Manhood at the Master’s Feet

The Psalms and Matthew 18-19 tell us that manhood is more than bullets, brawn, and beast-killing. Jesus was the manliest man who ever lived, and he bounced children on His knee:

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away. (Matthew 19:13-15, ESV)

Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,” but American men say, “Leave the children to the women, I’ve got hunting to do,” – as though killing animals, even to feed your family’s bodies, is more important than spending time with them to feed their souls.

Jesus says, “Children are a blessing;” American men say, “Children are a burden,” – as though pouring one’s life into someone else’s is not the best use of our relational time on this earth.

Cultural views of manhood reduce children to annoyances, play-toys, or “choices.” Jesus has a better stance: children get blessings, and they give blessings.

Dads and would-be dads out there, maybe instead of listening to Planned Parenthood, mainstream media, or hip-hop artists, we should sit at the Master’s feet.

How to Produce Wet, Spineless, Feeble-Minded Men

Why are Western churches full of women, spineless men, and fewer and fewer children? Robbie Low, a vicar in the Church of England, investigates this trend in his Touchstone article, “The Truth about Men and Church.” After explaining a Swiss survey linking a father’s influence to his children’s church attendance, Low illumines various connections between fatherhood and the church: the church’s mission, feminism in the culture, the disintegration of the family, and the training of church leaders.

On the last connection, he drops this hammer of a quote on Western church culture:

One does not need to go very far through the procedures by which the Church of England selects its clergy or through its theological training to realize that it offers little place for genuine masculinity. The constant pressure for “flexibility,” “sensitivity,” “inclusivity,” and “collaborative ministry” is telling. There is nothing wrong with these concepts in themselves, but as they are taught and insisted upon, they bear no relation to what a man (the un-neutered man) understands them to mean.

Men are perfectly capable of being all these things without being wet, spineless, feeble-minded, or compromised, which is how these terms translate in the teaching. They will not produce men of faith or fathers of the faith communities. They will certainly not produce icons of Christ and charismatic apostles. They are very successful at producing malleable creatures of the institution, unburdened by authenticity or conviction and incapable of leading and challenging. Men, in short, who would not stand up in a draft.

The feminized church produces feminized men.

Though the characteristics named (“flexibility,” “sensitivity,” “inclusivity,” and “collaborative ministry”) don’t seem at first glance to be emasculating, Low explains what a feminized church really wants from their leaders: malleability, spinelessness, feeble faith.

In case we have forgotten, sensitivity, flexibility, inclusivity, and colloborative ministry aren’t fruits of the Spirit. Neither are they characteristics of Christian leaders. The Bible does tell us, however, of elders who “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Three of the primary jobs of the Christian leader are to hold fast the word, give sound instruction, and rebuke false teaching. Collaborating with false teachers in the name of “flexibility and inclusivity” won’t get that job done.

As Low puts it, then, the historical timeline for producing wet, spineless, feeble-minded pastors goes something like this:

  1. Fathers begin leaving families.
  2. Feminism (a “lie direct” in its name) takes hold in the culture.
  3. The Protestant church at large follows feminism as a controlling worldview.
  4. The church seeks more female leaders and more femininized male leaders.
  5. Unbelieving men leave the Protestant church en masse.
  6. Unbelieving men seek alternate views of manhood, exampled in womanizing, materialism, violence, and/or homosexuality.
  7. The Protestant church ignores these developments and continues in its unbelieving feminist ways, slightly tweaking its language to suit the culture.

Point #4 is where we want to zoom in. How exactly does the Protestant church tend to seek out female leaders and feminized male leaders? In my experience at least, it looks something like this:

  1. Manhood qua manhood is devalued and quickly neutered.
  2. Church language (contrary to the Bible’s language) becomes emasculated or neutered.
  3. Men, the local church, and families are soon evaluated in women’s terms.

