Dear Christian Men, We Need You

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First, I want to thank you for reading this. Whether you subscribe to my blog (extra points!) or a woman in your life forwarded it to you (even better, extra points with her!). Just the fact that you’re reading this is evidence that you care about the women in your life. I appreciate your heart. This really isn’t another political opinion article trying to sway you to vote for the candidate of my choice. I will not be promoting a vote for Hillary or anyone else. This is a call for you and other men of faith to please tread cautiously and intentionally this election cycle for the sake of those you care about most. Because the truth is, we desperately need you to.

Let’s take a step back from this whole circus for a minute. Take GIANT step back, keep going. Ahhh, isn’t that nice? We can breathe easier over here. So from here we can see that there’s a guy running for President of the USA who totally breaks political barriers, he’s not a political puppet, he’s radical. Finally, someone out of the box.  Finally, someone who isn’t “playing the game.” Pretty cool right? And then, equally cool, there’s actually a woman running for president, for the very first time! This is so great because now you know you really can tell your daughter that she can be anything she wants to be. She really could be President of the United States of America. That is so awesome.

Now, you know this article is about women so let’s talk about that for a sec. Let’s turn our back away from the whole election completely and look at what life in America is like for the women you love in your life. I want you to think about your mom, your wife, your daughter, your niece. For many reasons that I won’t get into here, these loves of your life are being paid less than men with equal qualifications. This isn’t necessarily your fault, so no need to get defensive here, just let it be what it is: reality.

Keep thinking about your daughter, your niece, your wife, your mom… They are more likely to be victims of sexual violence. Imagine that. This is primarily because women are globally disrespected and objectified.

Now think about these same loved ones and all of the pressure they feel to look a certain way. More and more men are being pressured to look a certain way too, so I think you can kind of understand how hard this is. How hard it is to feel like your body needs to be perfect. To every day think that your body isn’t good enough. This will effect what you eat, what you wear, what you buy, almost everything because your body goes with you EVERYWHERE. Sucks to feel that pressure to have the six pack like that dude on Men’s Health, doesn’t it?

Now this one might sting a little but I have to go there. How many of you are still using porn every now and then? Statistics say that if you’re a Christian male it’s probably about 80% of you. The adult women in your life, and possibly the younger ones, know that you’ve seen it. We know what those women look like. We know how they act. Women in porn are there to be fun and to have no issues. images-7They’re not portrayed as real women with real personalities, real emotions, or real dreams. This is harmful for the women in your life because now we’re not only supposed to look perfect but we are supposed to “be” perfect. Now, I totally know that you don’t really wish that upon your daughters, your wife, your mom, your sister… But this is the message we’re getting whether you intended it or not. This  called, “objectification.” We’re expected to be objects. Again, I know this is happening with men too. I cringe every time I see women treating men with the same disrespect. I don’t think it’s ok. That is not how we achieve equality. That’s another topic for another time.

Ok, now that we’ve painted a little backdrop, let’s move back to the election. The women and girls in your life need you now more than ever. We’ve been sent all these messages and now here is a man running for President who is downright mean about the way women look. All of the women in his life look like they’ve had multiple rounds of plastic surgery and obviously we know that he loves beauty pageants. Look, there’s nothing wrong with beauty. However, when it is seen as the most important characteristic of a woman, well that’s just unfair and unkind. We are so much more than something to look at and take pleasure in. Would you really want your daughter to be on a stage in a bathing suit to be judged by hundreds, if not thousands, of people? Would you tell your little niece that if she doesn’t like her body, it’s ok, she can just get surgery someday? I say all of this because this is the message being sent by the Republican candidate. The one who is being backed mostly by Christian men. And I have to be honest with you, at first this angered me, but now I realize that actually, it really really hurts. 

It hurts a lot that my brothers are not sticking-up for me and my sisters and our daughters. It hurts that Christian men are putting politics above protection. We deserve more than a leader who objectifies women. I know what you’re doing now, you’re thinking “but who I am supposed to vote for??” Look, I’m not going to tell you to vote for anyone. But I am asking you to join many other leading Christian men and not vote for Donald Trump… because it is hurtful and damaging to the women in your life. It’s horrible that we are in this situation where we don’t have two outstanding candidates from the two major parties. I get that. But please, think about the message you are sending to the girls and women in your life. 

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Let’s say you still decide to vote for Donald. That’s fine. But please, take a moment to tell your wife, your daughter, your sister, your mom, etc. that you are not okay with the fact that he supports the objectification of women. Tell them that you do believe women are equal to men and deserve the same amount of pay. Tell them why you are voting for him, but don’ t make it about Hillary, just make it about him. Because whether you like it or not, your vote is sending a message to us.

