A number of Episcopalians have been unhappy with the denomination's recent liberal changes, things like a shift toward pro-choice views and acceptance of gay marriage, even ordaining openly homosexual bishops. In response, the Catholic Church is opening up a nationwide diocese to ex-Episcopalians who would like to join Catholicism as a group; a priest and congregation, so church leaders and members who are already comfortable with one another will have a chance to stick together. They will be expected to abide by the Catholic Church's governance, support their conservative views and acknowledge the pope. But since priests in the Episcopal Church have never had to practice celibacy, and many are already married with children, the Catholic Church is granting an exemption to their long-practiced celibacy code... but is it fair? And should it even be allowed in the faith?
Your heart and your instincts are often at war, and there's always a blurred line between them. The old adage says to "follow your heart, but trust your instincts." I've always found that statement difficult to make sense of. If your instincts say leave and your heart says stay, then which do you listen to?
I started to fear deep-down that my serious lack of dating finesse meant I was destined to be alone. And that devastated me, because I really want to get married some day. I want a husband, kids, the big family I never had. And for a time, I began to force it. I went out actively looking for love, going on dates with guys I knew it would never work out with, and then getting upset when it didn't. Lately, I've taken a step back. After careful thought and a little divine inspiration, I finally came to a conclusion: That I'm just not cut out for dating as we've come to know it today. And I think I've been building up to this revelation for a while now.
My husband just had his first book published – Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night: What to Do When God Won’t Answer. He’s done lots of writing through the years and has contributed to numerous books. However, this is his first full-fledged-photo-on-the-cover book. I’m very proud of him!
I'd venture a guess that most women like chivalry. We want a man who shows commitment. We like solid, traditional values; a guy we could bring home to mom and dad with the sure-fire belief that they would just adore him. All these things give us a sense of stability, knowing we'd be taken care of and have a shoulder to lean on whenever we're forced to soldier through hard times. These days, being old-fashioned is actually refreshing. Tim embodies these ideas, thus there's a large group of women who are attracted to him.
In the first chapter of The Bible, it says that God created the entire world and then formed one man named Adam. Shortly after that, he gave this famous declaration in Genesis 2:18: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Thus, God created a woman named Eve, and thus Christians throughout the centuries have viewed this story as a beacon of hope that God might one day make a person for them to love and build a life with. Of course, the primary difference between Adam and all of us today is that Adam didn’t have any other women to choose from. He didn’t have to sift through millions of profiles on match.com, or question whether or not the girl he had been dating for the past three months was technically "the one." On the contrary, the woman he was meant to marry was pretty darn obvious. Fast forward thousands of years later to a time when 7 billion people inhabit the planet, and things suddenly get a lot more complicated.
If you've heard the term Natural Family Planning (NFP), it's probably almost a certainty actually, that you were given some bad information about it. As someone who has practiced NFP with my wife for around six years, I know I've heard more than my fair share of misguidance from family, the media and even priests. Sometimes it's honest confusion or simply a passing along of misinformation, but other times it's a blatant attack on a somewhat mysterious practice that many in our culture chalk up to some form of crazy desire for 20 kids or an exercise in Pope-worshiping. Despite what critics say, Natural Family Planning can be good for your marriage.
I recently read Jenna Birch's article A Christian's Take: God Doesn't Approve Of Gay Marriage and found it entertainingly disturbing. I would like to thank the author for a well-written opinion piece that is more "personal opinion" than "gay-bashing," and using the Bible as a reference and not as a shield.
To be honest, in the beginning, I wasn't sure about writing this piece. I usually don't mind giving my opinions on a range of topics, especially involving Christianity. However, this issue is far more complicated than anything I've ever been able to verbalize. But I decided to do it, to write about homosexuality just after New York's historic vote to legalize gay marriage, because I think the Christian view on the subject is widely misunderstood.
Religion might offer scores of personal benefits, but it looks like a great sex life isn't one of them. According to psychologist Darrel Ray from the University of Kansas, religious people suffer intense guilt during and after intercourse. Those devoted to their religion experienced regret after climaxing. Atheists and agnostics, on the other hand, boasted satisfying sex lives.
Jennifer Wright Knust, Baptist pastor and professor of Religion at Boston University, makes a number of shocking and unorthodox claims in her new book. She writes: “Looking to the Bible for straightforward answers about anything, including sex, can only be a disappointment. When read as a whole, the Bible provides neither clear nor consistent advice about sex . . . If one biblical writer condemns those who engage in sex before marriage, others present premarital sex as central to God’s plan. Just about every biblical commandment is broken, and not only by biblical villains . . . It is therefore a mistake to pretend that the Bible can define our ethics for us in any kind of straightforward way.” Ouch. As someone who strongly believes that the Bible is God’s word to his people, Knust’s assertions really stung.
To pray together, or not to pray together: that is the question. For married couples of faith, the decision is a bit more obvious. They have clever adages in support of the idea, such as “The couple that prays together stays together,” as well as a whole host of surveys, books, and websites singing the praises of how prayer can strengthen a relationship. It’s enough to even make an Atheist consider it. But what about couples who aren’t married, yet are in serious dating relationships? Should they pray with their significant others, or is couple’s prayer an intimate activity that is better suited for marriage?
I’m guessing that The Girl Who Let Me had been looking at the mountains, waiting for a boy, any boy, to come along. I wish I could remember her name. I said hello, and she said hello, and I said I lived up the road—not mentioning that I was one of the weird missionaries, though later she told me she knew who I was because her uncle disapproved of us Schaeffers and said so. Anyway, that first day she didn’t ask awkward questions. I asked her where she was from, and she answered Paris, and then, with a sudden flash of inspiration, I asked her if she’d like to go for a walk because the crocuses were still blooming only a fifteen-minute hike up the steep path. She said yes!
"Prayer changes things." We've all heard this, and many of us probably believe it, at least in theory. But can it really work in the day-to-day dealings of your marriage? Can prayer really strengthen your marriage? Can it even rescue a marriage that's crumbling?
We kissed for the first time after a techno party. I had covered my face in an invisible paint that glowed under a black light, and after all the guests left, the paint slowly covered her lips and face. I thought kissing was like licking an ice-cream cone, which is probably why she kept laughing as she taught me what to do, and a lot of what not to do, with my awkward tongue and teeth and lips. At sunrise I walked Jess home, grateful and covered in glow paint, surprised by how different she looked outside the thrill of the ultraviolet light.
As a 16-year-old, seduced by checkered Vans and studded belts, I found my match in this scene. Tim was older, 21, and a True Love Waits virgin. True Love Waits is a contract that you have with, like, "God" and the community or something. It is a vow that you will not have sex until you're married. The church-going kids would bring the contracts to school and teachers would pass them out during class, encouraging us to sign. Afterward, the names of kids who signed would run in the town's newspaper. Which also printed the names of everyone who'd been arrested that day and for what.
I'm a guy who really enjoyed his (soon to be) wife. But I felt like I was supposed to stop having sex with this woman. My prayers went something like this: "Really God? That's what you want me to do? But we're getting married in just a couple months. What's the big deal about it? Isn't getting married enough? Why do we need to stop having sex?" I never got up the courage to pray about moving out. I was afraid of what the answer might be.