Obesity in the Church

No, I don’t mention this in the context of male-female relations. That horse has been slaughtered over here many times.

Oh noes. This is about a larger problem.

I used to joke about how I always thought “Full Gospel” was a reference to the size of pastoral waistlines. In fact, I often wondered if Dunlop’s Disease (“stomach dun-lopped over my belt”) was a prerequisite for being a pastor.

But it’s no longer a joking matter.

Not long before I got married, JRC, one of the members in my youth group–during my tour of duty as a youth minister–died at age 34 from complications of Type II diabetes that had long been exacerbated by his chronic obesity.

Just last week, a friend of mine–CD–from a previous church life died at age 36 from congestive heart failure. No one knew he had it, until he developed pneumonia and ended up in the hospital, where the docs discovered that his heart was dangerously weak. He had no chance.

CD was a cheerful guy, albeit socially awkward because he was mentally handicapped. But CD was also quite rotund: he was a heavy eater–he was one of those guys who would raid the potlucks and go for the all-you-can-eat buffets. While obesity does not always cause CHF, I’d hazard a very educated guess that his lifestyle was a huge contributory factor.

I say none of this to pile onto CD or JRC. They were each mentally not quite all there; my gripe was the larger culture–including their own parents–who coddled them too much and enabled their lifestyles.

At the same time, their cases bring home a larger issue that–I must confess–Christians as a group need to address soberly.

No, I’m not the food police. Nor have I any desire to micromanage what you put into your mouth.

At the same time, last time I checked my bible, gluttony is a sin. And while all obesity is not the result of gluttony, a heck of a lot of it in the Church is. (If you disagree, then fine, but then it is on you to show that Christians who attend church regularly have a genetic issue that facilitates this more so than Buddhists.)

I DO put the blame squarely on the pastors in this one. It pisses me off, because their negligence is feeding a culture that is leading to higher morbidity and loss of vitality, on top of presenting a mockery of a witness for the Gospel.

Advice from PhD Scientist: Put off Career, Get Married Earlier

Susan “Princeton Mom” Patton created a firestorm by writing this editorial for the Wall Street Journal.

The feminist establishment has their panties in the mother of all twists. If you don’t believe me, read the comments for that article.

Reinforcing Patton’s advice, Vox Day has followed up with this, where a PhD scientist, who married in her 40s and has quit her job to be a SAHM, chimes in.

“The idea that women are too focused on being intellectual, or shouldn’t have career aspirations that would allow them to earn more than their (potential) husbands is absurd and patently offensive.”

She’s wrong. It’s not absurd or offensive, it’s straight-up truth. And it’s not even so much about the money (although, for the health of a marriage I do believe the husband should be the breadwinner), but about sacrificing career aspirations to do the single most important thing a woman can do, which is to get married and raise a family.

I am a highly intellectual woman with a successful professional career, and I realize now what a mistake I’ve made by not settling down and having children early. I married 12 years ago, but put off having children in order to finish graduate school and establish my scientific career. Last December, at the age of 42, I had a baby daughter. I realize now that this would’ve been MUCH easier 10 or 20 years ago. It’s not only a struggle to care for a newborn at my age, but making the sudden shift from a woman who has, for decades, been very busy with intellectual pursuits and relatively unencumbered by responsibility to a stay-at-home mom has been unexpectedly difficult.

My own dear departed mother got married at 19 and had me and my brother at 21 and 22 years of age. I look at old photos of her with us as babies, and she looks deliriously happy. She LOVED being a mother. She had that crazy young-person energy you need to raise babies and no established adult life that she felt like she was losing in order to become a mother. Later, when my brother and I were older, she went back to university to finish her degree and enjoyed many happy years as a teacher.

I regret putting off children for so long. I wish I had put off my graduate education and career in order to have had more healthy children. (My first daughter had a fatal chromosomal abnormality and was stillborn. The risk for such problems increases sharply with maternal age — another reason to start having children young.) The one thing I did right was to learn to cook and keep house, the love and skill of which I learned from my mother at a young age. But motherhood has not come easy at 40+. For that reason, I will tell every girl I know (including my daughter) to not make the same mistake I did. Put off the career. Learn to cook and keep house, find a good man and get married young, and start having babies as soon as possible.

