Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Tebow, Wrestling With Principalities and Powers

posted by Linda Mintle

A year ago, I wrote a blog about why people hate Tim Tebow. One reason was because the Gospel offends. So this weekend, when Tebow is once again slated to speak at a private religious institution, am I surprised that he is being attacked ? No, this attack is spiritual and some of you reading this won’t understand.

But think about it.

Since when do private Christian universities or churches run their speaker lists by  gay rights activists for approval? This is ludicrous.

Since when does the First Amendment not support free speech and the right to have a religious position? A moral position based on your religious beliefs is a constitutional right.

Since when do we restrict our religious freedom? Even though we live in a country where religious freedom is a right, Christians are the target of intolerance. I know many of you were upset at the Saturday Night Live skit making fun of Jesus, but in America, people can do this sort of thing. It’s bad taste, horrible to mock our Lord, but it is not illegal. Would the producers of SNL do the skit and mock Islam? No, because they would be afraid of the backlash. Making fun of anyone’s religion is inappropriate. These people will answer to God one day, not me or you.

Since when do we bully people to do what we want just because we don’t like something? We teach kids not to do this, how about if the adults model the behavior?

Since when do we cry out for tolerance and then became extremely intolerant to the beliefs of people with whom we disagree? That’s called hypocrisy.

Ephesians 6:12 gives us insight into the Tebow controversy: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

Scripture tells us we are in a battle; we wrestle with powers of darkness trying to extinguish the light of the Gospel. So we shouldn’t be surprised when attacks are aimed at us. Does that mean we like them. Absolutely not. But what is important is how we  Christians respond to those attacks.

We look to the life and words of Jesus. When he was persecuted on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those people because they didn’t really understand what they were doing. Because they refused Him, they were blinded to the spiritual war in which they took part. When Jesus met someone who was in sin, he responded, “Neither do I condemn you, but go and sin no more.” Then, in the most radical of all teachings, Jesus instructs us, You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Jesus further tells us to bless those who curse us. So for all the horrific comments on blogs I have read towards anyone homosexual, I apologize. Christ wanted us to be known by our love. Calling people names, wishing them ill and so on is not a mark of following Christ. And for that I am deeply sorry. Those people don’t represent!

Look, Tebow is not out railing against gay rights, he is not anti-gay and he is not a threat to gay people. He simply talks about his life as a follower of Christ. Thus, it makes no rational sense that a good guy is such a target of hate and bullying  unless you factor in the spiritual dimension. So take all this controversy with a grain of salt. The attack against Tim Tebow is a spiritual one. And whatever decision he makes now and in future in terms of appearances, I pray he is led by the Spirit in his decision making. In the meantime, our job is to pray for him. He’s a target just because he is a Christ follower.

Complaints About Your Spouse? Tend Your Own Garden!

posted by Linda Mintle

 “I can’t live with this man. He makes me crazy. I constantly have to remind him of even the simplest things. He’s like having another child.”

“She would make anyone insane. She always tells me what to do. All she does is nag. I feel like an idiot who lives with his mother.”  

Have you ever said this or something similar? Here is your chance to insert your favorite reason why your spouse drives you nuts and keeps you from living the blissful life you know is possible. OK now get ready to be corrected!

Husbands and wives spend too much time pulling weeds from each other’s gardens. What am I talking about for those of you who hate gardening and never pull anything out of ground? I’m talking about our tendency to complain and criticize the other person so we don’t have to look at our own problems (weeds).

We all have a garden inside of us. Our bodies are fertile soil. We sow all kinds of seeds in our gardens–good seeds like kindness, patience, praise, etc. or bad seeds like lust, control, criticism, etc. The more good seed you put in your garden, the more good harvest you get. The more bad seed you plant, the more weeds will crop up and choke any potential harvest (This is Basic Farming 101).

Husbands and wives like to poke around in the gardens of their spouses. They are quick to spot the weeds and spend a great deal of time pulling at them. As a result, they don’t tend the seed in their own gardens and allow things to creep in that aren’t good (anger, bitterness, frustration, disappointment, etc.). Then, they grow weeds in both places and neither one is attending to their own stuff. They ‘d rather pull the obvious weeds from the spouse’s garden and ignore what’s growing in theirs.

Spend time tending, watering and guarding your own garden and your relationship will be better. If you are responsible for your issues and attend to them, you will improve your relationship.

