Category Archives: family

Happy Birthday Mom!

I’d like to say a very deserving “Happy Birthday” to my lovely mom.  On Friday we were able to enjoy a wonderful day of festivities.  Whitney and I ‘surprised’ mom at work with a bouquet of balloons and a Starbucks Frappaccino.  Later that evening we all ventured out to Downtown Norfolk for a celebratory dinner and a time of gift-giving.

I am so thankful for a wonderful mother.  Not only is she responsible for my Armenian good looks but she has been a consistent, godly influence in my life.  As I get older I realize how rare it is to have a mom who devoted her time and energy into raising her children to know and love Jesus.  She has demonstrated herself to be faithful and caring, a woman of prayer and love.  In many American churches the accolades of service and ministry are often directed to the “Christian celebrities” when, in reality, faithful parents (such as mom) deserve the credit.

For many it might be hard to see how the tedious day-to-day activities of motherhood relate closely to the gospel, but the two are intertwine.  A few years ago I sang a song to my mom on Mother’s Day.  A particular verse from that song seems appropriate at this point:

To be a mother and a wife

Is a heavy load to bear

And so you gave your life away

Like the God inside your heart

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I Don’t Think We Know Each Other That Well…

How well do you have to know someone to ask them to help you move?  I mean, do you really want some casual acquaintance carrying your underwear drawer or helping you sort through your comic book collection?

At what point is it appropriate to ask someone when they plan on having kids?  This is a question that my wife and I are asked often.  I usually respond by asking the inquirer when they are planning on having kids.  If they have the Duggar-syndrome, I ask them when they are going to stop having kids or just inform them that they have enough children for the both of us.

Social conventions are just weird.  For example, when you randomly talk to someone that you’ve never met before (maybe at a restaurant or in an elevator) and you say, “How’s it going?”  What do you do when they start unloading all of their baggage?  It seems appropriate to be kind and gracious but it’s still awkward.

My only solution is to find people that you can really get to know well.  Share your life with those people.  Then it won’t feel awkward when they ask you to help them move, share their problems with you, or question you about your reproductive plans!

Walk the Dog

In true Dave Black fashion I am showing pictures of taking my dog on a walk.  These picture are not merely gratuitous as we made quite an intriguing discovery in the back of our neighborhood.

Tucked away behind the shiny, new houses near the river that runs behind our neighborhood, Freckles found a beautiful, historic family burial spot.

The sign attached to the burial spot indicates that the graves belong to the “Wright Family.”  Most of the graves date from the early 19th century.  I am aware that the developer of this suburban oasis bought and converted what was originally farmland into its current incarnation as neighborhoods.

Music Ministry… Not So Fun After All

As some of you may know from previous posts or personal knowledge that my dad is a pastor at a church working mainly in the area of music ministry.  I liked the way Neue magazine humorously explained music ministry in an article titled “Low Pay, High Stress:  Why Church Jobs Are Some of the Worst Jobs.”

Payscale.com recently named the 15 most stressful jobs — that also pay badly.  The results came from a survey they did in which 36,000 people ranked their jobs based on the quality of life the job gives them.

Number five on the list was “Music Ministry Director.”  (This is where everyone who isn’t in music ministry gasps because we thought all you had to do was pick some songs and sing well.  Sorry for not realizing your job was harder and paid less than “Gym Membership Manager.”)…

The Renrut House

You may have noticed an absence of posts the last few days.  The simple explanation?  My wife and I bought our first house!  Between the walkthrough, closing, painting, and moving I haven’t had much time to write (or do anything else).

Needless to say, I will be back at it come Monday.  I have plenty of thoughts on current events (think Men’s Figure Skating) and some book’s I’ve been reading (I’m on an N. T. Wright kick these past few weeks).

Hope all is well, here is a picture of our new homestead.

My Jesus Can Beat Up Your Jesus

There has been an online surfeit of discussions regarding masculinity and Christianity (see here, here, here, or here).  Various evangelicals have been using Mixed Martial Arts and other ultra-violent sports to inject missing machismo into American Evangelical Christian men.

I was first made aware of the connection between Christianity, MMA, and masculinity through Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  I am particularly thankful for the ministry of Driscoll and his call for men to stand up and lead their churches and families.  While I do not agree with the faux bravado sometimes created by the hyper-masculine Jesus described by Driscoll and others, I understand their reaction to the hyper-feminized Jesus of modern America.  I, too, am tired of Jesus being portrayed as a “limp-wristed hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair who drank decaf and made pithy zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes.”

The hyper-masculine Christian male is nothing new.  In my denomination, “real men” are often portrayed as big-game hunters who can kill a bear with a Swiss Army knife.  The popular Christian author, John Eldredge, has been marketing Christianity to men for years calling them to find their inner warrior.

As Christians, however, we are called to be Biblical, not reactionary.  Christian men are called to be like Jesus who is neither an effiminate, lamb-snuggling weakling or a Rambo-esque MMA fighter.  As Scot McKnight has said, “The gentle-Jesus-meek-and-mild presentation is every bit as skewed and unbiblical as the Ultimate Fighting Jesus.”

I agree that there is a crisis of masculinity in American churches.  The crisis of masculinity extends to the culture at large (see Al Mohler’s discussion of the gender gap in higher education).  God has chosen men to stand up and lead.  John Piper says it this way, “God calls spiritual, humble, Christlike men to lead the family as husbands and lead the church as elders” (Brothers We Are Not Professionals).  Male leadership is not about weight lifting, bow-staff hunting skills, and bravado but, rather is grounded in the gospel, demonstrated through service, and solidified in confident humility.