Trump, Fake Intel and the Real Hacks

It is hard to believe that big news can be manufactured news. Hard to think that huge, powerful, and influential organizations would do things based upon small mindedness.  It really is a shame how ignorant of history most people are and how arrogantly we dismiss the lessons of the past.  If I could get any book into the curriculum of every school in America it would be The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer.  If you have difficulty believing that small mindedness can reign among reasonable people, and if you cannot fathom how huge organizations can become weapons of the state against its people, you only need to read about a third of the book to get illuminated.  And we need illumination.

The damage done to our country during the last election is serious, but we aren’t bleeding from the wound the Educated Establishment Elites are trying to tourniquet.  We aren’t bleeding from racism, bigotry, or exclusion, and the wound is not Trump shaped.  No, the serious gushing wound is a free and independent press.  After 8 years of fawning over thehack1 first African American president, and actually demeaning both him and the office he held by failing to hold him to the standards of any previous president, the country has lost confidence in the press.  When journalism begins to be less popular than congress you can be sure there is a major problem.  The campaign only exposed and connected the dots for all the smaller gunshot wounds legacy media delivered to its own feet.  Some examples of the loss of independence of our free press:

–  letting the Obama administration get away with selling guns to drug lords in Mexico without holding them to account even when it led to the deaths of American law enforcement agents.

– letting Obama get away with the outrageous lies he told about Obamacare (ie like your doctor keep your doctor, and deductibles will all go down for everyone) even when the architect of Obamacare openly admitted this was never the plan and called American voters stupid

– letting the Obama administration get away with weaponizing the IRS and using it to demoralize and intimidate its political opponents in the Tea Party even after the IRS admitted it had done this.

These are just a few of the wounds the press inflicted upon itself in the last 8 years.  Americans instinctively know when someone is blowing smoke and we also know when we are being given the “don’t look at that man behind the curtain” Wizard of Oz treatment.  Any of these scandals were enough to end the careers of previous politicians.  Richard Nixon only dreamed of getting away with stuff like this and got impeached and run out of office by the free and independent press for much less.

There was one other story among the multitude of scandal-less scandals of the past 8 years that the press gave a press pass.  It was the politicization of CENTCOM Intel.  The gist of this story is that Intelligence analysts at the US Central Command (CENTCOM) were intimidated and forced out of their jobs for creating intelligence reports that did not line up with administration goals and views of how to handle ISIS in Syria.  Another part of this press passed story is that CENTCOM was creating fabricated intelligence reports in order to make it appear as if the administration’s goals were being met.  I’ve personally worked in the US intelligence community and I’ve had people ask me to adjust my analysis of raw intelligence data to suit a narrative they wanted to pursue.  People with power over your next promotion can be very persuasive.  Why did they do this?  Was it because their bosses in D.C. were pressuring them to do it?  Was it because the leaders of CENTCOM wanted to look good?  We don’t know.  The free and independent press failed to Watergate this story.  They weren’t interested enough to aggressively run it to ground.

So Monday morning we wake up to a story about intelligence reports and Russians hacking and Donald Trump scoffing and the election results questioned.  Would big time media be small minded enough to make up a story to try to delegitimize Trump before he even gets to the Oval Office?? Well we know they gave up on objectivity for 8 years because we watched it happen.  And we know they gave up on objectivity for the campaign because they flat out wrote about it on the front page of the New York Times. What are we supposed to believe?   I believe we the people are going to need to be our own reporters and editors.  We are going to need objectivity and we aren’t going to be able to depend upon a slavish and dependent press to do our thinking for us. We must be vigilant and we must ask the hard questions because the press is either not willing to ask them or too incompetent or blind to see which questions need asking and which answers, as unpalatable to them as they may be are correct.  Trump did not win an election because of Russian hacking, but he made a lot of hay out of the true and small minded hacks in our seriously compromised press.  And the fact that he is the next president is evidence enough to show how truly out of touch and in need of emergency surgery they are.  They are the real hackers and they’ve hacked off their own feet and we are all going to suffer for it.  A free and independent press is essential to our democracy.  A hacking press carrying water for one ideology is essential for fascism.  It has happened before…

