What I’m Reading, Thinking, Doing – 7/31/15

What I'm Reading, Thinking, Doing 7/25/15 -- jessconnell.com


  • Ten Proposed Commandments for Christian Parenting — #4 is the one that’s most difficult for me. What about you?
  • A Letter to the Sister in Christ Who Aborted Her Child(ren)
  • Can We Kill Human Beings if They Are Not Persons?
  • On Planned Parenthood, Ashley Madison, and Shame— What happens in a culture where sexuality in every form is celebrated, and yet we still meet with shame from (what everyone used to know was) poor decisions?
  • Mom of 8-Year-Old Gay Pride Marcher Responds to Critics — We’re really botching this parenting business, and this article shows the absurdity of our modern era. Unfortunately, Yahoo!, in classic Yahoo! fashion, is choosing not to show the comments for this article, but I saw them when there were hundreds of people with common-sense responses calling this mom out for being irresponsible. The mainstream media does not want us to feel like we have the right to say this is absolute nonsense, but it is absolute nonsense. Intellectuals from the ages have thought that children need guidance in their tastes, choices, and celebrations. Only in our modern age do people think that fetuses aren’t people, yet 3-year-olds “know themselves” and can begin therapy to become something other than they actually are. Mama, don’t fall prey to thinking that this is normal.
  • The Real Reason Women Are Having Children Later — this article points out so many inherent flaws with the approach of feminism and why, a generation later, women are worse off, and not better off. Somehow, interestingly, even when they “have it their way,” feminists find a way to blame men for their problems.
  • We Don’t Love Children; We Love Drywall — a sad but true assessment of our materialistic culture (even in the church!)
  • More Kids, Less Stress? Survey Reveals the Magic Number of Children for a Worry-Free Future — Haha, well, I don’t know about “worry-free,” but stats seem to consistently show that moms of more than average have less stress, though most people would expect the opposite. It presents a chicken-and-egg conundrum, perhaps: is it that moms who stress less go on to have a third child (or more), or that moms who go on to have a third (or more) stress less?
  • The Bible and Same-Sex Marriage: 6 Common But Mistaken Claims — one sample quote: ” Whereas with creation/slavery/women one can point to passages where counter-tensions existed with what was clear (such as the way Paul asks Philemon to treat Onesimus, or how Mary sat as Jesus’s disciple, or how the Spirit is said to indwell all women), no OT or NT text is even neutral on same-sex issues. Every single text that mentions the topic does so negatively.”

“Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought. When the age for for reflective thought comes, the pupil who has thus been trained in “ordinate affections” or “just sentiments” will easily find the first principles in Ethics: but to the corrupt man they will never be visible at all… the little human will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred, at those things which really are pleasant, likable, disgusting, and hateful.” ~C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man


