Saturday, October 28, 2006

We're Alive

I know, it may be surprising. We have not been around the blog much for the past few days, but yes, we are still in the land of the living. Due to school and other commitments, we haven't had much time to blog. As a result, we are taking the next couple of weeks off from writing for BftH.

We'll miss you. Talk to you soon!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dryness (According to MacDonald & The Psalmist)

"That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, 'Thou art my refuge.'"


"My soul longs for Your salvation; I hope in Your word. My eyes long for Your promise; I ask, 'When will You comfort me?'" -Psalm 119:81-82

"And when he can no longer feel the truth, he shall not therefore die. He lives because God is true; and he is able to know that he lives because he knows, having once understood the word that God is truth. He believes in the God of former vision, lives by that word therefore, when all is dark and there is no vision."

-Pages 1, 16, from George MacDonald: An Anthology, compiled by C.S. Lewis

Thursday, October 19, 2006

True Beauty




Perhaps you've seen ads from Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. I'm glad that the problem of society's view of beauty is being recognized as it is---a problem. But I'm afraid that the "answer" of "self esteem" proposed by Dove is not going to help matters. It is not until human life is valued and each life seen as an intricately designed creation of God, that the definition of beauty will be effectively altered.

Just the same, a couple of Dove's short movies have been excellent. Spunkyhomeschool highlighted Dove's interviews with girls regarding their perception of beauty, and Girl Talk has recently brought up Dove's film of a modeling shoot. They're both eye-openers.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Mission of Generation X

Part One/Part Two/Part Three

Christian leaders today are asking, what is the future of Christianity in America? What will this new generation, “Generation X,” do with the faith of their fathers? “I’m looking at the data,” said Ron Luce, founder of the popular Teen Mania youth rallies, “and we’ve become post-Christian America, like post-Christian Europe. We’ve been working as hard as we know how to work — everyone in youth ministry is working hard — but we’re losing.”

The Christian portion of Generation X has its work cut out for it. It is estimated that 42% of American women will have an abortion before the age of forty-five. According to a recent census, only “49.7 percent” of American households are based upon marriage. “Co-habitation” has taken the lead as the most common “lifestyle.” Within the next few years, Generation X can choose to either uphold these statistics or do away with them.

Our Opportunity

Imagine if every female did not consider herself just physically different from males, but a uniquely feminine creation, made in the image of God with a special role. Imagine how different our society would be if women viewed themselves Biblically. Women would not be valued not as commercial items, nor as independent individuals thrown out the door at the age of eighteen to live their own lives, but as people much Beloved of God.

It is not the presidents, senators, celebrities, or national icons with whom is entrusted the opportunity to change to culture for Christ. We, the young women of Generation X, have been given the opportunity. We have the chance to conform to Biblical femininity, and in so doing, show the world that we are followers of Christ through our wholehearted obedience.

We're Not Alone

When Moses was leading the Israelites through the wilderness, he realized how dependent he was on God. "If Your Presence does not go with us,” Moses said, “do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Exodus 33:15)

It is vital for us to remember, as beautiful as femininity, modesty, and purity are, these principles alone will not save society. They will impact society positively, but will fail in true bringing about true transformation. If we attempt to change the culture positively without Christ, we will be doing only what every other political and human-wellness group has done in the past. We will be approaching the symptoms of the problem, without addressing the heart of the issue.

Our hearts must first be changed, and within us must dwell a passionate desire to go only where God leads. We must be as Moses. With hearts so focused on Jesus that we obey out of love for Him and a desire for His glory, how could the culture not be changed?
_______________________
Sources:

Ron Luce quote: Laurie Goodstein. "Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers," New York Times, Oct. 6, 2006

Abortion statistics from "Citizen Link"

Marriage statistics: Sam Roberts. "To Be Married Means to Be Outnumbered," New York Times, Oct. 16, 2006

Note: Our technical problems have (hopefully) been fixed. Unfortunately, the comments didn't make it. We're very sorry for the inconvenience.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

More on Feminism Vs. Femininity


Carolyn McCulley, whose blog is one of my very favorites, recently penned her personal testimony. She describes her journey from feminism to femininity:
I reached college filled to the brim with the "wisdom" of Cosmopolitan magazine, but I was to encounter something more insidious than fashion magazines - feminism and the Women’s Studies Department. Class after class promoted perpetual victimhood, disrespect toward all men, an overt embrace of lesbianism, and a broadly directed militant anger. I became a teaching assistant in that department for a semester before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a certificate in women’s studies. My twenties were more of the same and then some. I remember when I was 29 that I was so confused and depressed that I entered into therapy to figure out why I was so angry ... and for that matter, why I was still single. (Not that the two could possibly be related, right?!) Obviously, I did not have a very positive outlook on my femininity, and my therapist did not make much headway. However, God graciously intervened just as I turned 30.
Keep reading here.