I really like Vox’s statement: “So, who are you going to listen to, young women? Who do you think knows what she’s talking about, the woman with both the PhD and the child or the crazy cat ladies with neither physics degrees nor children?”

Some will read what Vox and myself are saying, and think we are misogynists who seek to keep women from achieving and being their best.

Quite the contrary; while I cannot answer for Vox, I simply have observed that, as a general rule, women want to get married and have kids. In their heart of hearts, they want this more than they want a nice career. This is normal and to be celebrated.

I’ve met ZERO old fogeys who married early and had kids and ditched their career aspirations only to regret it. I’ve met plenty who forsook marriage and family life for careers and wish they had done the opposite. I’ve met plenty who forsook marriage and family life, and now cannot find a man to marry. I’ve met others who married later but now must rely on technology to conceive a baby.

I have a good friend at work who is in her early 40s, debt-free, in great condition, doesn’t (to the best of my knowledge) ride the carousel, and wishes she could get married. In her most fertile years, it didn’t work out for her. Some of that is on her, some of that is on circumstances. Sure, she’s liberal. But she’d otherwise make a good catch for someone. Trouble is, her best marriageable years are behind her. She has baggage, and has acquired cynicism as a result. Not only are other men skeptical of her, she is skeptical of them in ways she would not have been 20 years ago.

Here’s the thing, though: we put a lot of emphasis training boys and girls to prepare for adulthood. We insist that they go to college, get degrees, and pursue the professional career paths. What we DON’T do–as a society–is train them to prepare for marriage and family life. We do not teach them about the economic tradeoffs and challenges because that would appear sexist or misogynist.

And for those who don’t like what I am saying, I have some honest questions for you:

(1) If this were no big deal, then why does Kate Bolick even get any press? Why is it even a news story that women who don’t marry early will have a harder time marrying?

(2) If this were no big deal, then why the outrage over what Susan Patton is saying?

Now some might also ask why we should consider Patton–or Stickwick (the gal who wrote to Vox)–over the feminists?

I would suggest this: the feminists have more to gain with other women being as miserable as they are. It’s a strength in numbers thing.

I have met very few single women who are older than 30 who are happy. And I mean very few. Almost all of them wish they could get married. The conservative, non-feminists HATE being single and WANT a husband and kids.

But here is the thing: even the feminists want that. They just don’t want to admit. The very few happy feminists I know, have a strong husband and at least two kids.

As for the single feminists I know? They are the most miserable of people. And the thing that they despise the most: the happily-married conservative woman. Particularly if she has more than two kids. It’s unbridled envy.

So, feminists, what is the problem with Patton’s column? Is it that she expresses a truth that you don’t want to accept? Is it that she is speaking to your situation and you know she is right?

Or is she just wrong?

If she is wrong, you are more than welcome to make your case here.

So, It’s Valentine’s Day

Sooo, it’s Valentine’s Day! So Happy Valentine’s Day.

From the divorce on, holidays became blah. They get a little better each year – I’m trying not to be such a Scrooge!

My girls love this day because there’s chocolate. My Oldest gave me a hug and wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day. I told my Youngest she was my Valentine, and I got the, “Oh, gross, Mom! I’m fourteen!” Whatever. She will still take candy if I get it for her, and she’ll agree to being my Valentine if it’s a requirement to actually get the candy.

Youngest and I talked about her friend, Catie, from our old town this morning. I told her Catie’s mom is engaged; Catie’s dad died several years ago. My daughter said, “I hope he’s good to her.” Then she said, “I can kinda relate; I don’t have much of a dad, either. He sends me cards, and I talk to him from time-to-time, but that’s about it. He’s not much of a daddy.” We talked about my husband some and his role as her step dad … and how he doesn’t want to be anything to them that they don’t want. “I know,” she said, “that’s why I like him so much.” A man who cares more about things being done his way … and a man who cares more about what the kids need. Harsh, daily, comparison. The sad but healthy thing about it is that she was rather matter-of-fact about it all. She’s worked really hard on all this stuff, and I am so thankful she’s in a good place. We work hard to honor her father, to point out his strengths and his good points, to give them a dad they can love. And to also teach and model forgiveness.