Bill and Hillary and Joe Gibbs

I was born into a Redskins family.  For the most part that means I’ve suffered through every football season of my life.  There was the rising hope of the George Allen Super Bowl year that crashed against the ’72 Dolphins, and, of course the glory years of Joe Gibbs in the 80’s with playoff runs and Super Bowl wins.  That was amazing to watch.  Gibbs had his own style of play that changed the face of pro football.  In a league moving toward speed and downfield passing, Gibbs won with huge linemen, a slow-as-molasses running back, and a quarterback with questionable arm strength.  He was the master of half time adjustments to game plans, exploiting whatever weaknesses he sensed in the opposing team during the first half of play.  He had a feel for the game that was superior to almost every coach he faced.  Even though he was young and could have gone on coaching for many years, he retired in the early 90’s to spend more time with his family and to run his NASCAR team.  About 10 years later, after suffering through more bad coaching and frustration, the Redskins lured Gibbs back to the NFL.  It was going to be great.  It was going to be a return to glory.  Only it wasn’t.  Even though they made the playoffs two times in four years, watching them play was painful.  When they won it was more like luck than skill.  They won ugly and they lost uglier.  The thing that stood out to me most about watching Gibbs try to coach after 11 years on the bench was how the pace of the game seemed to bewilder him.  He couldn’t manage the clock.  Things happening on the field were always ahead of him and his staff.  They were always reacting and never acting.  They were imposed upon by their opponents, the clock, the penalties, and every other circumstance of the game.  They were behind and bewildered, playing catch up in a blood sport that had no mercy on them.  After four seasons back, Gibbs retired again, cutting his loses and retreating from a game that had obviously passed him by.

Watching Bill and Hillary Clinton in this political season reminds me of Joe Gibbs.  They owned the 90’s.  They rewrote the rules and changed the face of American politics.  They perfected the use of imagery and they out maneuvered their opponents in such a way as to be almost comical.  Losing the House of Representatives, Special Prosecutors and being impeached didn’t stop them.  Making adjustments to match the state of play was their bailiwick.  Things that drove Nixon from office made them stronger politically; they became the beleaguered hero and heroine fighting the vast right wing conspiracy.  The halftime adjustments in response to each situation were masterful.  Bill could look into a camera, bite his lip and make people believe anything.  Hillary could go to a congressional inquiry and, under intense scrutiny about her record keeping, say “I don’t recall” for as many times as it took to wear out her questioners.  They had their own style and they imposed it on anyone who got in their way.  They won.  Even when they lost they won.

But now…But now they are back in the big leagues after ten years on the bench.  Hillary was never charismatic and the natural politician Bill is, so no one expected her to be able to play the game the way he did.  But they both are looking pretty bewildered these days.  Neither of them appears to be able to keep up.  It isn’t just their age to blame either.  On the left an old man is running them ragged and on the right an old man is doing the same thing.  They are not imposing their will upon anyone, they are on the defensive.  Granted, they have been their own worst enemies in much of this, but there’s nothing new about that.  Most of the crises they faced in the 90’s they created through their own actions.  This week should have been a time of Clinton performance par excellence; a blow out Super Bowl win with their particular brand of political power on display.  Instead their opponents on the left and on the right ran circles around them and left them looking tired and old and unimposing.  Politics has always been a blood sport and it is without mercy.  The pace of play in the arena today is not forgiving and leaves no room to catch up once you fall behind.  Complaining that we’ve reduced political discourse to 140 characters would be the same as Joe Gibbs complaining about the 45 second play clock.  It is what it is.  Everyone on the field has to deal with the clock and the style of play.  If you can’t keep up you will get run over, and there won’t be anyone to pity you.  Gibbs quit after he barely made it to the playoffs in the 4th year of a 5 year contract.  He saw the handwriting on the scoreboard and cut his losses.  Bill and Hillary?  They have at least one more game to play, and it isn’t going to be played at a pedestrian pace.

