Thursday, August 31, 2006

Grace prevails

An update on the Church of God Prophecy's stance on remarriage, from The Tennessean:

"The resolution passed by a majority of church pastors and members in attendance — 79 dissented — affirms that marriage is a sacred institution, encourages spouses in troubled marriages to reconcile and says the church does not recognize same-sex or polygamous marriages.

"It also said that the church must recognize 'some things are beyond human ability to repair and reconcile.'

"And the resolution also redefined the church's definition of 'fornication,' as mentioned in the Bible. Previously the definition encompassed divorced people in subsequent marriages — or 'double marriages,' as the denomination called them."

A grandparent's perspective

"I wish I could have given my grandchildren all the answers that would heal their broken hearts. For a time I believed I could control everything. I believed that my life with my grandchildren would not change because I would not allow it.

"But as the lives of my grandchildren changed with the divorce, so did my life and dreams for them."

The full article is here.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dissing doesn't work

From Ask Amy, Grandma is concerned about her grandchildren because her more-than-likely soon-to-be-ex-daughter-in-law "lines them up in front of their father and tells them what's wrong with him. She tells them that their father doesn't love them."

Newsflash to Mom: This is a strategy bound to backfire. And Grandma should know that her best strategy is to hug the grandkids, shower them with love, and reassure them that their father loves them more than anything. Oh, and warm chocolate chip cookies can't hurt either.

Picking and choosing

The NYTimes has an interesting little article on the Church of God Prophecy's angst over whether to change their historic position that remarriage after divorce is a sin. They're willing to take a hardline, literal stance on Mark 10:5-12. Interestingly, their hardline, literal stance apparently crumbles over 1 Timothy 2:12.

Billy Graham on avoiding divorce

The good reverend offers godly advice for a contending couple:

"True love is a commitment -- a decision to love each other not just when life is going well, but also when hard times come (as they will). It is a commitment to put the needs of our spouse first, and not just ourselves. The Bible says true love 'is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs' (1 Corinthians 13:5)."

As a follow-up to his advice, if you're contemplating a walk down the aisle, I heartily recommend a great book aptly named Preparing for Marriage.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Erasing memories

Ex-etiquette tackles a boy's anger that Dad has tattooed over Mom's name.

"Even though the child may never say it, she may worry that your attachment to her might be just as easily erased as altering a tattoo."

Referenced in this article is a web site for "bonus" families, which explains itself thus: "Step implies negative things--wicked, evil, certainly not a contributing member of a family. But a bonus is something positive, a reward for a job well-done. In stepfamily lingo bonus is the top level..."

Well, isn't that a nice euphemism? I prefer the Velveteen Rabbit way--becoming real through a process of love, even if it wears off the fur and the eyes and the whiskers.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Jesus and Charlie Rose

I caught a few minutes of this on TV the other night and just watched the whole segment here. Charlie Rose had Rick Warren and Gregory Boyd on his show earlier this week. Warren spoke passionately and winsomely and gave an amazingly clear presentation of the Gospel (whodathunk it--on PBS!). Boyd was the subject of a NYTimes front page article a week or so ago that continued a brouhaha Boyd started in his own church. I wonder how many of Rose's unchurched viewers even understood what he said. Watch the first part of the show if you want to be encouraged; watch the second if you want to stir up some lively debate on what does it mean to be in the world but not of the world.

Friday, August 18, 2006

What goes around comes around

What happens when you become so popular that people use your product name to describe a generic activity? First you get rich, then you get crabby. Let me grab a kleenex to wipe away my tears. Ahh, but read the last paragraph for a little poetic justice. Then, bookmark this search engine.

Also read this and this (scroll down to letter #4).

Is your tot addicted?

The new drug of choice for pre-schoolers: cartoons. "Especially disturbing to the author of the scientific study was that the cartoons were even more comforting than Mom."

Preparing for school

Here's some good back-to-school advice for divorced parents.