HT: Girl Talk

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Chick-Flick


Beauty from the Heart's first attempt at making a movie has returned to the internet, thanks to Youtube. It premiered a while back, but due to technical difficulties was removed from our site.

Click here to watch it....

(Click here to watch our second attempt at film-making, too.)

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

"I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" Part 2

Haven't read Part 1? Click here.

"Feminism...is the cutting edge of a revolution in cultural and moral values... The objective of every feminist reform, from legal abortion ... to child-care programs, is to undermine traditional family values."
-Ellen Willis, November 14, 1981 issue of The Nation

"Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women's movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage."

-Sheila Cronan

"I am woman, hear me roar/In numbers too big to ignore/And I know too much to go back an' pretend 'cause I've heard it all before... /If I have to, I can do anything/I am strong (strong)/I am invincible (invincible)/I am woman.... /With a long long way to go/Until I make my brother understand."

-"I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" by Helen Reddy

“The utopia envisioned by ideological feminists would be a world free from any concern for gender--a world where masculinity and femininity are erased as antiquated notions, and an age in which the categories of male and female are malleable and negotiable.”
- Albert Mohler

We live in a culture that is saturated with feminism. In the name of equality, feminists demand gender neutrality, insisting that there is absolutely no difference between the sexes. Feminism's indignant cries in the name of justice are only shabbily-disguised attempts to forever do away with the “archaic notions” of manhood and womanhood. Chivalry is shunned, mistaken for chauvinism, and all submission to male authority is considered degrading and demeaning.

Sameness is the goal.

Equal, But Unique

The Bible offers a very different message. Although feminists are right when they say that men and women are created equal, they naturally assume that equal means the same. That’s where their error lies.
Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.”

God created both men and women in His own image, making us spiritually equal individuals. But He also created us with distinctly different roles. In Genesis 2:20-24, we see that God created woman to be man’s helper. In marriage especially, man was created to be the leader, and woman to be his helper.


Submit? Who, me?

"So, who do you think should be the leader in the family?" I asked.

She smiled before responding to the question. "Well, I believe in a democracy. Both the man and the woman should lead. But, you know, in many cases it depends on the man. Some men just shouldn't lead a family. Sometimes the wife is far more competent!"

My face expressed my disbelief. "But... but that's totally unbiblical!"

This view on roles within the family are very common. Many believe that submission to husbands and fathers shows weakness, but in fact, the opposite is true. Submissiveness is a beautiful virtue. Far from appearing as weakness, it shows inner strength and a spirit that trusts in God.

Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:22-24: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

Ephes. 6:1, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."

The gender roles described by God in the Bible are balanced. But since we are sinful people, these roles can be twisted. Unhealthy, controlling leadership in a husband or father is devastating to the dynamics of a Christian family. A girl or woman can mistakenly allow herself to be taken advantage of physically and emotionally by her father or husband, while thinking that she is submitting. Women in these abusive situations must seek immediate, godly counsel.

The Root of the Problem
Feminism isn't really about equality, you see. It goes down to the heart: worshipping ourselves rather than the Creator. Our hearts are naturally rebellious; we have no desire to submit to any authority. Without Christ, it is utterly impossible for us to submit to our fathers, and, one day, to our future husbands. Only when our hearts are before God, broken and humble, can we accomplish this. If we cannot first joyfully submit to the Lordship of Christ in our lives, how can we expect to joyfully submit ourselves to our earthly fathers and future spouses?

You and I may not be feminists, but we still struggle with feminist attitudes. We all have the same constant challenge: to die to ourselves daily, and live for God; to kill pride by putting others above ourselves.