If that seems a little far-fetched, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are men in the church more often lauded for flexibility rather than strength?
  • Why is conviction seen as a sign of rigid bone-headedness rather than faithful service?
  • Why are churches more concerned with the soft skills of counseling and customer service rather than the hard skills of rightly dividing the Word and refuting sound doctrine?
  • Why do more and more worship songs sound like sappy high school poetry than the marching hymns of the King of Kings?
  • Why has church discipline, the protection of Christ’s body, been so often traded for quiet conversations and the overlooking of apostasy?
  • Why do our churches feel more like coffee shops than battlefield hospitals?
  • Why do we ask pastors to rightly manage their homes but are repulsed when they actually discipline their children? (Both, after all, are in the same passages.)

When we begin to pick at the surface, we quickly see that with manhood everything is at stake. As Low puts it, rejecting God’s good order of patriarchy rejects all three persons of the Trinity. No wonder our churches are full of convictionless men when we train convictionless leaders in a convictionless gospel.

Marriage for the Waiting

Vaughan Olman of Perserveronews.com writes “True Love Doesn’t Wait,” an interesting exposition of and response to Gracefortheroad’s popular memoir, “I Don’t Wait Anymore.” Olman and Grace harmonize on a singular point well: the “True Love Waits” movement, complete with chastity rings and holiness-for-husbands roads, misguide teens (particularly young women) into thinking that it’s better to wait for the perfect husband than simply marry a Christian man as early as possible.

As early as possible, as in, “Not later. Now. As soon as the “burning” starts and you are of age, get married.”

As Ohlman quotes, Martin Luther makes this point well:

To sum the matter up: whoever finds himself unsuited to the celibate life should see to it right away that he has something to do and to work at; then let him strike out in God’s name and get married. A young man should marry at the age of twenty at the latest, a young woman at fifteen to eighteen; that’s when they are still in good health and best suited for marriage. Let God worry about how they and their children are to be fed. God makes children; he will surely also feed them. Should he fail to exalt you and them here on earth, then take satisfaction in the fact that he has granted you a Christian marriage, and know that he will exalt you there; and be thankful to him for his gifts and favours.

At the end, Ohlman ties it all together:

True love doesn’t wait. It marries.

If we as believers make that our message, things could be drastically different for a lot of girls wondering why the God they think they learned to follow doesn’t compute.

[Grace for the Road] It doesn’t necessarily stop the desire for a husband or end all feelings of loneliness, but it does show a God who provides, loves and gives infinite purpose even to our singleness rather than a God who categorically denies some who pray for husbands while seemingly giving freely to others.

Our culture, our church, our fathers, have placed our young women, especially, in the position of blaming God for a fault of the church. They were taught to wait, to pray. And then, when the husband they were praying for didn’t come, they were taught, and taught each other, to be content… to find contentment in Christ instead of a husband.

That’s good stuff. Or, rather, it would be good if it were true. If getting married was really supposed to be a thing of waiting and praying instead of a going and doing. I don’t blame these young ladies, I don’t blame this young lady. But I do blame those that failed her. I blame us. We taught her, we taught them, that true love waits.

But true love doesn’t wait. It marries.

So what are our local churches, propelled by gospel love, doing to make this understanding become an expanding reality for our young people? How many would have been saved years of heartache, trouble, doubt, and unbelief in Christ were we to simply teach the Scriptures?

Is This What We Want Boys to Do?

Former angry teen and current high school teacher Peter Brown Hoffmeister writes on the hidden link in America’s school shootings: angry young men who love violent video games:

I asked one of [the violent video game-playing students] later, and he said that he played Call of Duty “an average of 40 hours per week, at least.”

Is this what we want angry, adolescent boys to do? Do we want to give them this practice? Do we want them to glorify violent actions, to brag about violence in the school’s hallways? Or even worse, given the perfect equation of frustration + opportunity + practice, do we want them to do as Weise, Roberts, and Lanza did, and act out these fantasies in real life? Do we want them to yell, “I am the shooter” as they enter a crowded mall – as Roberts did? Or dress like video-game shooters – as Lanza and Roberts were – before heading into a murder spree?

