Archive for the ‘Men / Phalanx’ Category

“Who touched me?”

(Technically, “who touched my garment?” but since anything she touches becomes unclean to the next person who touches it, I cannot see how that matters.)

The disciples are clueless, as usual.  They try to explain that the crowds were all touching Him, but He ignores them.  He is searching through the nearby crowds.  His eyes are looking, looking…

Is she scrambling back?  Is she trying to hide?  What will happen if the crowd and the synagogue official (!) realize what has happened?  But it is hard to hide or escape when you are down on your hands and knees in a crowd. 

And He spots her.  She couldn’t have been far away.

He moves towards her as the crowd parts.  Did a gasp go up when people began to see?  What happened in Jairus’ heart?

Afraid, trembling, she comes to Him.  The whole story floods out while everyone stands and gawks.  She cannot tell it fast enough.  Is she kneeling? Back on her hands and knees?  I think so.  Maybe she never left them.  Maybe she crawled to Him.

When she finally lets it all spill out, I think she finally met His eyes.

And Jesus speaks two words first.  This really matters.  Years later, these words stood out to Peter, who I believe later told this account and Mark wrote it down.

Most people think Jesus’ first words were “you faith has made you whole.”

But that isn’t correct.

His first words are “My daughter.”

Go ahead and stop for a second.  Pause and breath in those words.


Before anything else, He claims her.

This is the only person Jesus calls “daughter” in all four gospels.  When she has nothing to offer Him, He claims her as His.

In some sense, this is almost a challenge to the crowd – and Jairus perhaps?  Before the official can begin to be angry or quote Leviticus, Jesus makes it clear that He claims her.

Did she follow Him from this point?  It hardly matters.  I don’t think this means Jesus legally adopted her or that she now vacationed with Jesus.  So far as we know, she isn’t mentioned again.  Jesus encourages her to “go” in her newfound freedom.  Even if they never saw each other again, she knew she was meant to be.   God incarnate had let her know that she was His daughter.

Then He adds “your faith has made you well (whole); go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

In other words, when we bring uncleanness to Jesus, we do not stain Him; He purifies us.  There is no one unwanted.  Not really.

Incidentally men, there is an almost mirrored passage for us in Mark 2 about a paralyzed man.  Is there anything worse than being helpless – a burden – powerless – for us?  But he is the one whom Jesus calls “My son.”

And by the way, as this woman is reeling from being made whole in her soul and her body, a messenger comes to tell Jesus and Jairus that the “little daughter” had died.  Jesus tells the father not to fear.

They continue to the house. Jesus kicks out all of the mockers (many think these are professional mourners – who else would laugh?), takes His disciples, the mother and the father and offers His hand to the little girl.  He bids her “Little girl, get up.”

And she does and began to walk around.  Jesus had them feed her

Is it significant that she was 12 years old?  Born the same year that the other woman’s life had essentially ended?    I don’t know.  However, she is yet more evidence that you cannot bring anything to Him that impresses Him.

Alone, isolated, sick, abandoned, unwanted, unloved, filthy, unclean, impure… dead?  None of these stain Him.  He purifies them.

Welcome one and all, to the family of this Christ.


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However, this beautiful system sometimes broke down.  It had broken in the case of this particular woman.

We cannot know, but let’s suppose that she had started her first period as a girl.  Celebrating her welcome into the world of women, now able to marry before long, able to visit the tent, all would have been amazing, despite the inconveniences that come along with the period.

But after seven days, she was still bleeding.

After 14, 21, 28 days… months, a year… 12 years.

Doctors were unable to help.

Her family isn’t mentioned in the passage.  Where was her father?  Why wasn’t he out seeking the Healer for his daughter?  Had they abandoner her?

She has no more money.

The Bible says she had “suffered much” at the hands of the doctors.  We might cringe to even guess at what first century doctors might have considered treatment for this; who knows?

Twelve years later, she is supposed to be married and have a few kids already; instead she has never held hands with a boy.