One of Oldest’s BFF’s is coming over to spend the night tonight. Sadly, she has a very bad dad. My daughter is very protective of her friend and wants to kidnap her and not let her go back, but, alas, reality is a hard thing to face sometimes. The interesting thing, although truly sad, is that both she and I have been given a window into what it would have looked like if her dad had never left. My daughter has become thankful for the divorce – not in a jump-up-and-down-let’s-throw-a-party kind of way, but in a grateful to God kind of way … grateful to God that He protected us from so much bad stuff. Me, too.

My girls are my Valentines. I am so proud of them and eternally grateful for them. I have prayed over them since before they were born. I have prayed that God would raise me up to be and become the Mommy the each needed/needs me to be and become just for them. I can truly say that this has often not been what I would have thought it would be. But I can also say God is faithful. My girls are 16 and 14, and they are incredible young ladies. They have hearts of gold. They have amazing personalities. They are developing strong character and integrity. And they know how to love … and they express their love to me every day.

Long before their age I had stopped showing any kind of affection to my parents – it was not comfortable. I honestly cannot remember any affection with my parents growing up. So when my girls come up to me and hug me and tell me they love me and tell me I’m the best mom in the world, I want to cry (but since they hate it when I cry, I don’t!). I fall at the feet of Jesus in deep gratitude that I am becoming the Mom that I always wanted to have when I was growing up … and still wish I had today.

God is good. I am blessed. I am loved. So I will not be a Scrooge today. My girls, and my amazing husband, will be very grateful.

Federal Judge: Kentucky Must Recognize Homogamy

In 2004, when asked about gay marriage in the Vice Presidential debate, Sen. Jonathan Edwards (D-SC) insisted that it was a non-issue, because, “under the law of this country for the last 200 years, no state has been required to recognize another state’s marriage.”

Edwards, a master salesman, disingenuously failed to include the word yet at the end of the sentence.

He also ignored what conservatives had realized years earlier: the strategy for the gay rights movement was to get one or more states to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, then use this as a pretext for forcing all other states to recognize such “marriages” by invoking the Full Faith and Credit clause in the Constitution.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn continued this charade by refusing to consider the  common law prohibitions against sodomy–which predate our Constitution by over a thousand years–and force Kentucky to accept gay “marriages” from other states.

In so doing, Heyburn has forced Kentucky to accept a definition of marriage that is akin to forcing one to recognize a naked emperor as fully-clothed. (Declaring falsehood to be true does not make it any less false.)

Once again, a small but well-connected and vocal minority has succeeded in getting the courts to impose on states what could not be accomplished via legislation.

Conservatives understood that, to defeat gay “marriage”, a Constitutional Amendment is necessary. That Amendment must either (a) define marriage as one man and one woman, or (b) declare that neither the federal government nor the several states may regulate marriage, and remand that back to religious institutions.

But make no mistake: no state law, no State Constitutional Amendment, no federal law, will stop this. Only a Constitutional Amendment or a national Christian resurgence will carry the day.

But until we get the latter, we have no chance of getting the former. And the decline will continue.

Nye vs. Ham: A Stalemate

“Science Guy” Bill Nye stirred up a hornet’s nest when he told a group of Creationists, “[I]f you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.”

The resultant backlash led to last week’s debate between Nye and Creation Museum director Ken Ham over the issue of origins. Nye, a scientific materialist, was representing the hardcore evolution side, with Ham–a Young Earth Creationist (YEC)–representing the Christian side. Al Mohler provides his take on it. Moderator Tom Foreman provides his assessment. I will provide mine.

First, some opening stipulations.

(1) Having mulled over Genesis 1-2 no small number of times over the course of almost 40 years, I do not believe that the Creation account requires a YEC model. One can take a high view of Biblical authority (i.e. inerrancy) and still accept the premise of an old earth and universe. The transition from verse 1 to verse 2 leaves sufficient latitude that a reasonable reading can allow that the earth was not created on the first day.

(2) I do not accept macro-evolution across the board: from what I have seen, it appears valid in plant life, but the “evidence” for it in animal life is more sizzle than steak. Evolutionary models developed to date are very inconsistent, and–for all the hype–have failed to produce a testable basis that can be evaluated via the scientific method.

