John and Kate and the Impossiblity of Marriage

John and Kate plus 8 is a widely popular show about a a family with eight kids, six of them from one birth.  They have had a show on TLC for a couple of years now chronicling the rasing of their 8 kids and the trials/adventures the family has faced.  Well fame has had a price for the Gosselin family as John and Kate’s marriage is now on the rocks.

I have seen the show a few times over the years and each time I have had two reactions. 1.  Raised levels of anxiety as I would picture what it would be like to try and raise 8 kids and take them out in public. 2. How there seemed to be a constant nagging and negativity dynamic that had developed between John and Kate.  Now I know that raising 8 kids is stressful and I thought that most of their tension and animosity toward each other was more due to how they handled difficult situations.

Yet I was always bothered by the interview parts of the show in which Kate would launch into long diatribes about how John was messing things up or not doing things right and John would sit there with this glazed look on his face as if he had been raptured from his body.

Well with the season premiere this last week it was well known that John and Kate’s marriage was in dire straights.  Ratings were higher than ever with a record 10 million viewers turning in to see the ice storm that had become the marriage of John and Kate.

Christianity Today had an excellent article recently on how massive amounts of bitterness had enveloped John and Kate’s relationship and how as professing Christians they should seek biblical counseling and accountability from other Christians.

Yet the reason I blog about this is not so people googling the topic will come to our blog, but because it highlights how foundational and practical a robust understanding of the Gospel is to marital life.  Mark Driscoll routinely says that when you put to sinners together for life you have to have something to do with the sin that will ensue.  Otherwise you will always get death; death of intimacy, death of affection, death of honesty, and ultimately the death of the marriage.

The bitterness that has manifested in the marriage of John and Kate is not uncommon, in fact it is quite common in marriage.  It is the residue of unresolved sin. It is sin that has not been atoned for.  Either Jesus will pay for the sin done in marriage or you and your spouse will.  There is no third option.

Crystal and I have to continually remind ourselves that our marriage and love for each other does not have to die and suffer for the sin we commit against each other, because Jesus has already atoned for it.

Marriage is precious but absolutely impossible without a means for dealing with sin (the Cross), and a source for reconciliation (The Grace that is a result of the work of the Cross).

ryan

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10 Ways to Celebrate Easter without the Bunny

My wife has a GREAT post on her blog about Easter traditions. We are spending our first year as parenting researching and seeking to prayerfully develop traditions that help the deep traditions of our faith become real in the lives of us and our children. Click the picture for 10 Ways to Celebrate Easter without the Bunny.

matt

Thanksgiving, Family, and Snow

img_1823

img_1813 Here is my awesome dog Tucker after eating his Thanksgiving dinner.  I am thankful for him because he is the best dog in the world, and brings us great joy.

img_1816 I am thankful for such an amazing Thanksgiving dinner.  Everything we had was delicious and led me to eat more than I should have.  Most of all though I am thankful for my amazing wife who worked very hard to make such a great meal.  She is truly a beautiful woman who constantly encourages, supports, and loves me, even when I don’t deserve it.

img_1824 This was the tasty pumpkin cake with pomegranate seeds that Crystal and my mother in law made.  We were blessed and thankful to have Crystal’s parents with us as we celebrated Thanksgiving.  They are always so kind and loving toward us.  I am thankful for them and all the rest of my family that I could not be with, such as my mom and sisters in Rockford.

img_0196 Also God blessed us with our first major snowfall of the season.  Couple that with some Christmas music, hot chocolate and you have the recipe for fond memories.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as fun as mine.

ryan

John Calvin on 1 Timothy 5:8

Many pastors like to use 1 Timothy 5:8 to build upon the theology that a man must be the material provider for his home. While this is a theology I ascribe to, it was pointed out to me (by a really close friend) recently that 1 Timothy 5:8 does not in fact support this theology. Perhaps John Calvin says it best,

Erasmus
has translated it, “If any woman do not provide for her own,” making it
apply exclusively to females. But I prefer to view it as a general
statement; for it is customary with Paul, even when he is treating of
some particular subject, to deduce arguments from general principles,
and, on the other hand, to draw from particular statements a universal
doctrine. And certainly it will have greater weight, if it apply both
to men and to women.

