Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

And Why Am I Supposed to Cheer Brad and Angelina’s Engagement?

posted by Linda Mintle

Big entertainment news last week on the cover of People–after living together for seven year and having  six children, Brad and Angie are engaged.

We supposed to be getting excited over this news.

Hollywood is dishing it out:

Could Brad sue over people copying the 16 karat ring design he gave Angelina? Relax. How many people can afford a 16 karat ring? I think we will all know if you have one, it is probably a copy!

Have they been engaged for months? Who cares, they have been living together for years. Apparently he waited a year to pop the question so the ring could be designed.

Who will get the first pics of the official couple? The costs of those pics could probably make a serious dent in the national debt. Maybe the White House photographer should throw his or her hat in the ring for wedding photographer.

Who will design the wedding dress? The designer will become a star. This event will make a career. In fact, an entire mini industry will be created around this event. Finally, a real solution to job creation!

Of course, we will have numerous stories about how they almost called the whole thing off. They have to sell tabloids and keep our interest.

According to People, the couple is ready to marry because their family has finally jelled. OK this is a new one to me as a family therapist. Have children before you marry, see if the group jells together and then get married. Not a strategy I have ever recommended.

So hold your hats people, this, according to the Hollywood Reporter, will be the wedding of the new century. Plan on seeing headline after headline all summer long on the dress, details of the wedding and speculation as to where it will be. Just gear up for a full summer of excruciating details until the election.

One reporter told us he will not rest until he knows when and where the wedding will be. Phew, we can all relax now!

Do I sound a bit cynical?

Well, I am. This is Angelina’s third trip down the aisle and Brad’s second. According to reports, it is the kids who are clamoring for marriage. Brad has been quite vocal about not marrying until all people have the right to marry. He has stated repeatedly that he doesn’t put much value on marriage as an institution. So for me, I’m not too excited to hold these two out as marriage role models. Yes, they do great charity work, they seem like very nice people in the public eye, and I like that they are committed to their kids. As actors, they are entertaining and fun to watch. That said, they are not role models for marriage and so to get all excited over an engagement that is backwards isn’t happening for me.

But I am happy they are getting married because I believe, based on the Bible,  it is the right thing to do.  So before you comment telling me I am intolerant and judging these two, let me remind you this blog is on the Christianity channel and I am doing life from a biblical perspective. The Bible is clear that living together without being married is wrong. Wrong is unpopular because it convicts and sets a standard. The standard is meant for our good, not to put people down.

I’ve had way too many conversations with Christian young adults about the biblical mandate to marry before living with someone. I have been shocked at the number of Christian kids who think cohabitation is no big deal and are clueless about what the Bible says regarding relationships. I know Hollywood has an influence. Most young adults spend more time consuming media than the Bible, so they are influenced by what Hollywood does. The complete acceptance of cohabitation as an acceptable lifestyle cheapens the biblical idea of covenant. Marriage is a holy and sacred act. It is a spiritual and physical union, not a casual try it out and see if it works idea.

Don’t email me and tell me Brangolina have never proclaimed to be Christians. I know that and am not holding them up as Christian role models. But it was not that many years ago when we didn’t celebrate people living together. We thought it wasn’t a good idea, especially when children are involved. And the long term data on those who do live together is not good when it comes to staying committed to the relationship. Higher divorce rates are found among those who cohabitate and yet it is becoming normative. Couples who cohabitate have a better chance of marriage survival if they decide versus slide into marriage. My friend, Scott Stanley, at the University of Denver says, the “nature of commitment at the time of cohabitation is what’s important.”If you decide versus slide, your chances are a bit better to make it. Hopefully, Branjolina will make it.

Because of the Internet, the lives of Hollywood celebrities are in our lives 24/7. Most times, there is a complete disregard for any faith perspective.  So while I am glad Brad and Angelina will finally marry, I’m just not celebrating it as the event of the decade.

Instead, I’d like to applaud those of you who married, then had children. You are the real role models and are headlining for God!

 

Why Does Bill Maher Hate Stay-At-Home Moms?

posted by Linda Mintle

In my opinion, someone needs to reign in Bill Maher. Not because he doesn’t have freedom of speech, but because he is so mean-spirited when it comes to people who don’t hold his beliefs. His speech is often hateful and yet he is given a voice and a pass in the name of being funny. It is this hypocrisy that bothers me.

His latest assault on Ann Romney was downright demeaning of women. For a man who has never married, never awakened in the middle of the night for a sick child, never had to disrupt his life to make a trip to the emergency room with a listless baby, he sure has a lot of opinions on parenting and stay-at- home moms.

Obviously, Maher has no respect for the job of parenting. Ann Romney had a choice. She could afford to be home and raise her children and made that choice. Her political party plays no relevance in this choice. And taking care of five children is work!

Making fun of stay-at-home moms is not funny.  Bill, I thought you were pro-choice!

