I read Heather King fairly often and have cited her before. This article, however, really brings home why it is so important to fast. This Lent I gave up coffee. I have never been a coffee drinker but this past year I have really acquired a taste for it and very much appreciate the good kick in the pants I get from it. Not having coffee has been very difficult this Lent and the tension I feel when I want it really badly does make me desperate to lash out. I am in crisis because of the tension built up within me and my need to take it out somehow and usually on someone. As Heather puts it, “Fasting is where things get real.”
Fasting reminds us that our culture is one giant narcotic and if we don’t pay attention, we can skate through our whole lives anesthetized, asleep, numb. Fasting reminds us that Christianity is not to continue to do what we’ve always done while tacking on a nominal good intention or two. Christianity is not a gesture. Christianity is not a vague wish for goodwill. Christianity is to be stripped, in the name of love, of all that is familiar, safe, anodyne, and nailed to a cross.
Thank you Heather for making it real. Read more here.
Check out this great article from the Christian Science Monitor:
Peacebuilding is a new approach to ending war, and it’s becoming a global buzzword. It’s different from peacemaking, which brings politicians around a table to hammer out a peace deal. And it’s different from peacekeeping, which sends foreign soldiers to monitor peace agreements, separate warring parties, and protect civilians in conflict zones.
“Everybody understands peacemaking,” says Judy Cheng-Hopkins, the UN assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding. “And in a way we also understanding peacekeeping…. Peacebuilding goes beyond either [of these].”
Peacebuilding is about what comes next – the slow and thankless slog of building a country back up. For generations, that job has been piecemeal: a little emergency aid here, some development projects there. But those professionals are trained differently, rarely coordinate, and are sometimes outright antagonistic. Their projects, meanwhile, are not overtly about peace. Aid is about relief; development is about economic growth. But post-conflict states also have a host of other needs.
This is an interesting article and the concept of peacebuilding – that post-conflict nations need skilled negotiators and politically savvy people to come in and help the people of the country rebuild themselves and everyday life back up- is sorely needed. That means rewiring people away from the conflict that has dominated; reworking old processes into new efforts and giving people practical things they need like a “reason to be,” and a place to go everyday and be productive or a process by which to be heard and validated. This is not normally done or focused on. Quite frankly, I do believe peacebuilding can ultimately restore the validity to the UN which has been seen in the last ten to twenty years to cater strictly to peacemaking efforts centered on political leaders who often care little about rebuilding the country.
Another reason I like this concept is because it is applicable on a much smaller scale to state and local conflict all the way down to families, the workplace and neighbor to neighbor conflict. In these situations peacemaking is key but I also think sometimes peacemaking can be better achieved through concentrated focus on peacebuilding in restoring communication and rebuilding relationships. Working at the ground level and providing people avenues to be heard, establishing appropriate boundaries, encouraging dialogue and giving people educational opportunities to enhance problem solving skills helps take people out of themselves and shows them a bigger picture to be a part of which goes a long way in solidifying relationships both big and small.
Read the full article at ADRhub.com – a great site for all mediators – and thank you so much for bringing this article to my attention.
Social media networking can become a serious issue in many a marriage. What seems like an innocent social connection can quickly morph into a too-close friendship and then into a full blown relationship all the while hidden from your spouse. It is not easy to discern when things have gone too far but before you know it conversations move from introductory and innocently reminiscent to flirtatious and outright inviting. These exchanges can be hard to resist because they seem arm’s length, they seem not real, they seem simply playful. However, these exchanges are real from the outset. You are forming a real relationship and you now are looking forward to your chats and private messages.
Soon these exchanges will be replaced with telephone calls or texts and then requests for in person meetings. You see, it becomes easier and easier to move forward because the momentum is carrying you. You must realize, from the start, that you cannot engage in a private way with members of the opposite sex when you are married. You owe it to your spouse to be faithful. Playing fast and loose with that vow is risky and unfair. Facebook is a real temptation in this arena because it gives you opportunity to enter into relationships thinking it is all innocent. Do not be fooled. You know in your conscience and your heart when you have gone too far. Don’t put yourself in those situations from the beginning and you will be doing your marriage a great favor.
My astute business partner, Cary Sanchez, found this great article giving stats and information regarding the social networking/divorce link:
“A 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed that 81 percent of “the nation’s top divorce attorneys” reported an increase in social networking websites being used as evidence in divorce cases. Facebook is the leader, being cited in 66 percent of cases that involve online evidence.”
Divorce is a growing phenomenon in the church. The statistics report that the divorce rate in the church is equal to the divorce rate of non church members. In spite of the growing numbers of divorce in the church population, there are very little resources available to those who are going through a divorce or are in a post divorce transition. As a Christian, I know and understand the Word of God is clear on divorce, “God hates divorce” ~Malachi 2:16. Those are very strong words, hates means to abhor to utterly detest. As a result many Christians who have gone through a divorce or are in the midst of a divorce oftentimes also have a spiritual battle. Many feelings of guilt and worthlessness overwhelm them as they feel they have let God down and may feel as though they will never be worthy of His forgiveness. Many individuals leave the church because of these same feelings and unfortunately most churches are ill equipped to help divorcing couples.
While I agree that many marriages today have fallen apart when in fact they could have worked through their problems with the appropriate resources and commitment, I do understand that there are many different reasons couples divorce and it is not anyone’s place to judge whether or not every effort was made in order to save the marriage. Only the couple themselves can answer that with honesty, and they are the ones who will have to live with the consequences of their decisions.
Often times there may be one person in the relationship holding on for dear life in order to save the marriage, while the other partner is disinterested and uninvolved. Perhaps there was marital infidelity, financial problems, blended family issues, drug problems or just apathy that leads to this. It is most difficult for those individuals to move through the divorce process, especially when they have neither initiated or agree with the divorce.
This is where a divorce coach can help individuals move through this process to a place of wholeness and healing. Divorce is hard; there is no way around that. It is a difficult decision and a difficult process. It can feel as though a part of you has been cut off or died. Additionally the high conflict and emotional upheaval divorce causes can leave many immobilized and unable to function properly. Anxiety, tensions and depression increase as you now imagine your life without the one person you thought you would grow old with. Children may become collateral damage as one party becomes disengaged or uses the children as pawns in the battle, while the other parent may be so emotionally wrung out that they are not able to provide the children the proper time and attention they need to grow and grieve the death of the family unit.
As Christians and professionals in the field, Sanchez and Baietto, LLC can help individuals get through this process all the while providing effective and compassionate services. Divorce does not mean that guilt, bitterness and worthlessness should overwhelm you. We can help our clients focus on their future while guiding them through their present. We have the legal, mental health and most importantly a Biblical foundation to our interventions. We will be with our clients every step of the way as they together with the Lord begin the path of restoring their lives during this difficult transition, and to remind them that God’s grace, forgiveness and restoration is available to all who seek it.
Please refer to the tab under divorce coaching for a complete explanation of this service.