 

Bill Maher’s Personal Relationship with God

I’ve never met Bill Maher, so I don’t know what kind of guy he is.  He does say plenty of things that irritate me, and lots of people, but he also says some pretty funny things that make me laugh. On par I’d say he’s probably a good guy with some strong opinions about some things I don’t share.  He hates religion, though, saying religion is a bureaucracy between God and man he doesn’t need.  I’m on his team for that one.  He calls himself an apatheist, saying he doesn’t know what happens when we die and he doesn’t care.  I can’t hang with him there.  When he got on a jag about the Russell Crowe movie Noah Maher said something very interesting about God:

“It’s about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God”

He also said that God “drowns babies.”  Now if you can get past the bravado and sarcasm and hear the basic question Maher is asking, it isn’t so easy to answer.  He wants to know how a good God not only allows suffering and pain, but how a good God inflicts suffering and pain.  Maher is not saying there is no God.  He repeatedly says he doesn’t have the answer to that question and is open to there being a God or gods, but that thehqdefault-37-460x260 God of the Old Testament, which is the same God Christians claim as their God, is not a good God.  Maher is saying he doesn’t like the Christian God and he presents his reasoning for not liking Him:  God is a mass murdering baby killer who wipes out everyone because He doesn’t like what a few of us are doing.  Bill Maher’s personal relationship with God (at least the Christian God) is enmity.  He doesn’t want to be friends with this God.

It makes sense to me.  If I thought the Christian God was a crazed baby killer who might go off on me at any moment and kill my family or my whole country because I wasn’t acting the way he wants me to act, I wouldn’t want to be his friend either.  Who needs friends like that?  But I am friends with the Christian God, so I have to take Maher’s accusations seriously and not just be irritated because he said “bad things” about my friend.  Christianity is not for lazy people or squeamish people.  It takes effort to be in a relationship with real people.  They do weird things.  They embarrass us.  Some times they need to be defended against false accusations.  Some times we need to hear an outside opinion of our loved ones because we are too close to see their flaws.

The problem with Bill Maher’s opinion about God is this:  we have no concept of a bad God.  The name “God” is itself derived from the word “good.”  God is simply good writ large.  The highest GOOD we can imagine is God.  When Maher calls God a psychotic murderer, he calls him “not God” = or = he says this God can’t be real; this God doesn’t exist.  So Maher contradicts himself when he says he doesn’t know or care if God or gods are out there and how he might or might not relate to them.  He very much does care about at least one God; the God of the Christians and the Jews, and he definitely doesn’t want to have a relationship with him.  But what about any other God?  How would Bill ever find a God he could agree with?  If the standard he sets for an acceptable level of God-ness is only what Bill Maher calls God or what Bill Maher can understand about God’s actions, how would he ever know he had a real God at all?  That would mean that Bill himself is perfect and judges perfectly any and all actions of the divine being.  It would mean in fact that Bill Maher would have to be that god.  And that is precisely what anyone in his position does have – a god of their own manufacture.  A God who never contradicts us or confounds us, but only agrees with us and acts in the exact way we think they should act is indistinguishable from our self.  A god like that is not worth much when we need help or advice.

I said that relationships with real people are hard, and they are.  The Christian God is a real person.  He does things that embarrass me.  He does things I don’t understand.  He does things that make no sense to me that I wish he didn’t do.  The problem for me is different though.  My problem is that knowing the extent of God’s goodness; his perfect love and wisdom, I can’t lay any fault at his feet for these things.  He is good and he doesn’t do bad things.  He is wise and he doesn’t make mistakes.  The lack of understanding is with me.  The misperception is mine.  This is not because I’m inferior or stupid or unimportant to God.  Its because if I’m going to have a God at all I’m going to have to have a God who is great enough to do things I can’t understand.  The Christian God doesn’t leave me without information, however.  The Christian God gives me plenty of confidence in his essential goodness.  He dies on a cross for me.  He enters into our suffering.  He is touched by my frailty.  In other words the Christian God gives me an overwhelming reason to trust that a God who would go to such lengths to have a real relationship with us would not randomly kill babies.  He is not psychotic.  He is not a mass murderer.  The cross contradicts me when I am angry at him for not acting in a way I find appropriate.  He did not withhold Christ from us; why should I believe he would withhold any good thing when he gave the highest thing so freely?  I don’t know why my God does what he does.  I don’t know why he chose the cross either, but I am sure my God cares and cared about every person ever born more than me or Bill Maher ever did.  And so I trust him.  He is my friend.