Especially with teenage boys, we have to decide what we want them to do, what we want them to love, what we want them to emulate. Even if they don’t end up shooting people in a school, if they’re practicing car-jackings, knifings, and putting on body-armor as first-person shooters, what are they preparing to do with the rest of their lives? Will these video-game practice sessions make them better husbands or fathers? Will these boys become patient and understanding friends? Better co-workers?

In other words, do these video “games” contribute anything positive to any real relationship a young man has?

Victoria’s Secret Hates Women

Saying something like this (i.e., getting to the heart of the issue) is important in a contentious situation like this because it gets to the heart of the issue. Victoria’s Secret, proprietor of intimate women’s clothing, is now marketing a line of underwear for teens and preteens. Teaching women to find their self-worth in looks is deceptive and vain (Prov. 31:30), but now training teens to dress like whores and prostitutes? Pure hatred.

Seem a little strong? Track with me. Victoria’s Secret hates women because:

  1. Marketing to teen girls is demeaning. First and foremost, a woman’s worth is more than a sexual mirage. Personhood is given by God, never defined or ultimately masked by clothes or relationships or sexual acts. A girl’s personhood is of utmost value; we must honor her from conception to death.
  2. Marketing to teen girls is insubordinate. If Victoria’s Secret though what they were doing was right, they should at least have the decency (which they don’t) to speak to a young woman’s parents about her private wear. Are you going to let a lingerie-clad lady show up at your door and peddle to your daughter? Didn’t think so.
  3. Marketing to teen girls is dirty. In Leviticus, God presents to us over and over the idea that sin is “unclean.” It’s why we call certain things “dirty.” If you don’t want to read a description of something, or see it, or think about it because that would sicken your soul, it’s dirty.
  4. Marketing to teen girls is pedophiliac. Yep, we need to go here, because, otherwise, when will it end? Will we stand by and let Victoria’s Secret enlist our kindergarteners in their ad campaigns? As mom Amy Gerwing writes, “In this age when female sex trafficking is becoming a wide-spread crisis, is it really responsible for Victoria’s Secret to entice our impressionable young girls with this ‘come hither’ message?”

The last one sums it up: Victoria’s Secret markets slutty underwear to young girls because they love cash more than purity, thus encouraging the world to see these future ladies as the same lustful playthings as their underwear.

There Ain’t No “Man Sauce”

I was talking to my students the other day about the Christian doctrine of manhood and womanhood, found preeminently in Genesis 1:27:

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

What we learn here is at least three key points:

  1. God is the creator of man, and He gives us a God-centered meaning. We are not self-created nor self-determining. From the beginning, autonomous humanity is a contradiction in terms.
  2. God created male and female in His own image. Both male humans and female humans glorify God by their respective designs. Men and women are different by design and yet united in their purpose to glorify their Creator.
  3. God created male and female persons from the beginning. God never thought of Adam as an gender-less being, only later to add on the “man sauce.” God never thought of Eve as an androgynous person, later deciding to dip her in a “lady potion.”

The fact that God created two genders, alike in purpose but different in design, means that from the beginning He conceived of us as gender-centric humans. All that we are, in the personhood-identity sense, is wrapped up in our identity as either male or female, but not both and not neither.

To put a point on it, God never thought of you as X person and later decided you would be a man or a woman. He always conceived of you as either a man or a woman because your gender is intrinsic to your personhood.

Our world would avoid an army of confusions if we understood that gender is not an afterthought, not an add-on. It is essential as males and females made in the image of God.

More than Mirrored Men

Amidst all the feminist tussle, the beauties of sexual distinction have been lost. What makes manhood and womanhood beautiful in harmony is their respective distinctions in contrast. Not light vs. darkness but shade, color, hue, melody, harmony, and contrasting blend. Think more “summer sunset over the Appalachians” and less “tornado rips apart entire town.”

