Friday, November 15, 2013

An Update on Karen's Neck

This is what the x-ray looked like right after surgery.
So if you were to ask "how are things going?" the answer would have to come in two parts. Day to day things are pretty good. Karen is up and around, schooling the kids, managing the home, working a bit in the garden and generally doing those things she was doing before she fell. She continues to wear the neck brace and will continue to do so at least through mid January. Her neck gets sore and fatigued through the day and Karen is being a good girl ... resting without being forced to do so. So other than the brace and her need to take it a bit slower and more carefully than in the past life is basically ... normal.

But two weeks ago at her two week post-operation appointment we got news that was made me take another deep breath.

The bracket that was affixed to karen's vertebrae has 4 screws. Two are screwed into her C-6 vertebrae and two are screwed into her T-1. These screws were inserted straight. Unfortunately, after two weeks the x-ray showed that the screws had "subsided." That means that the bone is was not strong enough to support the screws and they had beguin to slip. At the appointment two weeks ago the Dr. said that if they stayed where they are then he would be happy and no further surgery would be needed. If, however at our next apointment on November 26th the screws have slipped or the plate has no longer flush against her vertebrae than that will most likely require a new surgery, this time approaching from the back of the spine. This is not preferred for lots of reasons.
This is a model of a bracket and screws similar to what was used for Karen

Please pray that the screws find a nice solid home in the bone and no longer slip. Karen has increased her calcium and D-3 intake to help. We are also trying to get a bone stimulator which apparently helps improve bone strength. Please pray we can get one and that it helps.

Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Sexual Sneeze

What can you say when a young man seems to be struggling over and over with the same sin? On the one hand he hates it and on the other he loves it. So what kind of counsel can you give? The short answer is the answer that we should always turn to: The Gospel. For those of us that have forgotten let me remind you, this means "good news." Good news is not the same as excusing sin but it also does not mean loading a boat load of guilt and shame on the back of a young man or woman already burdened by their sin. Fortunately the Gospel is simple enough to be grasped by a small child but is also vast and deep enough to provide a pool of resources to prevent you from needing to become a broken one dimensional record.

Below is a letter I wrote to a young man struggling with lust and who had fallen once again. My hope in this letter was to remind him of the grace of God as well as the significance of the sin that he continued to turn to using some analogies that I thought might be helpful. I hope you find the letter helpful as well.


I was praying for you this morning and reflecting on the last fall you had. The focus of my prayer was directed at asking God to grant you a growing keenness and awareness of your actions. It’s so easy to allow life to slip by in a thoughtless series of reflexes. Many men go through their whole life doing things and thinking things based solely on the urges they feel in the moment. This way of approaching life could hardly be called making decisions. It is more appropriate for animals than men. And yet men often ignore the responsibility that attends the blessing of being divine image bearers and choose to behave as if our impulses are the standard of acceptable behavior.

As I mentioned previously, this is the modus operandi of childishness. So as I pray for you I pray that this aspect of childishness will be replaced by an acute mindfulness of the motivation and telos of every decision you make. As Paul admonished the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” This means we are always on our guard, and it also means that we have a healthy suspicion of our own motives because as Jeremiah announces in Chapter 17:9 of his denunciation against rebellious Israel, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

I fully understand why within the course of three fleeting minutes you could turn from Albertus Magnus to masturbation. Your approach to the latter subject has until now lacked the kind of mindfulness that should always be present whenever we approach a subject of power, potency and importance.

But until now, it appears that your approach toward masturbation and probably your sexuality in general is more akin to the character Scotty Smalls in the movie the Sand Lot in the infamous but hilarious “great Bambino scene.”

You can see a clip of that scene here:

But remember how Scotty, needing a ball to play baseball with grabbed the signed baseball from his step-dad’s room and used it to play with not having any clue that it had been signed by Babe Ruth. And of course the ball gets destroyed and hilarity ensues. We laugh and groan at Scotty, but we are

He Bravely Confessed His Sin. This Was My Initial Response.

He bravely confessed his sin. This was my initial response.

I understand the risk you took in being so open and honest. It took quite a bit of courage I know. There is no need to hold your breath regarding my response, if that indeed was what you are feeling. My respect for you has only increased. You are not alone in your battle. Where you stand among the few is in your willingness to both seriously battle your lust as well as to talk about it and ask for help.

Believe it or not I love the fact that you wrote a lot! I tend to write long tomes and appreciate someone else who is willing to afflict me right back! J I also want to be very clear. I do not consider any of the time or effort that I have or will invest in you as a burden. The church is far to full of young men who couldn’t care an iota about Jesus Christ, obedience to him, growing in sanctification, purity, the lost around them, or any of the other things that have eternal value. You will not have a real sense for how encouraging it is for ME to get a message like the one you just sent until you have enough years under your belt to be looking back at the next generation. If some time, prayer, genuine concern, well meant nagging, and annoyingly specific questions can help you thrive in your growth as a man of God then I am perfectly willing to do these things with a happy heart. You get my drift?

I do ask a few things from you in return.
  • Promise to be honest
  • Promise to discerningly help other young men
  • Promise to train your sons so that YOU become their chief source of accountability. In this way your sons will be spared the heartache that you and I experienced due to the abdication of the previous generation regarding these “taboo” subjects.


Isn’t it interesting how in the Church, of all places, where we teach and understand the total depravity of man and the deceitfulness of sin, we feel this dastardly ironic compunction to wear masks and erect facades of sinless perfection? We of all people should be open and honest, right? Not gratuitously, but honestly. Some of us adults think that we can protect our children from lust in all its forms by simply keeping the world out. Even assuming that this is possible, as one Puritan put it,