Wakeup and Smell the Sin – The Bundy Ranch and the Abuse of Power

How far can a government go before its people push back?  What are the limits of governmental power and how do we keep it in check?  What recourse do we have when government abuses power and refuses to “play by the rules”?  The opening of the American Declaration of Independence recounts the profound nature of these questions saying:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

This was written by a people who were convinced their government was willing to use its power to further its own interests at any time and any way it chose.  They lost faith in their government because it chose to use its power over them randomly and without recourse.  Their government threatened them economically.  They responded through economic sanctions against the government’s interests.  Their government threatened them politically.  They responded by setting up extra-governmental congresses.  Finally their government threatened their very lives and liberty.  They responded by taking up arms and forcibly removing those who abused power.

None of this happened in an instant.  It happened over the course of many years.  When it did come to a crisis it wasn’t just the tea party or the Liberty or Death speech or “the shot heard round the world.”  These are historical contractions; ways to make sense of events after they happened.  Those living in the events didn’t always see how they connected with both the past and the future, nor did they all agree upon what to do about it.  There were loyalists and patriots and at the time each thought the other thoroughly “unpatriotic” one way or another.

It would be a mistake to think that “civil discourse” existed in the time of America’s founding.  To believe our forefathers treated each other better than we do today is to be ignorant of history.  There has never been such a thing as clean politics; not in America, not in any country with any form of government at any time in history.  Politics are messy, and there have always been people willing to do anything to accumulate and exercise power over others.  It is exceedingly rare to find an instance where people on either side of an issue are completely in the right, or completely in the wrong.  Both sides abuse power, or attempt to manipulate circumstances to their greatest advantage using questionable article-2603026-1D12BF1A00000578-37_634x437tactics.  The American revolution wasn’t carried out by perfect people with a perfect claim against England.  The standoff at the Bundy ranch isn’t a case of perfect people against an imperfect government either.  So we have a serious problem:  we need government to live well because without it we are on our own against individuals likely to exercise and abuse power over us, but once we form a government it is made up from those same individuals who are likely to exercise and abuse power over us.

The American form of government is not all that it could be.  There is plenty of room for improvement.  But the thing we’ve gotten right; the thing that led an obscure backwoods colony to become the most influential and powerful nation on earth in less than 200 years, is the dilution of power.  That sounds strange, but its true.  America became more powerful than any other nation because its political system prevents the accumulation of power by the few and spreads it out over the many.  This counterintuitive form of governing created both freedom and restraint in the highest ratio ever seen on the world stage.

While our government has changed and grown, this core of diluting power so that freedom and restraint stay in balance has remained.  But the core of the core is our current problem.  There was a reason our forefathers feared the accumulation of power, and it wasn’t because they hated a particular king exercising it over them.  Our forefathers, and the majority of every generation of Americans until the last one, believed human beings were flawed and couldn’t be trusted with power.  We did not have illusions about our fundamental goodness.  We believed in a thing that sounds very old fashioned now:  sin.  Because sin was a fact and sin infected everyone, we knew instinctively that fewer people with greater power was a recipe for disaster.  This lesson was forcefully driven home to us by two world wars ignited by totalitarian egos, and a cold war driven along by the same thing.  But now we are a half generation removed from the fall of Soviet style communism, and a generation and a half past world war, and we no longer believe in sin.  You can tell by the way our leaders talk.  The Russian invasion of the Crimea elicited this response from our Secretary of State:

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped up pre-text.”