And for the women who are voting for Donald. I implore you to take a good look at how you value yourself. Do you find yourself feeling that you would be more valuable if you looked “better?” Have you subjected yourself to countless diets? Maybe even surgery to try to feel good enough? If so, then you are like me and you have drunk the Kool-Aid my friend. For so long we have bought into the lie that to be valuable we should be porn-pretty. This is just a lie. Spit. the Kool-Aid. out. To support Trump, you are saying that it’s ok to have a leader who has also bought into this lie. It could mean that you don’t really value yourself as a woman. Maybe there’s a part of you that believes you don’t deserve more pay or more respect. I’m not saying it’s true, but please consider it.

Look, I know this has been a lot and I really hate that this is even a political discussion but this election has made it so. All I’m asking is that if you’re a man, especially a Christian man, please take a moment to understand what it’s like to be a woman in our society today. Jesus always fought for the underdog and as much as I hate to admit it, women still are the underdogs of the world. Stick-up for us. Fight for us. Be our allies and advocates. We need you on our side.

 

Thanks for reading,

Jaclyn Signature

 

 

 

More:

Why These Evangelical Leaders are Firmly Against Trump (Huffington Post)

7 Conservative Christians (Men) Who Are Not Supporting Trump (Religion News) – Max Lucado is on this list

Trump’s Offer to Christians is the Same Offer the Devil Made to Christ (Christian Post)  – “I know the editors of CP to be good evangelical Christians, but they made the same mistake many evangelicals are liable to make. They said they were actually tempted by Trump’s offer to “Vote for me, and I will give you Supreme Court picks and abolish the Johnson Amendment.”

Trump’s “tempting” offer is remarkably like another made two millennia ago … when the Devil offered Jesus the power to rule over all the kingdoms of the world with justice and mercy, if only Christ would bow down to the Devil. American Christians should not take a deal Jesus rejected.”

 It profits a man nothing to give his soul in exchange for the entire world … how can we possibly consider doing so in exchange for Trump’s empty promise of Supreme Court nominees?

It can’t be because of abortion. When George W. Bush was President, 2/3 of the Supreme Court were Republican appointees, and Republicans controlled the White House and all of Congress. Yet Roe remains. We cannot possibly be so naïve as to believe Donald Trump — who until he decided to run as a Republican supported partial birth abortion without restriction — would do more.”
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/trumps-offer-to-christians-is-same-offer-devil-made-christ-168993/#q4SrvfErYHQTKx6o.99

Serving Jesus When You’re Covered in Spit-Up

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Jenny and Michael are going to Africa… again. They’re going to de-worm a million kids, build the area’s first university, nearly eradicate West Nile Virus, and then end it all by awkwardly bobbing to worship music while dripping in sweat surrounded by ever-grateful dancing townspeople. (Please excuse the gross stereotyping and ridiculous exaggeration- it’s all coming from a bitter mind.) The couple stand before us all now, sharing with the congregation what prayer requests they have and other stuff probably. I don’t know because now I’m standing over the bathroom sink vigorously scrubbing spit-up off of my shirt. Jenny’s off to save the world and I reek of sour milk. Score.

I hate this feeling. Jealousy gets me nowhere. Right? I know it doesn’t. But I just really love Jesus and really want to do stuff for him. Be his hands and feet you know? I’m actually being serious. Just a touch of sarcasm. I’m a very passionate person. My heart literally HURTS real pain when I read about suffering in the world. I immediately want to act. I can’t tell you how many other moms I have heard grumble about the fact that we want to go to Africa (or fill in your mission field here) too. It’s hard not to feel like a waste of space when your Christian counterparts are making huge waves for the Kingdom and you’re just trying to make it through the next wave of laundry.

Shrug shoulders. It’s just a season. It’ll be over before you know it. My time will come… So just suck it up and wait until then.

I’m calling bull.

The first thing the enemy wants you to believe is that you are not important for the Kingdom. Go ahead and get sucked-up in tummy-time, then lesson plans, carpooling, perfecting cookie-monster cupcakes… whatever. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is an incredibly important job. But it is never our most important job. Our most important job always, is to be a disciple of Jesus.

The enemy has so succeeded in making us feel so lowly and unimportant that we forget that our sanctification (becoming like Christ) is numero uno. It’s not glamorous. It doesn’t get a spot light.

But when your kid gets cancer.

Or your husband has an affair.

Or your Mom has a stroke.

Or your community encounters a natural disaster.

Your heart is ready to respond. It’s ready to respond in a Christ-like way. You are grounded in His peace, love and wisdom- in the midst of the chaos.

In a way, even though we detest it, we see this season as a sort of “pass” to not engage deeply in the spiritual life. We know that God knows we are quite indisposed and can’t possibly serve the way others can. We know he gives grace. And he does. But there’s also this:

“We are saved by grace, of course, and by it alone, not because we deserve it. That is the basis of God’s acceptance of us. But grace does not mean that sufficient strength and insight will be automatically “infused” into our being in the moment of need. Abundant evidence of this claim is available precisely in the experience of any Chrisitian.” – Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines

How can we expect to respond appropriately to a tantruming two-year-old when we are disconnected from the creator of love, wisdom and peace? Obsessively reading parenting books, Christian or not, is not going to replace the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Ever. Our sanctification is the best parenting tool we have.