Possibly children called out “unclean” when she walked by to avoid inadvertent touches that would make other unclean as well.

Likely her malady now had been interpreted as a sign of God’s dissatisfaction with her and/or punishment.

Alone, abused, unwanted, unclean, unloved, and untouchable… she was a ghost in her own community. She was severely judged, found insufficient and flawed.  Are there any worse feelings for a woman?

And she heard that the famous Healer was coming by.

But she had a problem.

It was in the way He healed people.

He usually touched them.

Obviously, we cannot know what all went through her mind, heart and soul, but I think that when she considered this, she was not selfish or foolish enough to ask Him to heal her.

If He touched her, she would make Him unclean.  Then He couldn’t heal anyone else for a while.  Plus, there was no way that He would allow it or be willing.  She had to assume this!

So, she decided on a desperate strategy of sneaking up, or laying in ambush and when Jesus came by and the prayer tassels of His garment – probably the one-piece garment that Jewish men wear – she would reach out and just touch the tips.

Would this make Him unclean? Maybe it should, but no one would even know.  Would she be healed?  Surely she assumed that it would fail.  People who are chronically ill for years only continue to try to solutions in desperation – not belief that they will actually be effective.

So she does it.

Jesus, walking with a Synagogue official – well versed in the details of the law, and almost swallowed up by the crowd, walked past.

How could she know that He was on His way to touch someone’s little girl… someone’s daughter?  I don’t think she did or maybe she would have not followed through.

But she does.

And immediately, the bleeding stopped.  She knew it. But before she could celebrate this truth, she hears the words she has learned to fear for so long.

“Who touched me?” 

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Response to Men Prefer Debt Free Virgins without Tattoos

A few days ago, an article by one Lori Alexander hit Facebook with a storm and for the life of me, I cannot figure out why.

  • I think the inflammatory title helped. I think this is the main effective tool for creating attention.
  • I think the attractive young woman as the cover photo helped.
  • It could be how simplistic and short the article is (I could learn from that) and therefore something of a straw-man and easy to stack with other ugly Christian stereotypes.
  • I think mostly, this is due to people who disagree with the tenets of the article (or at least those indicated in the title) sharing and commenting on it.

It is actually just a copied note from “One woman (who) wrote me some more reasons that she thought of why women shouldn’t go to college” with the author’s comments and not really an article at all.

However, in the follow up (and re-titling of to “Godly Men Prefer Debt Free Virgins without Tattoos”) the article, Alexander claims to have gotten more than 90,000 posts on her article.  In this follow up, she mostly reposts some of the positive comments she has gotten in the midst of the others most of which, as she admits “hate it.”

Responding to people

Sadly, many women (and men) have responded in a way that is the strange hypocrisy of modern liberal feminism… because they disagree with her message, they attack her as a woman under the control of men.

This is a thinking person, married 38 years, who runs her own website and just managed to get more hits and comments on one article than I have with all of mine combined over a decade.

I think it is foolish and wrong (and possible sexist) to dismiss her just because she is a woman with an opinion I don’t agree with.

I respect her ability to create and hold and verbalize an opinion in more than a meme and a post on Social Media – something many others do not seem capable of.

So, in an effort to treat her and her article with dignity, I will respond:

When reading the introduction, I assumed that this woman (she claims to be 60 years old) was seeking to impress upon young women the importance of what she thinks is making wise (debt and tattoos) and moral (sex before marriage) decisions.

I assumed that she was using the motivation that “men prefer” women who have made these decisions.

I am not going to comment on those actual decisions here.  I already have articles published about what I believe the biblical perspective is on Tattoos and premarital sex.

A friend has posted more than one article on debt that I think are good ones – check them out.

As one friend of mine posted in response to the article “But wouldn’t both men and women prefer to marry debt-free virgins?”(maybe not sure about tattoos) – at least not “bad tattoos”).   Given the complete lack of any kind of statistics or even a survey in the article, I don’t feel the need to approach the question of accuracy for a question like this.

