Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Apostle’s Creed, part 17

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;

he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

   the holy catholic** Church,

First off, the asterisk. Yes, every denomination that isn’t Roman Catholic, that uses the Apostle’s Creed, places this asterisk in their books, along with a footnote letting readers know that the word “catholic” is used in its descriptive sense, and not its denominational sense. “Roman Catholic” refers to a person who is a member of the Roman Catholic church; the uncapitalized word, “catholic”, means “universal”.  *end of disclaimer*

Now that that is out of the way, this part of the Creed is the disciple’s statement of what s/he believes about the supremacy of the Church. I’m not talking about the Church Militant, as some like to envision it. I’m speaking of the fellowship Christians have with one another just because they are Christians. Today, we speak of “identifying principles”, concepts by which we organize our lives, and by which we identify ourselves. For Christians, there is but one identifier, and that is Christ.

I may be an American. I may be white. I may be male. I may be of Scotch-Irish descent. Other descriptors might be Southerner (not by birth), librarian, college graduate, and so on. Those are demographic categories. But the one thing by which I define myself is Christ. I am a Christian who lives in the U. S. A. I am a Christian who is caucasian. I am a Christian who lives in the South. Other Christians may have identical or similar demographic descriptors, or wildly different. A Christian woman of German ancestry in Brazil who works for a publisher has nothing in common with me – except Christ, which then makes us brother and sister.

I’m great with stories, but not so much with names, so please forgive the following lapse. One of Billy Graham’s assistants (Grady Wilson?) was in a communist country (before the fall of the Soviet empire), and one evening found himself walking back to his hotel alone. This man tells how he was whistling a hymn to himself as he was walking, when he noticed that there was another man about a block away, walking toward him on the sidewalk. When the man got closer and could hear what Wilson(?) was whistling, he started singing the hymn in his own language. Graham’s associate didn’t have his translator with him, and so couldn’t say anything to the other, but they shook hands and hugged, realizing that two Christians were experiencing a moment of family fellowship.

Speaking of the words of the Creed, Glenn Packiam, in his book Discover the Mystery of Faith, says:

These words form a path, a trail to walk on. When we say them, sing them, or pray them with worship and faith in our hearts, we can remember how many others have prayed these words before us. We can think of the great church fathers, the bishops and theologians, the peasants and farmers, the missionaries and martyrs. We can imagine all the saints around the world who gather each week on the Lord’s Day and say these very same words and sing them and pray them with one voice.

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Refused? A New Tool To Help, part 2

calendar

My last post demonstrated how a simple calendar can be used to help refused spouses document the inactivity of their marriage beds. Simply keeping track of sexual activity (specifically, the lack thereof) can, sometimes, be enough to make a Refuser or Gatekeeper realize that her course of action is wrong. Note the phrase “can be”; it’s not a guarantee, but it’s not unheard of. In any case, the calendar provides documentation of disfunction in the marriage, and is a useful tool for starting to work on changing the marriage.

Using a calendar to track  lack of sexual activity and active refusal prior to confronting your spouse and having The Talk™ is helpful. Reality can’t be denied. However, the calendar may be a useful tool for you after your confrontation, and as you and your wife work to change your marriage. Continue reading

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Refused? A New Tool To Help, part 1

Has this ever happened to you? You attempt, for the umpteenth time this month, to initiate sex with your wife, only to hear something like this: “Again? We just had sex a few days ago.” Or, “Give a girl a break, Mr. Insatiable! You’re always after sex.” The impression is that, somehow, you are not really needy, as you just recently had sex, and you seem to think your wife is the Energizer Bunny.

But here’s the kicker – you know that you didn’t have sex a few days ago, or even a few weeks ago; more like a few months ago. And yet, here she is, appearing to be serious when telling you  that you two are at it like bunnies. You may say that you would like sex more frequently, and your wife may even agree with you that frequency needs to be upped. But not tonight, dear. We’ll do better going forth. But that doesn’t happen, does it?