Therefore, we must recover the beauties of sexual distinction. What makes men “men,” so strong, trailblazing, and fearless? What makes women “women,” so wise, beautiful, and gentle? It may be hard to explain, but the truth is canyons deeper than egalitarian dogma.

Women, we may say, are more than mirrored men. They not the same, and they’re not mean to be.

Take character traits, for instance. Women are strong, yes. Trailblazing, yes. Fearless, yes. And yet, all so and more in their own, very not-masculine way. They don’t mirror men, but add something that would otherwise be lost.

To put it another way, the world would be a much uglier, smellier place without women. There would be far less concern for aesthetic beauty, style, fragrance, color, and light. Men would have a reduced interest (not no interest, though) in deeper interpersonal questions.  Houses might more often remain painted in hospital white, decorated with movie posters and sports figurines. Most everyone would drive pick-up trucks.

Many of these examples are simplified, but the point remains that women are more, far more, than mirrored men.

As a culture, we reduce the personhood of a woman when we insist that she must be the same as a man. We ought to say emphatically that she must not be the same as a man. She is not made to be his mirror, but his glory, his helper, his well-fitted mate and gift and love.

A Land Dripping with Testosterone

Lately, research and anecdote have found that the result of Western feminism has been . . . the loss of femininity.

Imagine that.

Controversial as his insights may be, Turkish writer Yuksel Aytug was onto something when he explained how “Womanhood is Dying at the Olympics.” The Daily Mail’s photos, meant to retort Aytug’s thesis, were de facto support of it. In competitive settings, some female athletes have begun to look rather (fe)MALE.

Feminist’s abortion and “reproductive rights” wars have only further embedded the idea that women are better removed from the biology that displays their God-given differences from men. Feminists, in the end, would rather have women – business suits, power attitude, lean muscle and all – look and act like men.

Rather than God’s land dripping with milk and honey, where men and women complement each other with their beautiful differences, feminists envision a land dripping with testosterone.

Stories and the Parental Power of Influence

It dawned on me tonight that, every time I tell my children a bedtime story, their story closely mirrors mine. That is to say, each child tells his or her own version of mine.

My story becomes his story coming out of his mouth, but I said it first.

Such bedtime stories are a perfect example of what it means to be a parent. We teach, lead, serve, and speak; and, one way or another, our children follow.

This is not to say that our children don’t often miss the point, or disobey, or squander sound instruction.  But they do get big chunks of what we tell and show them. They mimic our flaws and sins just like we do our parents, and they react against some just like they copy others.

Positively, however, our influence on and over our children is powerful. God has given parents the power and responsibility to teach their own children how to think, love, and live. We show our kids the difference between good and evil, between right and wrong, what family and service and love are, and what beliefs truly matter for the present and to eternity.

In short, parents mediate reality to their children. The way we start our days, speak to our spouses, and act at the dinner table (if we even have dinner) shapes priorities and an understanding of prominence for our children.

In so many ways, a parent’s life-story dictates the life-story of his children.

There’s a reason my children repeat my bedtime stories, and it’s not because my stories are so amazing. They repeat me because I’m their dad.

A Family Better than a Billion Bars

Working the late-night shift lately I’ve seen how easy it is for single men (and, sadly, too many married men) to architect shaky “friendships” with women. These men drink, they party, they say dirty things to these women and their friends. Despite themselves, they might even get a few phone numbers.

But what they never get is a real relationship. Not out there, at the Irish bar at two in the morning anyway.

What’s more is this: I know that I could easily be out there with them, if not for the mercy of God.

I would be out there with them because I enjoy hanging out with women. God made women beautiful, but not mainly on the outside. Ladies have a kind of joy, gentleness, compassion, and love for people that men like me find baffling.