Anytime we talk about preferences, there are always going to be some people who prefer almost any trait.  If the implication was to be that ALL men do, then clearly this is patently wrong.

In her response, Alexander says that she should have entitled it “Godly men…”

It felt to me that in her follow up  article, she is actually now making these preferences a test for whether or not a man is godly.  (eg. If he prefers a girl with a tattoo, he must NOT be godly.).

As I will make clear at the end of this article, a godly man could certainly prefer a woman with or without any or all of these three things!

This was clearly not the meaning in the first article, which turns out NOT to be what I thought it would be – an attempt to motivate young women to wise or moral behavior…

But instead a stance taken against girls going to college.  Part 2

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Here in Tyler, Texas, we have a school named “Robert E. Lee Highschool”.

It is really a pretty good public high school.  Like all public High Schools, it has its share of kids from all kinds of backgrounds, issues, ethnicities, social levels, etc.  Like most public High Schools, this is one of its great strengths.

For the Christian family who chooses public school, any school is a mission field.  Christians are first and foremost, ministers.  We minister in our marriages, with our kids, our friends, workplaces and schools.  This is true of any school – homeschool, Co-ops, Private schools and public.  Any of these can be the right choice for a family, so long as the ethic of ministry is kept forefront.

As Christians here in Tyler, we are now facing a question that we might should have seen coming years ago.   The question, on the whole isn’t new.

The school was named in the late 1950’s – during the early days of the de-segregation movement.

At one point, the Rebel was the school’s mascot and a claim to fame was the giant (second largest in the world) Confederate Battle Flag (incorrectly identified as the “Confederate Flag” on Wikipedia) that the football team ran onto the field under.

In the early 70’s, some African American students were unwilling to run in under the flag and it was retired.  At about the same time, the “Rebel” name and confederate paraphernalia was dropped.

The new mascot was the “Red Raider” (I cannot find adequate background on what a “Red Raider” actually is meant to be, but I still wonder as to the close connection to several confederate groups that were called “raiders” – usually attached to a leader’s name.  (some seem to think there is a Native American connection, but I can find even less evidence of that).

I think like most conversations about things that matter, this topic needs and deserves more than the 2 minutes generally authorized in the town hall meetings and certainly MUCH more than memes and short FB and twitter posts allow for.  Real people are and were complex.  Even political issues are and were more complex than a meme allows for.

Consider the distinction between remembering something (or someone)

The in-depth discussion this topic deserves, at least my side of it,  at the local and national level begins here.





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My friend hosted me on her podcast this week.  It was time that went by shockingly quickly!  I think there is some fun stuff there!

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Give Gifts

“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction of being loved for yourself, or, more correctly, being loved in spite of yourself.”

                Victor Hugo

 I am not writing this because I think I am God’s gift to women.  I have just done hundreds of hours of counseling with women and I hear how they see things.  Then, I interpret them for the men out there so you can know too.

Consider this insider trading or something – but the legal kind.  By making good use of these hints, I have been able to express the love, appreciation and affection I feel for my wife and daughters in ways that are clear to their ears.

There are Four main things to remember when giving a gift to a woman.

What every gift (including dates, by the way – anything you pay for is a gift, but more on dates later) must say can be summed in the statement:  “I know my wife and I am thinking about her even when she isn’t around.”  Or to put it more succinctly, “I know my wife and I remember her.”

1.  Know your wife –This is a major key!  The more that a gift communicates intimate knowledge of her – things that only you can know – the better the gift is.

See, for men and women (but. I think women in particular) it actually is the amount of thought and preparation that counts.

In therapy, I often hear about dates and gifts that husbands thought were huge flops, but the wife was overjoyed with!  The thought and effort is what made it so good.