Commenting on strategist Hiliary Rosen’s remarks that stay at home moms have never worked a day in their lives, Bill took it to the next level–below the belt and made the statement more crass. I won’t even dignify his remarks. At least Hiliary apologized to Ann Romney for her remarks. Ann don’t hold your breath for Bill. It won’t come. It’s not his style. He justifies personally hurting people in the name of comedy.

Women, working outside or inside the home, know how hard being a mom is these days. Both require skills that are often similar. One is not harder than the other, just different. I know. I’ve done both. And to try and divide us into camps that oppose each other, won’t work. We are not that stupid.

Bottom line, Maher is intolerant of anyone who doesn’t think like he does and then passes it off as alleged comedy. The problem is that Maher is not funny when he personally demeans people. He is just mean. Since he doesn’t believe in God, I can’t appeal to his faith as a moderator of being nicer, but I can appeal to his support of President Obama. The President said we should all practice more civility in the public square. Bill, listen to the man. He’s right on this issue.

 

 

The Choking Game: Every Parent Should Read This!

posted by Linda Mintle

It’s all over YouTube and it is scary. Kids playing a dangerous and sometimes deadly game called The Choking Game. Kids know the game by other names–the Scarf Game, Cloud Nine, Purple Dragon, Space Monkey, Fainting Game and more.

If you haven’t heard of it, you join about a third of pediatricians who are unaware as well. Schools need to be aware as well. A teacher was accused of allowing her students to play this game at school under her supervision.

The “game” has been around for years but has surged because of the Internet. All a tween or teen needs to go is search YouTube for videos on how to play. They can watch people fainting to get high. Basically, the goal of the game is to self-strangulate in order to get high.  I know it sounds bizarre but kids get high by using ropes, scarves, or other items to momentarily strangle themselves in order to achieve a high. The high is achieved by the oxygen rushing back to the brain after it is cut off temporarily. A variation on this is having one person take a deep breath, hold it and a second person hugs that person from behind until the first person passes out.

Kids think this is a non drug way to get high, so it must be safe. It is anything but safe and in fact can lead to accidental death. Since 1995, 85 children have died from playing this game. Other side effects of playing this game can be coma, stroke, seizures, brain damage, broken bones and hemorrhages of the eye.

The CDC has put out a list of warning signs. They include:

Marks or bruises on the neck
Bloodshot eyes
Wearing clothing that covers the neck, even in warm weather
Confusion or disorientation after being alone for a period of time
The presence of unusual items such as dog leashes, ropes, scarves, bungee cords, and belts
Severe headaches, often frequent
Secretive behavior, irritability, hostility
Bleeding under the skin of the face and eyelids

Parents be aware! Your child could play this game thinking nothing bad could happen. You must talk about this and educate your child on the dangers. In fact, show your child this story of Ryan, a once vibrant 15-year-old who is now disabled.

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Tim Tebow Booed and Antonio Cromartie Pursued? What is Wrong With This Picture?

posted by Linda Mintle

So this past Sunday night, Tim Tebow put on a NY Yankees cap and attended a game in Yankee Stadium. When the giant screen showed him sitting in the stands, the crowd booed. One of the reporters at ESPN commented that it was too early for Tebow to earn the respect of NY fans.

Earn their respect–that is interesting. Apparently respect is only based on winning and has nothing to do with the man’s charity work and disarming humility.

Case in point, another NY Jet, cornerback, Antonio Cromartie, apparently has that respect and questioned the move to bring Tebow to the NY Jets. Antonio, you might want to befriend the man instead of questioning his presence. You could learn a few lessons off the field.

If you do not know who Antonio Cromartie is, he is now married and has had two children with his current wife. However, Cromartie has eight other children by seven other women in six different states. That makes 10 children from eight women and he is only 27 years old!

Cromartie better stay in the NFL for a very long time as his child support payments total more than a quarter of a million dollars a year according to NBC Sports.

So while the NY Yankee fans boo clean living Tebow, a TV production company pursued the Cromartie entourage for a reality TV show. Thankfully, “Cro” says “No,” but his baby mamas have an interest in doing it and think it would be great to do this type of show.

What is wrong with this picture?

So much.

Apparently it bothers people that Tebow stands for something more than fast living, bling purchases and entitlement. The “tolerance” for a man who loves God and wants to help people is so lacking they boo his very presence.

Instead, we encourage a media diet of dysfunctional relationships, loose living and indulgence. This is what we want to show our kids?  More “Jersey Shore” living? To what end?

To desensitize us to incredible dysfunction?

To make us all feel better that “we are not like these people?”

To erode our values and take the stigma out of immoral living?

To be entertained by broken people who are in desperate need of therapy? I am not entertained by such people. I want them to get help and stop acting out.

Instead of booing Tebow, why don’t we offer Cromartie a really good marital therapist. With his history, he will need help in this area.

Maybe we should be celebrating those who try to do the right thing and be happy we still have a few solid role models.

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