So instead of leaving me to seek such false friendships in an unsafe, foolish, and evil way (read: flirting and fornication), my good Lord gave me a mother who exemplifies each of those. So I was blessed to know and grow up with my godly mother.

Through her prayers, God brought me my wife, whose beauty shines in her character, full of love, compassion, and service, then it shines through in her appearance. She is my glory, and I am blessed to know and be known by her better than anyone.

Though my wife, God gave me daughters to know and love. In their lives, I see how God has particularly shaped young women to show off Jesus.

And through the rest of my family, grandmothers, my mother-in-law, aunts, sisters-in-law, cousins, and nieces to boot, God has give me a family literally full of godly women. In such a family, He graciously protects me from my sin while showing me the beauty of Jesus in the character of these godly women. I am truly blessed.

The Bible teaches the same principle in places like 1 Timothy 5:1-2:

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

While there is always more to the Scriptures and never less, one of the things Paul is teaching Timothy is that, in the Lord, we have safe familial relationships in the church. Men, we are meant to treat younger women as sisters, not lust-targets. We know this because God says we are to encourage these ladies “in all purity.”

In the Lord, I have a family better than a billion bars. I praise Him for my wife and the so many more godly women in my life.

T4G Panel #1: Complementarianism

Below are some highlights from the first panel discussion at Together for the Gospel 2012.

John Piper:

  • “[Complementarianism] a vision that steers a path between the nullification or minimization of differences as they are played out in society and the abuse of those differences.”
  • “We want to call women to full personhood and men to initiative and leadership in a Christlike demeanor.”
  • “I fought battle after battle with college students in the late 70’s and early 80’s over these things, but now we have thousands of young men and women who are receiving this [complementarianism] and flourishing.”
  • “The question that egalitarians can never answer for me is, ‘What do you do with a little 8-year-old boy that asks, “Daddy, what does it mean to grow up and be a man, and not a woman?” Or a girl who asks, “Mommy, what does it mean to grow up and be a woman, and not a man?” ‘ “
  • “Carefully walk through Ephesians 5 about marriage. It’s what every woman wants in her marriage.”
  • “Walk through the eight or nine evidences from Genesis 1 and 2 [sic, he included 3 in his explanation] that show that role reversal is what wrecked the world.”

Russell Moore:

  • “I fear that we have many people within evangelicalism who ‘check off’ complementarianism but live functionally egalitarian lives and marriages.”
  • “I recently spoke with a woman who told me her husband wants to get a sex-change operation. He didn’t want to leave her. They were going to stay together. Now, Martin Luther never had to deal with that.”
  • “When a wife submits herself to her own husband, when a young woman submits herself to a future husband she does not yet know, she refuses to submit to other men and the culture’s idea of women being defined by how men see them.”
  • “We as the church need to stop mimicking the outside culture in the way women are portrayed.”
  • “[You have to pay attention to complementarianism because] you have to deal with specifically complementarian texts: Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, 1 Timothy 2, and others. And you have personal sanctification issues to deal with.”
  • “Complementarianism bears the cross.”
  • “When Jesus washes the feet of the Church, she refuses Him. . . When He is going to die for her, Peter tries to stop him.”
  • “Jesus always gently and lovingly, but decisively, leads His bride.”

Greg Gilbert:

  • “We have men who think that complementarianism really has no feet on it until you come to a disagreement, that they have no role in leading in the home, in establishing an environment in the relationship, in taking initiative.”
  • “To get to an egalitarian position, you have to bring in some bad DNA, some bad principles and ideas, into your interpretation of Scripture. And eventually you will bring that to other texts as well.”
  • “As a pastor of a local church, you can’t ‘back-burner’ the issue [gender relations, complementarianism, etc.], because it’s so practical.”
  • “Too often, we let the discussion [about gender roles] be about negatives rather than positives.”
  • “God-given role does not speak to God-given dignity.”
  • “God has every right to give out roles to His created people.”