Once when I challenged a husband to take his wife on a special date.  So, he remembered that she had always wanted to visit a restaurant just outside of town and there was a concert he knew she would enjoy.  When he came in after the date he was crushed – they drove way out to the restaurant only to find weeds growing in the parking lot.  It had been closed for months!  Now they had to rush back to town and ended up eating fast food.  They got to the concert to discover it nearly sold out and they hadclosed to get seats not next to each other, if I remember correctly.  They ended up sitting at a coffee shop to discuss their individual experiences of the concert!

He was almost too embarrassed to tell me about it.

She came in a few days later and described the same date as one of the best events of their marriage!  She loved it and gushed about him taking her to the restaurant she had mentioned long ago – and never mentioned to me that it was closed!  Then she was so impressed that he had researched the concert and she loved it, and she loved debriefing everything after the coffee shop too!

Why was their experience so different?  Because their definition of what made a good date was completely different.

His was: did it go as planned?  Was it a date he could brag to others about it?

For her, it was:  “Does he know me well, and was he thinking about me when he planned it?”

So, how do I learn about her?

Imagine that I decided to buy some flowers for my wife.  Now, say I wasn’t sure what kind of flowers to get her, so I gathered together a bunch of my buddies for ideas.  One says “roses”  another says “daisies” and another says “carnations.”  Whose input is best?  None of them are any better than another.  However, this is one person in the world who can tell me exactly what kind of flowers my wife would prefer (and I don’t mean her best girl friend, though I will mention her later in gift giving).  Answer?

My wife.  (incidentally, this analogy works well for explaining why all religions aren’t equal either.)

Only my wife knows what kind of flowers she likes best, right?  But how uncool would it be for me to call her from the store, “Hey, honey, what kind of flowers do you like?”  If you don’t know, then you might need to do exactly that, by the way, because it is much cooler than not getting any or getting something she hates, but there is a better way.

Listen and learn.

Earn a PhD in your wife – become the world’s expert on her!  It might happen this way… you get her a rose and bring it home.  She loves it, but mentions that tulips are her favorites.

Don’t be offended (“see, I get her flowers and she still criticizes me.”)  Grow up, and take note.

Hmmm.  tulips.  Got it.  She is just helping you be great at what you are obviously trying to do – love her – so don’t be offended.  Maybe she says “Roses are my favorite – especially the yellow ones.”

Good job with roses. Next time, remember, yellow, like a Vogon Warship, or a bulldozer is yellow.christmas-gift-ideas-for-wife

Women will generally make comments about their favorites all the time.  Watching TV, commenting on other women’s things, (BIG HINT) when she shops for other people’s gifts or sees other people opening gifts!!!

Also, make it a habit to shop with them and listen.  Stop whining, and don’t sit in the middle of the mall in one of those husband benches – go with her and begin to understand what she likes best.  Here are some areas where any great husband must know her favorites:

Know her favorites, and weave them into the gifts.  Here are some examples of favorites you must know:


Animal (real and stuffed)

Candy and/or chocolate bar (avoid any large amounts of sweets if she is seriously dieting, but a tiny reminder might express that you love her just the way she is)

Board game

Flower (still more on flowers later)

Soft drink

Restaurants (and meals at those restaurants)



Jewelry (favorites stones, metals, and symbols)


Personal feature (and least favorite)


Least favorite chore

2.  Listenand don’t wait.  When she notes something that catches her eye – go back and get it asap if you think it is something that will be meaningful to her.  I am telling you that this is one of the most important skills for getting good, meaningful gifts (for anyone).  Do not wait until it is near an important date to get a gift.  If you are out and spot something that she might like, go ahead and get it.  You won’t regret it.

Give yourself plenty of time to purchase gifts – if you have done #1 – it should not be a problem.  Be sneaky about things – know her better than she even knows herself if you can get away with it.  The best is when she had mentioned something to you and then forgotten it herself!