Ergo, to date, macro-evolution has remained outside the scope of the scientific method.

(3) While YECs have made some valid inroads challenging the “science” behind evolution, it is also true that Creation is outside the scope of the scientific method.

This is not a swipe against Creationism; after all, if you could design an experiment that produces God every time, then God would be subject to Man, and therefore would not be God…

(4) I believe Ham was not the best person to debate Nye. This is because Ham is hostile to the Intelligent Design crowd, which has actually made the best advances in the Creation v. Evolution debate. Michael Behe, a biochemistry professor from Lehigh University, has provided a testable scientific criteria for Irreducible Complexity (IC). Behe and Bill Dembski would have eaten Nye’s lunch, and it would not have been a fair fight.

At the same time, irrespective of what I think of YEC or Ham or the Creation Museum, the bottom line is this: Ham was representing Christians in that debate. I wanted him to acquit himself well–and not screw up–because, depending on his performance, Christians would come out looking like educated people who believe God with a rational, reasonable faith, or like ignorant Neanderthals. The last thing I wanted to see was an Inherit The Wind moment.

Overall, the debate was a stalemate. It appears that Nye–an otherwise intelligent man–is clearly not up to snuff on the latest issues in the Creation v. evolution debate. His “reasonable man” argument was the perfect opportunity for Ham to overrun him by using Nye’s own undergraduate education–engineering–against him to make the case for both a Designer and the reasonable case that Man is made in the image of that Designer.

(After all, the mathematical signature of a homeostatic control system is identical to those of mechanical control systems that engineers design every day. And that design signature is specific to human-like intelligence, as no other life form has designed such systems whereas humans have designed no small amount of them.)

When Nye raised the “reasonable man” defense against Noah’s ark, Ham whiffed on a golden opportunity to reinforce the premise that it is indeed reasonable, as every culture in the world has a flood narrative. From an eyewitness standpoint, a reasonable case exists that there was indeed a great flood. And if the flood was so massive that every world culture has written about it, then a reasonable person can accept the premise that something extraordinary allowed for the survival of human and land-dwelling animal life.

Ultimately, Ham and Nye proceeded to argue past each other.

The problem that Creationists have in this debate is that they must confront science by separating wheat from chaff, as when Nye refers to science, he is conflating three things:

(1) Science as a methodology for understanding the natural world. This involves using the scientific method–observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and evaluation–to develop our body of knowledge.

(2) Science as an institution (which I shall refer to as institutional science). This is an academic system that places great weight on first earning a credential (usually a PhD) that provides the gateway toward the authority to perform research and write papers for publications. The problem with this system is that (a) the peer review process is rife with fraud and back-scratching such that the “science” behind many papers has no experimental basis, and (b) it fosters a logical appeal to consensus or appeal to authority when an outsider questions the veracity of the “science”. Given that this institution receives no small amount of public money, it is within everyone’s interest to confront institutional science about these abuses, as they undermine the integrity of science.

(3) Science as a religion. Our understanding of law and justice is rooted in common law, which has its roots in the Old and New Testaments. At the same time, institutional science has sought to undermine these roots and use the nebulous appeal to their institution as a pretext to supersede law with their own peer-reviewed “science”. Ergo, while clamoring about “separation of Church and State”, they not only want no such “separation”, they just want to supplant the Church with themselves. That is the height of arrogance, and it undermines the integrity of science.

While scientists bristle at these confrontations, it is also fair to point out that very few Christians complain about secular outsiders who confront sexual abuses–and their coverups–within the Catholic Church. Whether it is the Church or the Academy, the veracity of either depends on fostering institutional integrity.

In this debate about origins, we must not hesitate to point out what has been established as science, and what has proven to be elusive, while using what we do know of science to make the case for the faith.

Ham is no dummy, but he should invite Nye for a second round. I suggest inviting Nye, and two other evolution supporters of his choice, to a low-key panel discussion with Ham and two Darwin-skeptics of his choice. If I’m Ham, I pull all the stops to get Behe and Dembski at the table.

Then watch the walls come down.