Couples come to therapy all the time with complaints about the other spouse. I try to get each one to stop complaining and address his or her part of the problem. When they do attend to their own stuff, the other person is less defensive and more likely to do some work. And I can actually help each person pull his/her own weeds. So the next time you attempt to pull weeds in your spouse’s garden, check your own first. Deal with your ground clutter and wait for the beautiful harvest to come.

 

 

Do Peers Make Teens Stupid?

posted by Linda Mintle

Why do teens do things with their friends that they would never do by themselves?

A part of the answer might have to do with the developing brain of a teen. Specifically, adolescents are wired in ways that lend to risk taking when in the presence of their friends.

Researchers at Temple University tested the brains of adults and teens by attaching them to brain scan machines while simulating a driving game. What they found was that when teens were not observed by friends, they drove basically the same as the adults in the study. However, when teens had friends observing them, something interesting happened. A part of the brain associated with reward lit up and the teens took more risks. They had more crashes and reckless driving behavior.

This study lends credence to the idea of teens doing stupid things together that they would not do alone. The psychologist who ran the experiment, Laurence Steinberg, a national expert on adolescent development, thinks this finding may be applied to other areas of teen life like bullying. Maybe, the peer approval and possible social advancement associated with bullying is enough to light up the reward centers in the brains of teens who bully. He suggests that the short-term pleasure of the moment with peers may override judgement. This also means that giving teens more information on bullying or any other negative behavior is not going to prevent much. In these cases, knowledge is not power. It takes maturation to make good decisions.

Instead, it would be better to limit opportunities for immature judgement that could harm others. For example, I didn’t allow my teens to drive with other teens in the car when they first started driving. I limited the opportunity, knowing that the risk taking increases when other teens are present. In the case of bullying, working on the peer group to approach bullying as a negative and not a peer enhancing activity would change the context. When teens come together to advance kindness and empathy, we may have an effective strategy. And those values are usually taught at home.

 

Source: Steinberg, L. (2007). Risk-taking in adolescence: New perspectives from brain and behavioral science. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(2), pp. 55-59.

Guest Blog: Dr. Rita Hancock on Hope For Pain Sufferers

posted by Linda Mintle

Guest blogger Dr. Rita Hancock, Board-certified Pain Management, treats people holistically. Author of Radical Well-Being and The Eden Diet, you can find out more about her at her website, www.RitaHancock.com

 

As a pain management specialist, I see patients on a daily basis who have pain conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, disc problems, muscle spasms, jaw pain, migraine headaches, and others.

In order to figure out who needs what kind of treatment, I talk with my patients extensively, examine them thoroughly, and order all the necessary tests. However, sometimes, no obvious diagnosis emerges and I’m left scratching my head about what’s causing the patient’s pain.

Especially in light of the high rates of addiction and prescription narcotic abuse, I try very, very hard to discern who among my patients needs narcotic pain medicines and who needs emotional or even spiritual support, primarily.

One of the main things I consider is how the patient’s emotional state—how much stress, anxiety, and/or depression that person is experiencing—can affect his or her perception of pain. Maybe the tests came back negative because the patient has only a little muscle spasm, and it just feels like excruciating pain to the patient because of other things that are going on at home or at work.

Think about it! There’s a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is the physical aspect. It’s when your nerve endings fire and tell your brain, “Hot stove! Quick—Pull your finger away!” In contrast, suffering is your emotional reaction to that pain. “AAAAAaaaaarrrrrrgghhhhh!!!!!!” [piercing, exaggerated, melodramatic screaming and crying….]. “My life is ruined now that my finger is burned! Where’s that bottle of pills?”

If you’re an anxious or depressed person who was abused, neglected, or abandoned as a child, you may have fewer coping skills as an adult to deal with stress. As a result, you might experience physical pain more profoundly [or dramatically] than the next person, and you might even more inclined than average to reach for those pills.

In addition, understand that physical pain can serve as a distraction from your emotional issues. It feels less personal to fixate on, “My back hurts” instead of, “My life feels completely out of control and I’m scared!” Your brain can play tricks on you—making you fixate on pain as being a bigger problem than it is. That way, you don’t have to deal with more emotionally threatening thoughts.

In case I described you, don’t worry. There’s a lot of hope for you to feel better.  Through a combined approach that includes not only the proper medicine but also counseling and prayer (as well as extending forgiveness to those who hurt you in the past), you can achieve greater control and freedom from emotionally-induced pain.

That way, you can snuff out your pain out at its emotional root cause—without having to rely on addictive narcotics or expensive, painful, time-consuming medical tests prescribed by pain management doctors like me.

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