Questions For Discussion

  • How does submission relate to the ungodly father/husband, and the non-Christian father/husband?
  • How can we help our fathers to become better leaders?
  • What does Genesis 3:16b mean, and how does it relate to this topic?
Sources:
Photo courtesy of Peter Gustafsen

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Our Birthday....


"But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, 'Let God be exalted!'"
-Psalm 70:4








There's not much we can say on our first birthday besides, "Wow! God is good!" We can't believe that we have survived a full year of blogging!

This first year has been an amazing learning experience for all of us. In spite of our different personalities, we have learned how to work as a team and develop close friendships. We have learned so much from each other and from you---our readers. You mean so much to us! We are blessed in every discussion with you.


With anticipation for the future and thankfulness for this past year,

Lindsey, Kristin, Stephanie and Hannah

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Confused and In Love

We interrupt regularly scheduled posting to bring you this important message!

We recently received an e-mail (via Agent Tim) with questions regarding dating/courtship. We don't profess to have all the answers (there are many people from whom it would be better to ask advice), but we do think that this e-mail contains questions which many of us have. We've done our best to answer them Biblically, and we're interested in your input as well.


Here's the note:

Hi,

I recently started “courting/dating” a guy. I am 99.999% positive he in “the one”….I don’t want to compromise on my standards as far as a physical relationship goes (ex: I want our first kiss to be on our wedding day- or at least when we get engaged) but my parents don’t want us to even touch each other at all till out wedding day… I think holding hands would be ok, and so does my boyfriend… any suggestions on what to do without disrespecting my parents [sic] rules?

Also… how can I let him know how I feel about him without being too forward or assumptuious or scaring him off? I want him to have to pursues me, not have it like I am chasing him…

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

~Confused and in love


Dear Confused,

We’re glad to see that you are trying to find the right answer to your question! Our hearts go out to you, because we don’t want you to be confused any more! We have attempted to reply your letter Biblically, and also with the advice of our parents.

There are many nuances in your question which we would like to address:

Firstly, Colossians 3:20 says “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 6:2 says, "Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the land…" Notice it doesn't say, "Honor your father and mother when you feel like it.” Whether or not your parent’s standards are different than your own, you must obey them. If your parents say that holding hands is wrong, then you must abide by their personal conviction.

Until your wedding day, you are still under the authority of your father. Unless his commands go directly against the commands God has given in the Bible, you must obey. And what is the result of obedience? "Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the land..." You will be blessed!

The second question you brought up was how to “let him know” your feelings without being forward. Now, you mentioned earlier that you are in a dating/courting relationship. Is the purpose of this relationship finding whether it would be wise for you to be married? Are you praying and seeking God’s will for the future of this relationship, with the intention and result of this relation being marriage? If this is the case, you should not need to share your feelings for him. The fact that you are interested in him as a future marriage partner should be obvious, since that is why you are dating!

If the guy you are dating has not stated up-front whether his intentions are marriage, you should definitely discuss this with him. Ask him, “Why are we dating? What is the point?” If he responds that he “isn’t sure,” then you must realize that you are very possibly dating another woman’s husband-to-be.

You mentioned that you are 99.999% positive that he is “the one.” If he is the one God has chosen for you, then fear of “losing him” should never motivate any of your actions. If God has chosen him for you, then God’s plan will work out in His timing.

However, we would encourage you not to give your heart to him until you are married. Song of Solomon 2:7 pleads with us, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” If God has called you to marriage, He has a beautiful, perfect plan for your love story. Love Him first, withholding your heart from any man until your wedding day, and He, who Himself is love (1 John 4:8) can guide your footsteps in through this season of your life. Trust and obedience is all that is required.

God has given you two very key resources to aid you:

First and foremost, there is nothing more important for you to read than God’s Word. Let Him give you guidance and wisdom for this time.

Also, your parents are absolutely invaluable! From your letter, it seems that they do care about how you spend your courting days. Ask their advice! Sit down with them and pour out your heart! Your parents love you, and are the people that God designed to help guide you. Do not be afraid to share your concerns with them.

We appreciate your letter! May God bless you and give you guidance! You are in our prayers.

In Christ,

The Beauty from the Heart Contributors


If the topic of this post was something that stirred your heart, or is something that you have been contemplating lately, we recommend also reading the following:
Click here, here and here.

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