Friday, May 22, 2015

I might lose a few readers now.

I don’t typically respond to trending topics on Facebook. It’s usually because I don’t care, or I’m embarrassed that I care, or I don’t want to ruffle feathers. I like people to like me. Too much.
But this Duggar family uproar is too much. It is really too much.
Jesus forgives me, and I’ve moved on, so I don’t need to face earthly justice.
Folks, this is not biblical. Perhaps Josh Duggar is truly repentant, and perhaps he truly isn’t subject to those predilections anymore. I have no idea. But it is not okay to wait for the statute of limitations to run out before you confess your sins.
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:13-17
The Christian thing to do would be to turn yourself in to face justice in the courts, not run off to work with a family friend, and then tell a shady state trooper about it when you come back, and keep the whole thing under wraps as much as possible. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to learn this about your son; I hope that I would do the right thing, but I can’t guarantee it. However, my sympathy for grieving parents and a likely terrified kid doesn’t change right and wrong. It is WRONG purposefully evade justice.
Forgiveness is personal. It goes from the wronged person to the perpetrator, from God to the sinner.
The courts deal in justice. Earthly justice. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are to escape earthly consequences of sin just because we are sorry, and God forgives us. We are to submit to the governing authorities, unless they mandate that we sin. Can you imagine what would happen if all anyone had to do to get out of jail time was to say he was sorry, and Jesus forgave him? That would be wrong.
Yet we are closing ranks around the Duggars because… because why? Because the apology actually sounded like a real apology (It really does sound like deep regret, none of this non-apology “I’m sorry if you feel that…” nonsense)? Because the people in charge at the time “dealt” with it? Because they’re the most famous Christians we have, so we’d better present a united front?
I’m not shocked by the Duggars’ handling of this sin. (Yes, SIN. It was not a mistake. Call it what it is, for the love, especially when you are apologizing.) I might think they did it all wrong, but it doesn’t surprise me. Like I said, I can’t imagine what I would do as a parent in this situation.
But fellow Christians, we should not be rushing to comfort the perpetrator after he slips under the radar just long enough to escape the consequences. Let me be clear: Eternal consequences are God’s business; nothing is too big for him to forgive. But he commands us to obey the earthly law (and at the time that Peter was written, let’s not forget we’re talking about Christians under Roman law). Obedience to earthly law elevates God and his mercy; it does not diminish it. We do not glorify God by pretending sin is just a really bad mistake.
We glorify God by calling sin what it is and praising his ability to forgive even the most vile manifestations of it. But their actions do not “put to silence the ignorance of foolish people [or non-foolish people].” This looks a lot more like using freedom as a cover-up for evil.
Edit: I realized after I wrote this that this might come out too much on the OTHER side of things. I have… certain opinions about the Duggars and their theology, but that aside, they are my Christian brothers and sisters. The personal issues of forgiveness and repentance are between them, the victims, and their church leaders (if they have such a network of accountability; I’m not sure). People who profess repentance and appear to be repentant should be taken at their word (although I don’t think I would have Josh Duggar babysit my children; forgiveness should not be conflated with stupidity). We shouldn’t shun people for this, especially when we know so little of the details. I am talking about the way we tend to view professing Christians who have done terrible things and equated the forgiveness of God with escape from legal justice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

You can('t) do eet!

I know I've written something along these lines before, but I just read the umpteenth nasty comment on a nice blog post about things you can do for your friend who just had a baby. I commented on it a while ago and keep meaning to unsubscribe, but then oh shiny!

It goes something like this: "I don't know what's wrong with all you people. I did all this and more after kids, and I never complained!"

This is another thing we need to stop doing.

Repeat after me: "I can do a lot of things you can't do. You can do a lot of things I can't do. Let's not scratch each other's eyes out."

Well. I might scratch your eyes out if you're good at murder, and you find me in an alley.

Here's what I'm really good at:

-Imitating a monkey call. It is loud and extremely accurate.
-Imitating various other animals' calls. Also loud, not necessarily as accurate.
-Predicting the bad guy on TV shows.
-Crossing my eyes.
-Staying awake long past the limits of normal human physiology.
-Lining things up the way they are supposed to go. NOT LIKE THAT YOU IDIOT.
-Having huge feet.
-Learning a new language. Unless it's German. I dropped out of that after 2 weeks.