Also, I am sure you would never forgot a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion, but if you did, having a small stash of gifts hidden in your closet that is a good gift rather than a lame gas station gift or (cringe) the old “hey, I gotta run a quick errand uhhh suddenly today…”  Put all important events on your calendar, your work calendar, your phone, and anywhere else you can put it.  Make sure your friends have them on their calendars too, and that they remind you!  Remember, we are all in it together!

3.  Know what each gift means to her – if the thought counts, then it is not the gift, but the message it sends that is valuable to her.  Do flowers say “I have screwed up again, please forgive me?”  or do they say “I was thinking of you and wanted you to know how special you are to me.”  (if it is the former, then you have taught her that meaning and you need to begin to give them to her randomly when nothing is wrong, or you lose flowers as a gift)

Know what meaning she attaches to different things and communicate the right thing.

Remember – no strings attached, or it only communicates “he wants something from me” and then you have shot yourself in the foot.

Let me reiterate this – if a gift is merely meant to put her in your debt, or to put things out of balance so that she has to work to bring things back into balance, then at some level she is going to feel that you are trying to prostitute her to something.

4.  A gift should communicate “He thinks about me when I am not around”.    This is why her favorite drink that you pick up at a gas station on the way home is worth as much as a big gift in her heart!

Even when filling the car with gas, he thinks about me.

When you are on a trip, you typically should bring something back for her that communicates well on items 1, 2, 3, and therefore will communicate #4.  I was thinking about you when I was on my trip.  See?

Often, bringing a gift for a child can encourage a wife as well, by the way.

So, listen so that you can know.  Use that knowledge to tell her you love her all of the time.

Here are some ideas that have been gathered over time!

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Continuing to engage in the common arguments for Christian Pacifism


(John 18:10-11)

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

(Matt 26:52-54)

52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Pacifists indicate that Jesus’ teaching on pacifism is obvious and that arguing against them is just justification since we can all see His teachings to pacifism so clearly.

I know that the apostles never got Jesus.  They didn’t understand Him, it seems, at any turn. That could easily have happened here.

That being said, in three or so years, Peter had not picked up on Jesus’ “obvious” pacifist teachings… and continued to carry a sword, apparently without Jesus corrected him for doing so.  (see more on that below – Jesus had encouraged them to carry a couple of swords)

Jesus makes it clear that He could bring all of the violence He wanted at any point.  Angels apparently stand ready to bring about violence at the Father’s command; Jesus doesn’t personally need the help of someone like Peter if violence is called for.

Notice that Jesus gave the instruction “put your sword in your sheath.”  Not “throw your sword away” but “put your sword into your sheath.”  That seems like an odd thing for a devoted pacifist to say.

Luke 22:35-38

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

There are many different ways to seek to interpret and apply this one.

However, I think the least contortionist skills are required to just think that Jesus is encouraging them to be prepared to face random acts of violence from people and animals.  Traveling around the Middle East at that time was not safe (the good Samaritan story gives us a hint into this).

They had been safe while in His company but since He is going to be going away (when counted as and executed as a transgressor), they needed to take a little responsibility for their own safety.

Again, as then verse from Nehemiah at the very beginning of this article notes (4:9 “And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.”), trusting in God to protect us is not necessarily in defiance or of in competition with the idea of taking responsibility for our own safety as well (remember the seat belt).

Only if you assume that violence is always wrong or that it is against the teachings of Jesus in advance of reading this passage does this not seem to be the simplest interpretation, in my opinion.

I will note that it is very plausible that this passage has nothing to do with self-defense or violence.  The apostles may have assumed Jesus meant physical swords, but He was referencing spiritual warfare.  As I said, there are many other ways to potentially interpret this passage.

I have no confidence that what I have offered is The Right One, but it makes sense to me as a valid potential as well.

They need some swords and a couple is enough while they are traveling together in these wildernesses.

Given that Jesus commanded them to get swords before telling Peter to put his back in his scabbard, it seems that the problem with Peter’s sword usage wasn’t that he had or was willing to use a sword, but that his timing – his application was bad.  He was missing the point.

But wait, there’s more…

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