Our leaders don’t see that sinful people have always and will always make up pretexts for abusing power.  We are not getting less sinful because we have the internet, the best understanding of science, or the highest educational standards in history.  If anything history shows us that the more we advance technologically the more we will use that technology to abuse and exploit each other.  The ignorance of history and the loss of the language of sin leaves us in danger because it fosters an environment in which our natural suspicion of individuals who accumulate power is stunted.  We can’t believe the President of Russia would actually invade a country because he can and he wants to.  We can’t believe the President of the United States will ignore the Constitution because he can and he wants to.  We can’t believe these leaders are sinners.  There was a time when calling these men “sinners” whose every action deserved our careful scrutiny, would have been nothing more than an agreed upon fact.  We would not want to destroy them because they were sinners, we would just not allow them to act without restraint, without recognizing they were capable both of error and of deliberate abuse of power.  We would know this because when we looked inside ourselves we would see the same flaw. Now we are defenseless against sin because “sin” doesn’t exist; it died along with God.

Not only are we victims of the mythology of a sin-less world, but a godless world too.  We blindly trust government to act in our best interests all the time.  In other words, government now occupies the place of God in our culture.  It is both sinless and all powerful.  Questioning government activity is like questioning church doctrine.  Worshipping other gods above government is increasingly dangerous.  Appealing to another source other than government for freedom and protection is discouraged.

The only kind of people who can provide real and lasting help for the situation facing America today are those who know themselves to be sinners and the whole world to be broken by sinfulness.  These will be the only people with both the awareness and the humility to work together to solve our real practical problems.  These will be the only people with the guts to say no to the accumulation of power by sinful people and the self awareness to keep from grabbing it for themselves.  This is how our forefathers founded our nation; taking power from the powerful but dispersing it among the many.  The cowboys at Bundy had the guts to stand up to sin and the abuse of power.  If they act like Americans of old they will not abuse the victory and they will share power with others like themselves.  If I am not mistaken this kind of courage and restraint are going to become more and more necessary day by day if we are going to remain both a free and a powerful nation which is a force for good in a sinful world.

 

 

 

This Sexual Revolution Thing is Working Out Great… if You’re a Man

“When we examine simple connections between recent and lifetime sexual partnering, frequency of sex, and a variety of emotional-health indicators—including depression scales, self-reported episodic crying, life satisfaction, depression diagnoses, and current use of prescription antidepressants—it quickly becomes apparent that having more numerous sexual partners is associated with poorer emotional states in women,
but not men.”
Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying by Mark Regnerus, Jeremy Uecker)

A good thirty years into the sexual revolution, the throwing off of “traditional” views of sex along with how we view gender roles, is working out great; if you are a man.  Men who used to pay a much higher price in terms of commitment and stability in order to gain access to sex, can now have sex for little or no commitment.  Women, who were encouraged to view their sexual decisions in a “liberated” way (ie to have sex when they wanted with whoever they wanted) are not faring so well by putting that into practice.  In the traditional view of sex, women were the gatekeepers who could demand relational security in exchange for sex, and men were the pursuers exploring the market for the price they had to pay for sex, and trying to have as much of it as they could get for the lowest cost.  As more women adopted these liberal attitudes toward sex, the market slowly started to flood with lower cost sex in terms of commitment to the point where a woman who withholds sex from a man is no longer an obstacle for him – he has plenty of options readily available.  Now men can have sex for next to nothing with many partners – literally a school boy’s dream, and they are doing it with abandon, and, evidently without causing themselves much long term damage.  Women on the other hand, are not faring so well.

Even getting married—deciding to settle down with only one sex partner for good—doesn’t erase the emotional challenges for women who’ve had numerous sex partners in their lifetime. While no association with depressive symptoms is apparent among now-married young women who’ve had up to four sex partners in their lifetime, problems appear among those who’ve had 5–10, and even more among those who’ve had more than 10 partners.  [Such] women display more intense emotional difficulties. Among those who’ve had more than 10 partners, 41 percent report being depressed at least some time in the past seven days. Just over 14 percent are actively taking antidepressants, and only 79 percent say they’re satisfied or very satisfied with their life. So while the security of a marital relationship can diminish sex-related emotional-health problems, it doesn’t often take them away.