For more resources, go to CBMW.org . Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and other resources, are available as free pdfs.

The Happy, Grueling Bicycle Ride

This morning, pedaling in the rain with a gaudy yellow helmet, I’m sure I looked foolish. Drivers-by likely thought, “Well, that’s silly. It’s a lot of work, and he’s getting all wet. And he looks dumb.” True enough.

And I realized that, at one level at least, that’s the way our culture treats marriage. It looks silly. It’s foolish. And marriage-happy people are blissfully, blindly unaware of the world around them.

False.

My wife and I might be pedaling hard in the rain, but we’re pedaling for our lives. We might not have the insulated warmth of a lonely car ride, but we lean on the promises more than the self-assured fool. It’s not easy to carry someone else’s weight around from time to time (just ask my wife!), but at least we’re serving someone other than ourselves, which is what Jesus calls real life.

And, yeah, it’s grueling, but we get to enjoy the downhill coasts and all the strange twists and turns together. And we don’t care who turns and stares and drives by in the rain. God’s grace is with us.

I love that my wife is on the bicycle with me, pedaling for our lives.

Sin’s Rigor Mortis in My Kitchen

or “Why I’m a Bad Husband: How Sin Ruins with a Man’s Communication

One of the things that happened through sin and because of sin in the Garden was that the man and woman started fighting, blaming, and hating each other. (If you read closely, actually, it’s happening while Satan tempts Eve. Adam just stands there! So passive.)

Adam and Eve now will fight over leadership. They will go to war with each other in violent and escapist ways. They will wall each other off with stiff-arms, absent emotions, browbeating, and even extreme physical force. They will hate instead of love.

One of the ways this affects me is that, because of my sin, I often prefer not to communicate very clearly. And, if I’ve learned anything about communication, it’s that, if it doesn’t start most problems, it sure can solve many. But I’d rather not communicate. I’d rather keep to myself. I’d rather leave my family in the kitchen while I do my own thing.

What’s Daddy doing? No one’s sure.

Maybe you’ve seen the same things:

  • A father at the park who’d rather play on his IDrone than with his own children.
  • A husband who passively follows his wife around the store looking like a frightened puppy.
  • A grandfather who sits quietly and lets grandma do all the leading at family events.

What do these men have in common with me? They’d rather not communicate.

We would rather not communicate because communication and leadership require you to give yourself up to be criticized, questioned, ignored, or disobeyed. Every man, woman, and child in the universe has the pride of a thousand actors, crying, “Me! Me! Listen to Me! Look at me” when it comes to speaking out, but men particularly take offense at these negative responses (criticism, questioning, ignoring, disobedience, etc.) to their leadership. We take these things as a slap in the face, a cruel joke, or a cause for physical retaliation.

So our pride keeps us from speaking. We’d rather be silent than slammed, quiet than questioned, reserved than ridiculed. But leadership is precisely as Jesus intended: great sacrifice as great service to others that points to the greatness of God. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:44-45).

As men, we don’t like that. As someone somewhere has said, we want the crown without the cross. We want the acclaim without the agony and pain. We want the adoration without the humiliation.

But Jesus told us: it won’t be so for us. God has charged us men with leading our families and those otherwise in our charge. We’re His. So we must speak, speak clearly, speak love, speak the truth, suffer for it, and by grace through faith be saved in the end.

Sin still shakes its death quakes in my kitchen and in my heart. But sin is dead in me, because Christ lives again.

20 Minutes of Core Non-Boredom

How I Work Out

I make no claims to being a workout guru. There’s plenty of them out there. This post is for those folks who say, “What do you do, and why?” or “How is it that you’re in better shape than last year?” or even “Why are you crawling across the floor like a spider?” Friends, this is for you.