My $0.02 on Rachel Frederickson, Season 15 Winner of The Biggest Loser

Of course Rachel Frederickson lost too much weight too fast. And yes, at first glance she appears anorexic. I’ve dated a gal who was anorexic. I know what anorexic looks like. Rachel looks anorexic. And if that is the case, then she has swapped one dangerous situation (catastrophic obesity) for another (anorexia).

That’s not to blame Rachel; she was in a competition that rewards pure weight loss at any cost, the only surprise is that this is the first time any contestant has done what she has done. (Or if she is not the first one, she certainly is the first to look as if she has.)

Oh no. This one is on the folks at The Biggest Loser. They have fostered a culture of “lose weight at any cost”, and this is the result. The only surprise is that Rachel is the first winner to look this drastic.

By focusing solely on weight loss, TBL promotes unhealthy practices in their “reality show” competition. Other contestants have admitted going to extreme measures to “make weight” for the weigh-ins, and it has not been uncommon for contestants, even winners, to regain every pound and then some.

But Rachel is the first winner to actually “look” unhealthy.

This should force TBL to take a long, fresh look at their format, and make some major changes. Here’s what I suggest:

(1) Fire every trainer and “expert” currently on the show. Irrespective of what good Bob, Jillian, and Dolvett have done, the time has arrived for new faces who will foster a new culture.

(2) Expand the contest to an entire year: three months at the ranch, and 9 months at home. Provide a prize for those who win at the ranch (perhaps $100,000) while allowing all contestants–including those eliminated–to be eligible to compete for the top prize at the end of the year. The contestant with the best performance off the ranch would get a prize (perhaps $100,000) and the overall winner would get ($250,000). This would create a potential for a winner to take home $450,000. Even an eliminated contestant could still win up to $350,000.

(3) Create a new standard–a Wellness Index–that is age-calibrated to score each contestant. That index should include a number of factors: lean body mass, body fat percentage, V02MAX, blood sugar, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol, and performance in selected physical activities. Provide each contestant with a score at the start of the season, and–each week–score them on how much they improve their score against that benchmark.

(4) Create an additional standard that would serve as a bonus that can help in close competitions. This standard would be behavior-based and would focus on food choices at home, preparation of meals, food selection at restaurants, ability to avoid unhealthy choices, getting proper exercise. This can include additional points for completing athletic events, such as 5K races, 10Ks, all the way up to ultramarathons and triathlons, with higher scores for more difficult events. (And winning any event would carry even more points.)

This would allow for some “game playing” on the ranch while rewarding sustained performance over the course of the year.

Matt Walsh Nails It

I can’t say I disagree with Walsh on this.

Dalrock has a nice take on some of the comments. Some of the ladies can’t seem to take the heat, even though men have been dealing with it for a long time.

As I’ve mentioned before, when men call other men out on their sins, they tend to feel brave doing so, and men generally will acknowledge their failure. When men call women out they feel like they are being a bully, and even worse when you call a woman out you are off for a day at the (hamster) races.

Parents, NOT Teachers.

Share This With All the Schools, Please, came up on my facebook feed.

I think it’s really cool what this teacher is doing. My sister teaches 5th grade and has done something similar for years.

I’m not too thrilled with how the author ended this piece, though.  She wrote:

TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one  is watching-  it’s our best hope.

Teachers- you’ve got a million parents behind you whispering together: “We don’t care about the damn standardized tests. We only care that you teach our children to be Brave and Kind. And we thank you. We thank you for saving lives.”

Parents should be, “the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives.”

And Salvation through Jesus Christ, the one and only Living Son of the one and only Living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, IS “the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world.”

She’s absolutely right that I don’t care at all for Standardized Tests – those can be ditched and burned, yesterday.

But if I’m sending my child to school, any school, I hope they know that teaching them to be “Brave and Kind” is primarily my responsibility as their parent – though, as a society, adults should all be role models for bravery and kindness, including teachers.

However, it is certainly and by far not the “only” thing I care that they are being taught in school. I want my kids to be taught how to read and to love to read … to be taught math … science … accurate history … arts … athletics … with enough passion to stir within them at least an affinity for these subjects and not a hate.

Shame on parents for dumping their responsibility for their children on the schools (and church).