It makes you wonder who’s idea the sexual revolution was in the first place, and what were they hoping to accomplish.  One name above all others attaches itself to this: Hugh Hefner.  Hefner is the living image of the beginning and shriveling up of the sexual revolution; a man of small physical and moral stature who lacks the generally valued masculine qualities which would attract and hold the attentions of a real woman.  A man who has everything to gain by tearing down the traditional sexual structures in order to gain access to what he wants.  It was all couched in such inclusive terms from the start – why shouldn’t we all stop feeling guilty about sex and relax?  Why shouldn’t women be able to have as much sex as men are having?  The truth was (and still is) that men were not having more sex than women; that single men always had (and still have) less and less satisfying sex than their married friends, and that women enjoyed sex much more when they had a greater power over the sexual market place by rejecting casual sex and waiting for sex in an emotionally stable relationship. What will happen in the next 30 years?  Given what I know about women’s character and ability, I predict they will tell their daughters and sons what a disaster the “sexual revolution” has been, and begin to teach them to reject it.  The generation raised by the victims of the sexual wars will raise a generation who will reassert sane and workable sexual practices that work for both genders.  When they do, many will be surprised at how “traditional” it looks.  I won’t, because to me it isn’t tradition, it is truth written into the fabric of the universe by our Creator, and rejecting it always wreaks havoc.  Maybe we can help get things started by putting posters of the original Playboy in every dorm room of America…

Hugh_Hefner_Shoot-00513824

I Didn’t Ask to Be Rescued…

Man set to sue first responders who rescued him from his submerged car – that is a real headline from today’s news.  Not a joke or a parody of this scene from The Incredibles:

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Watching the interview of the man with his lawyer made me want to punch somebody in the neck – mainly the lawyer.  Some of his facial expressions are so… so… so… smug and condescending.  Now, now, don’t blame me for taking full advantage of any opportunity I find to exploit the system – that’s what his face screams.  Neck punch.  We are living at an amazing time.  We live in a land of laws with no connection to their source.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when laws and rights are elevated to the status of absolutes, we should find ourselves barraged by legal actions that defy belief.  A NJ teenager suing her parents for the cost of college tuition after she left home or was thrown out – an executive branch of government that selectively enforces laws or rewrites laws completely outside of its legal authority – these things are to be expected.  Law doesn’t work if it is not a given thing.  That sounds strange, but it is true.  If grace = a gift, then law cannot work without grace.  It also sounds strange but the reason we are becoming more and more lawless is that law has become more important, not less important to us.  These yahoos running around suing people who saved their lives value law over grace.  They fail to see anything as a gift.  Everything has a price tag and the people who are going to thrive and survive are going to be the ones who figure out how to charge a price for anything they can.  If law is disconnected from grace – in other words if law is not given to us from some place or some where or some one other than us, then it is completely negotiable every day, every way, every circumstance.  You could say that this guy who got rescued is ungrateful.  Right.  Exactly.  He is an ingrate.  He apparently believes it was his right to be rescued and rescued on time.  No such thing as gratitude.  No such thing as grace.

Since we are raising kids to believe there is no God and increasingly our politicians act as if God is the most unwelcome entity in our legal, social, or political processes, then the law is what we have and it is nothing.  The law is useless.  If we make it up for ourselves, the law is a power play.  Whoever has the most power now gets to make or break the laws at will.  Why shouldn’t they?  Law is constructed by people if God didn’t make it and if that is the case why should the last set of people to make up laws keep telling us what to do?  Dump it.  Rewrite it.  Ignore it.  Sue your rescuers.  The Bible says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  The opposite is true too:  the ignorance of God is the beginning of stupidity.  We are in a slide down into idiocy.  But as hard as it is to take, we don’t have to take it and we don’t have to go nuts looking for solutions that are so hard to reach or enact.  Just believe.  Start believing.  Look at the evidence this world presents for a moral framework we all believe in although we struggle to know why.  Big turns come in little increments.  If this story ticks you off, maybe it could be the thing that gets you thinking about what kind of world you’re living in and what you can do to change it.