Beyond parenting, the Holy Spirit prompts us to serve in ways that are hugely impactful. Taking flowers to your neighbor in a time of need. Sponsoring (and actually corresponding with) children through Compassion International and other similar organizations. Crying with the woman who just lost her baby. Building meaningful relationships. Anytime we let peace, love, joy, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control shine through in our lives we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit. (Borrowed that thought from Jen Hatmaker’s most recent sermon) Don’t minimize your impact. Don’t let the enemy make you feel small. You are so important. Furthermore,  you have no idea what will come your way that will require supernatural strength and provide an opportunity to witness. I’m not talking about evangelizing, I’m talking about actually responding to a situation the way Christ would.

Engaging in sanctification is a gift anyway, right? It’s a gift I wish I would give myself more often. When I engage with Christ I get to dismiss (at times) house cleaning, meal planning, empty conversations, meaningless crafting, shopping, decorating… I don’t know it could be anything that doesn’t really matter. Engaging takes time, but it’s really the best way I get to spend my time. When I start my day with God, I center myself around His Kingdom, not mine. I literally plan my day differently. It’s the days when the cleaning or the shopping or the texting or the whatever overtakes me and I don’t just. stop. I don’t just trust that this time with Him will be well spent and nothing is more important.

It’s a slow process at times. I don’t get the “oohs and ahhs” from my peers or any “likes” on Facebook. There’s no stickers for this one. I have to pray that God will give me a desire to spend time in His word, aaand that He’ll help me to wake-up early (Caleb started me on that prayer- it worked!). Mostly, I pray that I won’t be overwhelmed with my desire to fulfill the “duties” of this world.

You know, there have been times when this dedication has really paid off… and then the times when my neglect is quite evident. His grace is so good, it makes us so loved and so accepted no matter what. But it does not magically make us like Christ. Your whole family can probably attest to that. Sorry, that was harsh, but I’m right a little, yes?

So, what do you do with this? I’m not sure what you need to do but my friend, Kimberly, and I have decided that the best thing we can do is create a discipleship group. We’re going to go through a book about practicing the disciplines and encourage one another. Would you like to join us? Grab another friend or two but try to keep it to 2-3 people because according to Kimberly, that’s when real growth can occur. (She’s kind of a small groups guru- check-out her site here)

Also, here are some books to help you along your journey:

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Another great resource is IF:Equip. They’re starting a new series on the Beattitudes, click on the image below for more info:ccfa405d-d04e-49fc-aa18-1c9e33393917

Please share whatever resources/insight/experience you may have! I’d love to hear it!

The Twenty-One

21 Egyptian Christians Murdered
21 Egyptian Christians Murdered

I’m horrible at writing about relevant events right after they’ve happened. Surely this post should have been delivered two days ago but I just wasn’t ready yet. In my limited thirty-one-year-old wisdom I have learned myself and I have learned that time is better for my words. The words that begged to be shared two days ago are more akin to your pile of laundry than poetry.

Not that I am a poet. But God willing, I hope that my words are valuable.

My heart doesn’t do well with tragedy. My mind doesn’t help. Scenarios flash of the loved ones involved. The phone calls to the victims’ families. The dread of watching your beloved fall victim to pure evil. Innocence lost.

My mind is reeling around what to write about such a sick and twisted event. Do I go political with this? God knows about my temptation to throw my laptop after hearing Fox News’ outtake on the event. Perhaps political isn’t the way to go. Maybe psychology then? Let’s talk about sociopathy. Let’s talk about what drives people to such extremism. That doesn’t feel right either.

So I’ll talk about you. You are probably more interesting than those topics anyway. How do you handle hearing about events such as this? Fall your face to your hands, turn away in despair? Shrug your shoulders and proceed on? Pray? Maybe you’re like me and you feel a tornado of anger swell up within. Wanting answers. Wanting the only answer to: How do we stop this?

As Christians, we know that the world isn’t doomed to get any better until it gets worse. This is destiny. Yet, we live in the paradox of our faith which calls us to bringing Heaven to Earth. We  were made by a just God and therefore long for justice.

We stop this by YOU stopping this. That’s the only way. We can’t do this without you. You must follow your calling to bring Heaven down here. You mustn’t stop until you must. We are called to this. We are called to bring love and reconciliation and peace and justice.

Someone (I’m not getting political so I won’t specify whom)  said that the answer to this problem of ISIS is to address the root of the problem. Why do people join terrorist groups? Why do people join gangs? Why do bullies exist? These are humans, heart-beating, lungs-filling type people. They are flesh and blood. They are not cannibalistic animals born to destroy. They are we.

I don’t know how you’ll stop this. Only you know that. Only you know the specific ways in which God has called you to bring your piece of Heaven down. Maybe it doesn’t even seem related. Maybe it seems insignificant.

Nothing of Christ is insignificant.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you what significance He has for you. Pray that this Lent season will bring you closer to Him and Heaven closer to Earth. Pray.

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