Fall, Pigskin and Passion

Well, Fall is right around the corner. With Fall, comes the advent of football and with football, passions ignite in a way that is quite frankly a little over the top at times. I want to freely admit, I am a football fan (although watching my daughter playing softball in the Fall trumps football any day for me). I like all kinds of football and I am a huge fan of the University of Alabama. I love watching high school, college and NFL football – it’s football for crying out loud!

I do wonder though if sometimes, we do not let the passion over our beloved teams override what seems like good sense. Now don’t get me wrong, I love good-natured fun when it comes to messing with fans of other teams. I even laugh at the things that are aimed at my own team, however, I think this is where the passion can become, quite frankly, stupid. People just need to get a sense of humor and learn to laugh a little, but the fact of the matter is I’ve heard of families splitting, people leaving a church, friendships broken and people even stating that they hate another fan of another team simply because they like an opposing team. Imagine for a moment, what would happen if we were ignited with the same passion that we have for the pigskin. How would your world be different? How would your family be different? How would your marriage be different? How would your church and it’s passion for the gospel be different if we had as much passion for those that need to hear of the love for Christ has for them as we do our team of choice?

As I close, please ponder those last questions. Ask yourself if you have a misplaced level of passion. Please understand, I am not advocating that people should just give up watching and following their favorite team. I will watch football in between travel softball tournaments myself! I will continue to say Roll Tide! I want them to win another National Championship! But if they don’t, you know what? The world will not end, life will go on, etc. I leave you with a quote from  Rick Burgess (The Rick and Bubba Show): “Football is a great sport, but it makes a terrible god”.

Rejoice,

Keith

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Fall, Pigskin and Passion

Well, Fall is right around the corner.   With Fall, comes the advent of football and with football, passions ignite in a way that is quite frankly a little over the top at times.  I want to freely admit, I am a football fan (although watching my daughter playing softball in the Fall trumps football any day for me).  I like all kinds of football and I am a huge fan of the University of Alabama.   I love watching  high school, college and NFL football – it’s football for crying out loud!

I do wonder though if sometimes, we do not let the passion over our beloved teams override what seems like good sense.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love good-natured fun when it comes to messing with fans of other teams.  I even laugh at the things that are aimed at my own team, however, I think this is where the passion can become, quite frankly, stupid.  People just need to get a sense of humor and learn to laugh a little, but the fact of the matter is I’ve heard of families splitting, people leaving a church, friendships broken and people even stating that they hate another fan of another team simply because they like an opposing team.    Imagine  for a moment, what would happen if we were ignited with the same passion that we have for the pigskin.  How would your world be different?  How would your family be different?  How would your marriage be different?  How would your church and it’s passion for the gospel be different if we had as much passion for those that need to hear of the love for Christ has for them as we do our team of choice?

As I close, please ponder those last questions.  Ask yourself if you have a misplaced level of passion.   Please understand, I am not advocating that people should just give up watching and following their favorite team.  I will watch football in between travel softball tournaments myself!  I will continue to say Roll Tide!  I want them to win another National Championship!  But if they don’t, you know what?   The world will not end, life will go on, etc.  Remember to quote Rick Burgess (The Rick and Bubba Show):  “Football is a great sport, but it makes a terrible god”.

Rejoice,

Keith

Religion, Legalism, Bad Parenting and Anna Duggar

Some may wonder where I am going with this blog post because I mentioned Anna Duggar instead of Josh Duggar in the title, but the fact of the matter is that Anna and her children are the ones getting lost in the shuffle with all the upheaval concerning Josh.  I have read differing post concerning this situation that have varied from he is scum to those that make excuses for his behavior concerning the molestation of his sisters and now his unfaithfulness to his wife.  As a dad with two daughters, my heart breaks for Anna Duggar because she is caught in a trap with her four kids that has been created by her parents and fostered by a religious view of Christianity that is legalism run amuck and a religious system that treats women as if they have two purposes in life:  Have children and obey the husband no matter what the circumstance.  Well, here is my take as a dad first and as a pastor.