Well, let me introduce you to a tool that you can use to help you as you start the task of changing your marriage: Continue reading

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Monday Matinee: Blondie

curtains

For a few weeks, I am mentioning series movies. By “series”, I am not referring to the serials that came out each week, like Flash Gordon or Captain Midnight. Instead, I am referring to movies that had sequels, seemingly, ad infinitum. The public would take to a character(s) and studios would realize that more of these movies would be successful/profitable. To my way of thinking, the Andy Hardy movies, with 15 sequels, was the King of Series. But there were others, as they served as the television of the time. Just as we couldn’t get enough of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer, America in the 30’s and 40’s couldn’t get enough of their favorite characters.

This week, I’m going to mention one of the most popular series of its day, Blondie. Created as a spin-off of the popular comic strip, the first Blondie movie was released in 1938, to be followed by 27 more Blondie films by the time the series ended, in 1950. Twenty-eight Blondie films vs. only 16 for Andy Hardy? And you say Andy Hardy is the King of Series? Yes, I maintain that for two reasons. First, the Andy Hardy films were true films, while the Blondie movies were pretty much formulaic. Each Blondie was 70 minutes long, had the same intro (like a TV show), and had the same running gags sprinkled throughout. The Blondies seemed to be an extension of the comicstrip, and not a true artistic attempt. Second, look at the stars. Several of the Andy Hardy movies had Judy Garland, and having such legends as Rooney and Garland lifts beyond the reach of Blondie.

Just as in the comics, the star of the piece was Dagwood Bumstead, a loveable, bumbling husband who worked for a hard task manager of a boss, J. C. Dithers. Blondie is always the smarter of the two and is always getting Dagwood out of the predicaments that he manages to find himself in. Blondie was played by character actor Penny Singleton and Dagwood by Arthur Lake, who said of the role that he wished he could play it forever.

Here is a short clip of the opening credits of the first Blondie movie, plus one short scene giving you all you need to know about the Bumsteads. If you are interested, there are several full Blondie movies on YouTube.

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Matinee Monday: The Thin Man

curtains

Last week, I tipped my hat to the kings of series movies, Mickey Rooney’s Andy Hardy series, with its 15 sequels. When we find a character(s) that we like, we want to see them again, and Hollywood is always ready to give us what we want, God bless ’em.

Today, I’d like to discuss one of my favorite series, The Thin Man movies. The first was from the Daschiell Hammett novel of the same name, and paired two popular actors, William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. The book and movie pick up after the two are already a couple, so there is no romantic aspect to the story, so unlike many of our modern man/woman mysteries, there is no sexual tension to drive the plots.

Nick Charles is a hard-drinking retired private detective who retired when he married wealthy heiress Nora, and as you might guess, from a post-Prohibition story, they do plenty of drinking. But no matter that our hero is retired, he is pulled out of retirement to help a friend; Nora joins him in trying to get his friend cleared for murder, wise-cracking all the way. While there is no sexual tension between Nick and Nora, the screen chemistry between Powell and Loy is entirely believable, and the repartee is delightful.

The film was very popular, and spawned five more sequels between 1936-46. These movies were truly ‘matinee’ fodder, for I remember watching them as a young kid on the afternoon matinees that local TV stations would have. (This was before the creation of children’s programming outside of the Mickey Mouse Club.)

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The Apostle’s Creed, part 16

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

Fridays have been my day for writing about what the Apostle’s Creed means to me, how important it is to me. But after I finished the middle section, about Christ, I’ve hit a little bit of a blockage. The problem is that while the first two persons of the Trinity are discussed and the Creed expounds on each, this third section only says, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” and doesn’t discuss the Person of the Holy Spirit or His work.

Yesterday, however, I was reading a book on how worship forms our faith, and the author illustrated the need for the Creed (you know I love the English language, right?), and how the Creed is bigger than just a Statement of Belief.

The author told of watching the Little House on the Prairie program and viewing an episode in which Pa Ingalls and Mr. French tied a rope from the house to the barn, during a white-out blizzard. The rope was the guideline and safety line to keep them from wandering off in the blizzard. The Creed, like that rope, is our guide to keep us from wandering.

The Creed is something that we enter into when we say, “This I believe.” When we confess the Creed, we aren’t saying we believe in propositions or resolutions; we are saying “I believe in God the Father…,” “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,…,” and “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” Doctrines are facts, but the Creed is the confession of our faith, of who we are. And once I place myself in the Creed, my statement, “I believe in the Holy Spirit”, suffices. All else is commentary.