Three Causes
A trifecta of causes birthed my workout regimen:

  1. Family Man: I don’t have much time to work out right now, and I probably won’t for the next 20 years. I had to figure something out.
  2. Bad Back: I can’t just run for an hour in the morning or go play pickup basketball every other night. I have to be thoughtful about doing core exercises.
  3. (Former?) Athlete: This means I like to go hard. Plus, I get bored with the same stuff. Running the same loop day after year? Not for me. I need variety (think P90X without the $70 DVDs).

20 Minutes of Core Non-Boredom
These brought “20 Minutes of Core Circuit” to life. Basically, it rotates through 5-7 core exercises per workout and rotate 3-4 exercises for each component. Each exercise gets 1-2 minutes, then we go straight on to the next, or take a breather and water if injury or blackout feels imminent. We may go for 18-30 minutes, but 20-22 is about right. For example:

Monday
Exercise #1: Bicycle crunches
2: Decline pushups
3: Wall squats
4: Wide-grip pullups
5: Jacknife (combined pushups and lower abs)
6: Side planks (for obliques)

Wednesday
1: Spiderman pushups
2: One-legged squats
3: Mountain climbers
4: Weighted situps
5: Weighted lunges
6: Weighted neutral grip pullups

Friday
1: Balance ball drills
2: Offset-hand pullups
3: Weighted dips
4: Side leg-ups (hanging, knees up to chest)
5: Straight planks
6: Ball-grab pushups

Structure and Variety
This program provides me with structure and variety. The structure is two-fold. Time is structured by weekly frequency (3-4 workouts/week), workout length (18-30 minutes), and component length (1-2 minutes). Exercise components must be within the “core” areas of the body: chest, back, abs, upper legs, obliques.

The variety comes from mixing up the exercises so I don’t get bored. P90X calls this “muscle confusion,” but it really is just  a good workout system. Notice this system never repeats a single exercise in the same week, but it worked each of the core areas at least once (often twice) per workout.

Anywhere, Anytime
The final cool think about 20 Minutes of Core Circuit is that you can do most (not quite all) of these exercises anywhere: a park, your living room, the back parking lot at work, your backyard. You just need a few tools and you’re good to go!

A Year of Results
I’ve been doing this for almost a year without missing more than two in a row. This has usually been due to travel, but, even then, it’s still very do-able. This workout has put me in twice the shape I was in a year ago: I’ve dropped a safe amount of weight while building lean muscle and strengthening my core.

I hope this helps some of you; it sure has helped me! Feel free to write in and tell me what you do.

Speak Up: The Truth Always Wins

Mother, writer, and former Communist refugee Lea Singh writes at MercatorNet, asking, “Are We Sleepwalking through the Great Infanticide?“:

Speaking up for the truth might make us look like fools. And that is just the beginning. Today, it is a sad fact that opposing abortion can cost a person their job and even their career. You might also lose your friends, your standing in a social circle, your invitations to events. One day, your position on abortion could even cost you your freedom.

To me, as a former political refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia, all this sounds eerily familiar. Back then, most people in our country were also silent, and many feared the repercussions that would follow if they openly opposed the regime. But we had a few dissidents, and they made a world of difference. One of them, Vaclav Havel, eventually became the first president of a free Czechoslovakia.

The truth is a powerful thing; over time, throughout history, it has always won the moral battles, and I have no doubt that one day, abortion will be rejected and recognized as an unspeakable evil. Until that day comes the journey continues to require courage and sacrifice on the part of those who carry the responsibility of knowing the truth. It is up to us to awaken the conscience of our society, one person at a time.

As Martin Luther lived and taught, our courage isn’t measured where the battles are easy, but where the are the most fierce. Fifty years from now, our grandchildren will look back at our days and ask how we could let the Infant Holocaust happen before our closed eyes.

Yes, calling evil “evil” may well cost us our jobs, our friends, even our lives. It cost Jesus the same, His disciples the same, and now our children the same. So open your eyes, and speak up.

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