I expect that every other human being on earth can and should do all of these things because I can do them.

Obviously, I'm being silly. There are real life skills that everyone should have nailed down eventually. I would never think very highly of an able-bodied 30-year-old who can't use the bathroom without assistance. But I don't think doing All the Things immediately after having a baby is one of those life skills. After Grace, I was pretty much useless. I felt like I was trying to juggle 20 hammers at once. She was 6 months old, I think, before we ever had dinner before her bedtime.

It was a totally different story after Emmy. I was able to do just about everything that needed to be done after having her. At no point did I look back at my brand new mom self and say, "You were such a lazy complainer. You could have done so much better." No. Because I couldn't have.

I've been on both sides. I'm sure there are women who use their new-momness as an excuse to be lazy. But most of us just do whatever we're capable of at that moment. So stop being a jerk.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tough Mudder

Did I ever mention that I signed up for the Tough Mudder? Well, I did. It’s in September. It’s at 10,000 feet. Now, I live almost a mile up, so it’s not like a shore-dweller doing a ten-mile obstacle course at 10,000 feet, but it’s still going to be brutal. What was I thinking?
I actually wake up in a panic over this occasionally. Usually it’s after a weekend of slacking on my shoulder PT.
I did that this past weekend. I skipped the exercises on Saturday and on Monday. On Saturday we were busy, and it had been raining all week, so I hated the world/napped with every free minute. Monday was again very busy, and by the end of it I just wanted my bed.
I have four resistance band exercises that I do on each side, 3 sets of 15; I do two types every day. There are two other optional (but immensely helpful) ones that I have to do at the gym. They require the lat pull-down machine, a stability ball, and a platform.
I hate them because I’ve been doing them three times a week for two years.
I hate them because they are tedious.
I hate them because the nature of my shoulder issues means I will never actually progress in them; I will always and forever use the green resistance band, and 3 sets of 15 will always and forever be uncomfortable and hard.
I hate them because I know I have to do them all three times per week until I die or stop caring about being able to use my shoulders and arms at all.
Mostly, I hate them because they look like old lady exercises, and I feel kind of stupid doing them.
With the lat machine, it’s not even a full pull-down. I grip the bar above my head and then pull my shoulder blades down and together. It looks like I’m a really weak person who is in denial about the amount of weight she can pull down. This is because, given the chance, my shoulder blades would slide all the way around my body and become protective chest plates.
The stability ball push-ups are even more super fun. Fun in the extreme. Fun like getting punched in the face. I put a stability ball on the corner of a platform and then attempt push-ups while squeezing the sides of the ball with my hands. It’s incredibly difficult, but it looks wussy. I know this because there are mirrors everywhere in the room where I do these push-ups, mirrors of mockery. It makes me want to force everyone in there with me to try them with me while I laugh.
(Yes, I know none of you strong people notice me; a tiny yet vocal part of me knows even harder that you are all laughing at me).
So I skipped those all weekend. You’d think just a few days wouldn’t make a big difference, right? Nope. Everything is weaker. I’m at half strength for some of the weights I regularly lift. I accept this for the exercises that require shoulder stability. But even my grip is worse. If you look at your arm and grab something tightly, you will notice that all the gripping muscles are far removed from the shoulder muscles, so please explain that to me.
Anyway, all this to say that I am a little apprehensive about this Tough Mudder thing. This doesn't mean I don’t want to do it. I do. A LOT. But I definitely need more motivation with the shoulder exercises. It doesn't take long to catch back up, but I need to get strongER for this thing, not just stay where I am. So here are a few ideas for every day that I do them:
  1. My children clean their room without complaining.
  2. The dishes wash themselves.
  3. My lawn dies so it never has to be mowed again.
  4. Fairies give me a dollar.
  5. Fairies give me wine.
I’m sure none of these will be counterproductive at all, so help me make it happen.