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Matinee Monday: Andy Hardy

curtains

For the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing my enjoyment for different comic teams, and the fact that no matter what the latest plot had them doing, the boys (Laurel, Abbot, Groucho, etc.) were always the same, never deviating from their basic persona. And that’s all gravy, for each team had their own charm and delight.

What I want to share for a few weeks are the series films that were so popular in the 30’s and 40’s. While radio was the home entertainment of its day, and had its weekly shows, America also grew to love certain characters and wanted to see them again and again. Hollywood, ever quick to make a buck and to meet audience demand made movies with actors reprising their roles time after time.

The most famous of the series movies would probably be the Andy Hardy movies, which made Mickey Rooney a huge star, and helped to launch the career of Judy Garland. Set in a fictional midwest town in which the inhabitants embodies all the virtues of mid-America, the fifteen-film series told of the everyday events in the lives of Judge Hardy and his impetuous son, Andy.

Wikipeida says that Carvel, Andy Hardy’s hometown, was Louis B. Mayer’s idealized vision of what America truly was. The people of Carvel were “pious, patriotic, generous and tolerant”, and Judge Stone was particularly wise, giving his son sound guidance when needed. I guess that, for me, I wish that our country was actually as good and decent as Mayer envisioned. Here is the trailer for Life Begins for Andy Hardy, giving you a look back at Hollywood’s idea of middle America. Please note that, at the beginning of the clip, the narrator references the previous movie in the series, Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary.

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Addressing The Sexless Marriage, part 6

frustration

(This is the sixth of a six-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.)

(For the purpose of pronoun simplicity, I am writing the posts in this series to refused husbands. Wives, if you are the one who desires more sexual intimacy, please keep reading, because I believe that pretty much everything I am going to say will apply to your situation, as well.)

In my last post, I shared a recent incident that I had read about where a Refuser turned on his spouse and made accusations against his wife (yeah, you read that right, “wife”; it happens) saying that she was “a sex addict”, pestering him all the time. Again, this type of thing really burns my biscuits, folks, because it’s just plain dirty pool. I’m sorry, but more often than not, the problem is the refuser, and this type of response, which is all too common, stinks.

It’s never the refuser’s fault that sex is not happening in the marriage. There is usually a list of myriad reasons for not having sex, at the moment, but when the string starts to get long, and both know that the drought is approaching weeks, months, or even years, excuses get pushed aside for bigger guns: accusations, recriminations and blame-shifting. Continue reading

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Matinee Monday: Patriotism

curtains

One of the things I love about old movies is the fact that they were unabashedly, unashamedly patriotic. There were comedies  like Abbott and Costello’s Buck Privates, there were cartoons, such as Daffy Duck’s Daffy the Commando, and great musicals, such as Jimmy Cagney’s Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Unlike today:

Oh, those wacky college kids! What won’t they think of next?

Contrast the above with this, from This Is The Army:

And folks wonder why I’m so cantankerous!

CSL

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Addressing The Sexless Marriage, part 5

frustration

(This is the fifth of a six-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 6.)

(For the purpose of pronoun simplicity, I am writing the posts in this series to refused husbands. Wives, if you are the one who desires more sexual intimacy, please keep reading, because I believe that pretty much everything I am going to say will apply to your situation, as well.)

I realize that over the past four posts in this series, I’ve presented two ways to approach a refusing/gatekeeping spouse, presented a number of different ideas for responding to refusing, and linked to different resources that discuss sexless marriage. Why do this at all, other than just to grouse? Is my purpose to merely kvetch? After, kvetching is what coots do best, right? So I’m just venting my spleen for the world’s edification?

Not hardly. I know that nothing is easier or more tempting for guys than to go along with whatever situation we are in, as long as we can have some semblance of peace and/or quiet in our homes. For most men, yelling and fighting when we come home ranks right up there with undergoing serial root canals without benefit of Novocaine.

But when experts tell us that approximately 20% of all marriages are “sexless”, and when I read the ‘anti-testimonies’ of refused and denied spouses on different message boards, Christian and non-, and when I read the frustration and fear that many refused express, I can’t keep quiet. I guess I’m like the fool in Proverbs 29:11 who “gives full vent to his spirit”; well, so be it.  Continue reading

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