As we continually hear in the news about Josh Duggar and his sad, but yet dark exploits, I believe his wife Anna is the one getting lost in the fray of the circus that has become the Duggar clan.   In the heartbreaking case of Anna Duggar, there are a lot of contributing factors.  I think the demeaning of women under the disguise of christianity, deciding that turning wives into baby factories because it is somehow the biblically proper way top structure the family, legalism because of the bondage that this brand of “christianity” supports and the complete failure of Anna Duggar’s parents to prepare their daughter for a real world that does exist outside their small-minded view of the way things really are outside their religious compounds are all things that contribute to the sad case of Anna Duggar.  As a dad, because frankly I was called to be a husband and a dad before I was called to be a pastor, Anna was not treated as a precious gift from God by her father.  A religious system that teaches and insists that it’s young women remain largely uneducated and not allowed to make decisions without approval from there husband is really no better than the religious system our country is at war with in the sands of the Middle East.  As a dad, my goals for my daughters are to be exactly what God designed them to be and for them to strive to reach whatever goal they set for themselves.  I want my daughters to be able to excel apart from and without taking a backseat to any man.  The bible declares in the book of Genesis that the wife was designed to be a helpmate not a slave or indentured servant to the husband.  It means that she is a partner, an equal partner in this business called marriage.  The sad thing about the whole situation with Josh Duggar is not the fact that he is a sex offender and an adulterer (those things have been well established), but is Anna Duggar who is trapped because her parents decided that since she was a young lady, education was not a premium along with job training was not necessary and all this I’m sure is their mindset because of some erroneous  interpretation of scripture.  I could not watch “19 Kids and Counting” because what I saw under the disguise of authentic christianity was a father/husband who really did not care much for his wife or her health because having 19 children is not the best thing for the human body.  I also saw a dad that through a misguided interpretation of scripture basically cut off his family from the real world.  Anna Duggar is a product of this mindset and it is sad that now, even with the family defending Josh’s molestation, she see’s no way out of this situation.  First, let us look at it from a scriptural standpoint.  If we examine the scriptures closely, we see that the word of God teaches that in the eyes of God male and female are created equal.  We also see that Christ placed a premium on being faithful in marriage.  While I think divorce is a disease that is eating away at the very foundation of our families and in turn our nation, as a pastor I am not blind that scripture does permit divorce in cases of adultery and desertion of the other spouse.  In addition if we use common sense and no the sense of a Pharisee, I believe Jesus would never instruct a woman to stay with a husband that had molested children in addition to cheating on his wife via the internet.

In closing, dad’s let me encourage you in a couple of areas where your daughters are concerned:

  1.  Model a loving partnership with their mother
  2. Give them a role model to pursue in a husband
  3. Encourage and push your daughters to be well educated and pursue academic excellence
  4. Instill in your daughter that while there are definite differences in the sexes, but this does not and should not hinder them in pursuing their life goals.
  5. Make sure you DO NOT place any higher restrictions on your daughter or wife than scripture does.  The grace of the New Testament is a freeing grace for men and women.
  6. Make sure your daughters have the life skills to survive in a world with or without a man.
  7. Finally outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ make sure your daughter knows her worth is not measured in the world’s standard of beauty or what some modern day, religious pharisee says she must or must not do, but rather is measured in the light that she is a child of the Most High God!

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” – Psalm 139:14

Rejoice,

Keith

This poor girl, Anna Duggar, was left uneducated and left to the mercy of a religious system that says she MUST be subservient

25 Years of Marriage: A Few Observations From a Quarter Century of Marriage

As I write this, my bride and I are on our way to New Orleans and ultimately on a cruise to celebrate 25 years of marriage.  We have had a blast together our first 25 years and look forward to begin our journey toward 50 years beginning the 17th.  As I share with people that we are coming up on 25 years of marriage the thing that saddens me is that so many people act shocked that a marriage can last that long.  The latest statistics tell us that 52% of marriages end in divorce today.   As we examine the many reasons that our families and kids are in crisis mode today, it is real simple – it is the rate of failure of marriages.  I understand there are instances where divorce may be justified.  The scriptures even give a couple of examples such as adultery on the part of one of the spouses or abandonment by one of the spouses.  Of course, I would never expect a woman to stay in an abusive relationship even though I know there those out there under the cloak of the church that will tell these women they are biblically wrong (I will deal with legalism within the church on another occasion).

If you will allow me, I want to share some personal observations about how to have a happy 25th anniversary by sharing some of the things that I believe are a must in having a successful marriage.

  1.  Make God a priority in your life…Worship as a family.  I am a huge believer in husband and wives attending church together.
  2. Make your relationship with each other the priority within the family unit….yes even above your relationship with your kids.  Rest  assured if you love your spouse properly, your kids will feel loved.
  3. Make a point of spending time together, without kids.  DATE your wife guys!!  Keep it simple!.  One of mine and Kim’s favorite things to do together is to simply go somewhere like Waffle House to eat and just talk.
  4. Understand that there will be bumps in the road on the marriage journey.  Navigate those bumps together.    Tips for navigating those bumps:  1) Listen to each other  2) Learn to say I’m sorry, even if you don’t want to say it 3) Pray about it. 4)  Once the issue is over leave it in the past.
  5. Be prepared to deal with some turmoil.  When you take vows of marriage, we do say “in sickness and in health”; for richer or poorer;…..”  All these areas can be some of the most challenging in a marriage.  When sickness invades the life of a spouse, the other needs to be their biggest cheerleader, sounding board or shoulder to cry on.  Remember our illnesses, I believe are a result of us living in a fallen creation and Satan will use them to bring discouragement (See the book of Job) to our marriages.  DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO HAVE VICTORY!!
  6. Laugh, have fun and just in general have a sense of humor about each other and just life in general.

7.   Live everyday with a goal of fostering an atmosphere of joy and happiness in your home and within your relationship.

Finally, as a I close I want to say to my Bride, Kim, that I love you more now than I did the evening we exchanged our vows on August 17, 1990 at First Baptist, Athens, AL.  You are my hero and I am truly blessed to have you as my wife, my best friend, my partner in parenting two beautiful daughters.  Our 25 year journey has been a rich blessing and I can’t wait to celebrate our 50th year together!

Rejoice,

Keith