 

 

Why Marriage is Better than College

“Most traditional college students are emerging adults—they have adult-style freedoms but lack some or all of the typical adult responsibilities: work, marriage, and children. They can put off those responsibilities for years, never committing, changing jobs and relationships. Some exhibit little interest in stability. That’s why it’s difficult to put age brackets around emerging adulthood; it resists being tied down, because its inhabitants resist settling down.”
(from Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying by Mark Regnerus, Jeremy Uecker

What would you tell your emerging adult child about getting married at age 19 – 23?  Is that too young for marriage?  Old enough to drive, old enough to vote, old enough to drink, old enough to join the military.  Marriage?  Maybe you should wait.  Wait for what?  Stability?  The current cultural script in the West is not one that promotes stability for our children emerging into adulthood; it promotes delayed adolescence.  The pattern set for emerging adults is living in a bubble of irresponsibility funded by “free money” (college loans or parent’s) which allows them to live without engaging the truth of personal fiscal responsibility, and encourages them to practice relationships without regard for responsibility other than reproductive health.  Spending 3-5 years in the responsibility vacuum stunts our growth.  It doesn’t make us better at making choices, it makes us worse.  It doesn’t make us more ready for grown up life, it makes us less ready.  It doesn’t make us more relationally stable, it makes us more prone to relational instability.  This script we lay out for emerging adults means they often reach thirty years of age with habits and beliefs predisposing them to quitting anything that gets hard whether its a dream, or a job, or a marriage.IMG_0027

So we got married young.  I was in my second year of college.  We had a baby during our second year of marriage, and she was born with health issues requiring several corrective surgeries from the time she was 18 months old.  How does that look to the odds makers and pundits today?  A recipe for disaster and failure.  The distraction and pressure of marriage probably meant my grades would suffer.  My wife’s choice to marry early and have children would keep her from reaching her potential.  Our children would be neglected.  Actually my grades began improving from the time we got married to the point that I made the dean’s list my last three semesters whereas I had almost failed out during my first three.  My wife did not pursue a college education but she went into business for herself and built a successful one doing what she loves to do and was a stay at home mom at the same time, which she loved even more.  Both our kids were raised in a two parent home and both graduated from college themselves.  Both are good kids and better people.

Our cultural script is contributing to cultural rot and we could use a rewrite.  If we look at what our colleges produce versus what 5 years of marriage produces there is no comparison in value added.  Marriage is an education in itself.  Marriage teaches lessons no college teaches.  Marriage 101 is what every employer in the nation looks for in any job candidate:  show up every day ready to work.  Communication?  I took my little family to my speech class at Old Dominion U and demonstrated live for them what it takes to communicate in the most important environment they would ever see; not a board room but a living room.  (I got an A on that speech).  Cooperation and Teamwork?  Bring a baby home from the hospital and figure out that no one but you and your spouse are there to get it to stop crying.  A marriage degree is worth much more than any degree offered by any college.  We should stop discouraging our young people about marrying young because “they need to go to college and figure out what they are going to do with their life.”  We should get people ready to marry earlier.  We should tell them the truth about one of the most important things to them:  that if they want to have a lot of very satisfying sex for the longest period of time they should get married because married people all have more and better sex than non-married people (the “marriage kills sex” myth is something to take on in another blog post another day).  We should tell them that getting married creates stability from which they can strive together for their dreams.  We should tell them that being responsible for children and a spouse makes being responsible to a job look easy and makes them more employable.  We should stop valuing education above relationship and financial stability above human community.  I know this isn’t what we hear from our culture.  It is counter-cultural, but when you look at our culture do you want your children to be conformed to it?  Does it look healthy?  What kinds of things are elevated and celebrated?

Marriage is a good thing.  It is better than college and it is more effective than college at producing a better community.  I’m not suggesting we all run out and begin setting up arranged marriages for our kids.  I am saying we should spend more time helping our kids study for marriage than studying for the SAT.