If it is applied to both men and women can we really use it to support husband as the sole provider? What do you think?

matt

Time In Seattle

On our vaction we were fortunate enough to get to spend two days in Seattle before setting out on our Cruise.  During our time in Seattle we stayed at the swanky Westin, which was within walking distance to Pikes Market.

We were on the 23rd floor.

Upon Matt’s recommendation we went to Pike’s Brewery and I ordered the beer sampler.  The beer was excellent but I ended up dropping one on my lap.  My father in-law found this hilarious and did everything he could to draw attention to it as we walked around Pikes Market for the next hour.  Don’t worry I got him back later in the week by sending a room service order to his room that included about 12 cups of juice and 9 boxes of cereal.

Most of the rest of our time we spent just doing regular tourist activities in the downtown area.  For example his is my beautiful wife at the famous fish market.

We also got a chance to visit the Red Hook Brewery where Crystal and I had toured with Matt and Vicky a few years ago.  Without Matt there though, I abstained from the beer float and and engaging in any digital camera wars.

Overall, I was reminded what a beautiful city Seattle is.  While its downtown is loaded with wonderful things to do and great things to see, it still is clean, somewhat spacious, and not nearly as fast paced as many other metropolitan areas.  The culture seems to wear a disposition of individuality and free thinking.  I witnessed a number of protests/demonstrations (though no one seemed to be interested in them).  Even the homeless crowd seemed a little bit more laid back in its panhandling, except for one guy who followed me around and kept muttering “F@$k you snow cone.”  I do not think he even wanted money, just to wanted to issue strong imperatives to passerbys.

I will try and get to our actual cruise in the next day or so.

ryan

Back From Alaska

Wow what an amazing week I have had.  I just got off the cruise ship and am sitting in Pikes Market in Seattle.  Here is a photo.

I was blessed to see some of the most beautiful sights in God’s creation.  I will be sure to post many more photos in the coming days, since we took close to 500!  But for now here is one of Crystal and I in Glacier Bay.

ryan

Now, about making money…

If you have read this post from last week you will remember me talking about the pressing need I feel to make money for my fast growing family. This is an area that has been a phenomenal source of stress as my wife and I are entertaining business opportunities, moving into a new home and continuing my education. Not to mention having two new mouths to feed. This led to the following conversation two nights ago on the back porch of the house we are staying at:

Vicky: You know what we need? (not waiting for a response, proving the question to be neither rhetorical or response intended) We need someone to give us $50,000. That would really help us accomplish all of our goals.

Me: Well, that would be nice. We should ask God for $50,000.

Us: God would you please give us $50,000.

The prayer was a bit more reverential than that, but you get the point. Our thought behind the prayer was such: God loves us, God will provide our needs, God tells us to ask him for the things we need. God has the right to answer how he wants, we just thought we would ask.

Fast forward to the following evening. Before meeting Vicky’s brother to catch an advanced screening of Pineapple Express Vicky and I decide to meet at In-N-Out for dinner (note: due to an increasing need for iron in her system my wife has been craving double cheeseburgers like crazy). I was in my work clothes and Vicky was dressed casually. Right before our food arrived a woman came up to our table. She leaned in close and put her hand on my shoulder in preparation to say the following:

Lady: I don’t know why but God told me to give you this, and at this point in my life I just want to do what he says and not second guess it.

As she walked away Vicky and I sat speechless as we looked at a check on our table for $50,000.

Just kidding, she handed us a $20 bill. But it might as well have been a check for $50,000.

I am not sure there has ever been a time in my life that God has answered a prayer so quickly and definitively. I half-joked to Vicky that we should expect 249 more ladys with $20 bills, since apparently God has chosen to answer our prayer.

I have chosen to take 2 things away from this –

1. God is our father, he loves us, he hears us. For some reason (only he knows) he chose to put his hand on our shoulder and tell us that he heard us. To tell us that he is our provider and will not let us be without provision.

2. God has called me to be faithful with little. We immediately prayed and thanked God for his provision and asked for wisdom as to how we should steward this blessing. Basically, we are treating that $20 bill like it is a check for $50,000.

I wanted to share this story today because of the joy of my heart, and the rest my soul has taken in God my Father, who is my provider.