained a measure of that kind of success.

Then I found myself back in church after a 15 year interruption. Those things I had not yet notched on my gun didn’t seem as important. Preachers kept asking the question: On your death bed, what will seem important in retrospect. The awards, titles, and bank account, or the relationships, good deeds, and righteous behavior.

So how does motivation (a built in part of our human condition) work when we are concentrating on the Christian life. Randy Alcorn suggests that there is no change in human nature, just in the goals. The Bible shows us over and over again how we are going to benefit if we seek the very real and concrete treasures that await us in heaven. God shows us that based on our actions on earth we will either gain or ffer loss” in heaven.

Of course, God’s use of our motivational nature to get us working hard for heavenly rewards also includes earthly benefit. When we seek the right ends on earth, the blessings flow. They may be financial or they may take on lots of other forms, but they flow nevertheless, and that is our promise.

Check out the Life God Rewards for a really good read.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

God is the Same Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow - Are You

Hmmm. I seem to be on a parenting binge here. I suppose it was the hour conversation I had with my daughter with the MSW degree. As we talked we came up with another way that God is a model for parents. I really love this idea of the parallels between God the Father and how he parents us, and Human parents and how they should parent their kids. Expect future posts on the subject.

However, for today it was about consistency. There was a study done several years ago that I won’t be able to reference, but the gist was that employees' number one favorite attribute concerning their boss was consistency. They liked to know what to expect.

I have to believe that our kids are like that, too. My folks (perfect of course) practiced this as well as anyone.

We knew what time we had to be home. We knew the consequences of not doing so, and they were always forthcoming.

We knew whose night it was for dishes. There was no fighting about it.

We knew the dinner table rules, including that with rare exceptions, we had to eat whatever was put in front of us.

We knew what age we would get a bike, be able to drive, be able to own a car, be allowed to double date, be allowed to wear makeup (the girls, not me.) And there wasn’t any waffling or weaseling.

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family tells a story about how he had a rule about being in church every Sunday morning, no matter what. Even on vacation. I don’t remember the exact details, but there was this one occasion when the family was on a ski vacation. The first several days were terrible for skiing. Too much snow, lifts not running. Then, on Sunday morning it was the all time perfect day. He called the family together and said he would leave it up to them whether they skipped church or not.

Later the teenage kids let him know that they were shocked, and wondered that if a person of his character would compromise on such a small issue, what would happen when the going was a lot rougher.

Think about that. Your kids are always watching. How is your consistency?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Life Lesson at the Little League Field

Seems like every few months some parent gets headlines for some really stupid acts at a local childred's sports field. I'm happy to report that this is not so extreme, but opened my eyes.

Our youngest is now nine, and that puts him in the "minors." In his league that means that the kids are pitching, and stealing bases is now o.k. So, in addition to all the other things they are still learning how to do, four new skills are added. Pitching, hitting pitched balls, stealing bases, and making plays on runners trying to steal.

Yesterday was the teams 4th game of the season. They didn't do so well. I won't give the score to protect the innocent. Some of the parents were very frustrated with the mental errors and the ball handling, not to mention the pitching. As the errors added up the frustration level went up and up.

Why do parents get so frustrated at childish behavaior by children? Why, in fact, do adults get so frustrated with other adults' miscues and even their own muffed plays? How often that frustration turns to hurtful words or worse.

As I reflected on this, professional sports games came to mind, and how frequently grown adults who have spent thousands of days practicing and playing still make mental errors, and fail to deliver in the clutch situation. Our frustration with them might be more appropriate given their age and skill, but the sports addicts I know are generally pretty forgiving about the 9th inning bases loaded strike out.

The lesson. Kids are kids. They are going to do childish things. Our frustration is all about what we want, and not about what is good for them. Our frustration turns into anger and inappropriate actions designed to manipulate them into acting how we want them to act. While it might bring short term results, usually the long term in not satisfactory, and is often disasterous.

On the other hand, when we look at any behavior by child or adult, put it into the context of their age and skill level, we can make a judgement as to whether the error was the result of intentional misbehavior, gross negligence, negligence, or merely the learing curve. Once we have that sorted out, we are much more likely to provide the right kind of correction, discipline, or training to encourage better future results.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Passing of the Pope

This Pope was surely a man after God's own heart. Surely the Catholic church has it wrong on many issues, but personally I believe that many, if not most, Catholics are just as saved as many or most Protestants. If this Pope isn't visiting Jesus right now, then pretty much everyone I know is going to miss out too. If you have any doubt, and who are we to judge, just read his books.

No, I won't be joining any Catholic parishes, I'm died in the wool Baptist. But I would consider myself a total fool to suspect that of all the divisions that the church of Jesus Christ has been splintered into, that only the Baptists have it right. Thank you John Paul for the witness you provided to the world of how disciples of Christ should act.