Say a prayer for these kids

As if it weren't bad enough that mom and dad have dragged everyone through a contentious divorce, now they're taking it public. Yet another example that high-conflict marriages don't necessarily end with divorce; sometimes they just morph into high-conflict ex-marriages. This couple has a teenage son and an 11-year-old daughter--and you thought your parents were embarrassing!

Out of Focus

I like the good folks at Focus on the Family, but this article is shoddy journalism. It starts out with an unsupported premise: children of divorce are afraid to marry and are opting out of marriage. They might be right (or not) but they need to back up their claim by citing some solid research; as it is, they're just perpetuating a stereotype. If they'd even used a solid example, say a 29-year-old who was expressing marriage phobia, I'd have given them a little more credit. But to say a fifteen-year-old girl is opting out of marriage--especially when she's got a nearby sketch of the dress she hopes to wear in her wedding someday--is not particularly compelling. Sorry, Focus--you're out of focus on this one!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Every family should have a dog

The world's best dog, Coal, at left.

From Marley & Me:

"He was a central player in some of the happiest chapters of our lives. Chapters of young love and new beginnings, of budding careers and tiny babies. Of heady successes and crushing disappointments; of discovery and freedom and self-realization. He came into our lives just as we were trying to figure out what they would become. He joined us as we grappled with what every couple must eventually confront, the sometimes painful process of forging from two distinct pasts one shared future. He became part of our melded fabric, a tightly woven and inseparable strand in the weave that was us. Just as we had helped shape him into the family pet he would become, he helped to shape us, as well--as a couple, as parents, as animal lovers, as adults. Despite everything, all the disappointments and unmet expectations, Marley had given us a gift, at once priceless and free. He taught us the art of unqualified love. How to give it, how to accept it. Where there is that, most of the other pieces fall into place."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The beauty of it all

You know you've got a mainstream issue when beauty pageant contestants are taking it on as their platform.

Cultural differences

From an excellent article on the unique challenges facing Indian Americans who are divorced:

“In the South Asian culture, the concept of family is very central, and any break from the tradition causes stress,” says Dr. Alzak Amlani, a clinical psychologist who has been practicing for the past 18 years in Palo Alto and San Francisco, as he talks about the issue of divorce. “The entire extended family will then withdraw its support to even the children, as they are disapproving and want no part of the situation. In a worst-case scenario, the father completely abandons the children and won’t even visit them unless made mandatory by law. The entire load is then on the single parent.”

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Family Scholars weigh in

While things were crazy at chez Kristine the last week or so and the blog got a little dusty, the folks at Family Scholars blog were writing a blitz of posts on children of divorce. Check them out:

What does 'stepfamily' mean?
Are stepmothers more likely to be 'toxic parents'?
It's the divorce, not the genes
Hispanic Familism & Assimilating to American Divorce Culture
International Conference on Children and Divorce: Part 1 and Part 2

Creating a safe environment

I linked to a post previously about a program like this, but this article has additional details on how the program works. Called Kids' Corner, this provides a safe environment for children to be handed off from one parent to another in situations where violence or turbulence exists. According to the article, "The program prevents having the children come into contact with police who have to show up and quell the violence with their parents."

Still, some people never learn to get along. "Some cases show up 17 years after the couple splits, as the ex-husband and wife battle over issues, such as who pays the college tuition and who gets to see the grades of the students...'Imagine yourself ready to go off to college and getting a fresh start, but having to come back to court to testify how much scholarship money you will receive and how much you have to pay for tuition.'"

Jack Black on his parents' divorce

"Even if your parents still love you, the fact that they hate each other makes you feel there's something wrong with you."

More here.

Waiting to divorce

"This prompted me to look into the states that have the lowest divorce rates and the states that have the highest divorce rates; if they had waiting periods and if so how long they are. What I discovered was shocking.

"The eight states with the highest divorce rates:Nevada, Arkansas, Wyoming, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, New Mexico, and Mississippi. They have an average of 5.2 divorces per 1,000 population and an average waiting period of 40 days.

"The eight states with the lowest divorce rates:Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, which have an average divorce rate of 2.6 divorces per 1,000 population and an average waiting period of 190.5 days. "

Read the rest of this article here.