  • What my Bible study time should look like now, in this season of motherhood… I used to be faithful at deep, ongoing Bible study, and have just flat out dropped the ball on this. I’ve been doing 2 Corinthians for the past couple months with our ladies’ Sunday school group, and Exodus with Doug & the kids, and studying a variety of passages when I’m asked to do freelance work on a Bible study. Still, sometimes I feel like all I’m getting is just sustenance and not on-going deep meat like I used to do. Any suggestions out there? Ideas? Is this just how it is in some seasons? I don’t want to grow stagnant and be OK with that.
  • The Problem With Transparency— How do we have small groups and accountability groups that truly propel sanctification, rather than mere confession of perpetual sin, fleshliness, and ugly attitudes?
  • How to Raise Boys Who Read— We’ve got some great readers around here, but I’m still always thinking about our balance in this topic– where we fall on the video game/book continuum. I’m (personally) not a fan of video games. And yet I loved playing Super Mario. And yet we own 4 Nintendo DS systems (only 1 of which we bought… and that was used)… which I let the kids pull out probably on average 15-25 times a year. We don’t keep them out, and it’s a rare treat, for a couple hours or an afternoon at a go, but they do sometimes get played in our home. So while I’m not a fan of video games in general, we own them and allow them in moderation. I guess, my general thought is, I don’t think they’re wicked in and of themselves, but I *do* think a great deal too many adult men seem to be mastered by video games, and as I think about what my boys are growing into, I don’t ever want them to be mastered by playing with plastic and pixels. We believe an important part of parenting is keeping careful watch over their appetites, and this is a particularly vulnerable appetite in our culture. Anything that approaches “mastering” our children gets talked about openly and they know has the potential to be cut altogether if I see it controlling them in an unhealthy way.
  • Why Do We Sing? Hymns & Contemporary Christian Music in the Church — thoughts from a friend of mine that greatly mirror my own. One sample: “If our goal with congregational singing is to involve the people and unite them in communal worship we need to ask ourselves if we are achieving that goal. Are we inviting people to sing with us in a manner they can follow and in a manner which they can feel somewhat confident?…Sometimes I feel that a secret requirement of being a part of a congregation is to be conversant in the current songs playing on the Christian airwaves.” I have felt these things, and appreciate Pamela’s honesty.
  • Getting ready for this homeschooling year… a bit of a switch-a-roo from our survival-get-through-it last few years of adjustment from whole books with two boys close in age, to multiple children at multiple levels… but this year, the focus is going to be back on whole books. Pray for me to persevere with this, y’all.

“Moral excellence is concerned with pleasures and pains; it is on account of the pleasure that we do bad things, and on account of the pain that we abstain from noble ones. Hence we ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our very youth, as Plato says, so as both to delight in and to be pained by the things that we ought; for this is the right education.” ~Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, Book 2, Chapter 3


  • Mastermind game // jessconnell.comThis has been the summer of extracurriculars for our family. I set out, at the beginning of this summer, with a MOTH-like schedule of what we would do each day… including logic, drawing, sports/P.E., and music. I wanted to give the kids purposeful, structured exposure to all the stuff we don’t always have regular time to fit in during the school year. Well, it’s all (mostly) boiled down to drawing and music, haha. Though I can make them wonderfully, I’m terrible at *keeping* rigid, MOTH-like schedules. But we have had SOME “success”– our 9-year-old daughter started taking violin this summer, and I’ve been teaching my 7 & 13 year olds how to play guitar. The last couple months have been focused on learning basics about the guitar and some chords. This week we started learning basic strum patterns.  I’ve never taught guitar… so I’m sure I’m probably doing some things wrong, or in the wrong order, but it’s free, and I play well enough for them to get going with chords and rhythm. If they advance beyond my ability (which won’t take much effort), I’ll celebrate and we’ll consider “real” lessons. :)
  • We found this awesome game– Mastermind— last week and everyone from the 5 year old and up has been enthralled! It’s a very clever, and very simple, game– my favorite type! We can’t stop playing… seems like somewhere in the house, someone’s playing, nonstop! :)


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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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10 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    Oh my that Yahoo article about that sweet little 8-year-old boy! So, so heartbreaking! I just can’t even find the words. And then one person commenting and saying, “I wish my mom had been like this when I came out at four years old.” How can a four year old COME OUT?? Really??? My kids don’t even know half the time whether they still like mac n’ cheese or not. How can someone so immature and so innocent and so naive come out as gay?? I do not even understand. This world is nutty. Really, truly nutty. Jesus needs to come back.

  2. Jen Mc says:

    Have you seen Hello Mornings….. a great online source for Bible study, at home yet accountability in small groups – starting Judges in a couple weeks, I am leading a group, Grace Filled Mornings – would love to have you join us! I am in the process of “redefining” our group to be more homeschool moms of littles/many so we can provide better support and encouragement to each other in this wonderfully busy season where we still need to be spending time in the Word but it can be a challenge as well 😉 Once you join here: http://www.hellomornings.org/ – it will prompt you to find a group and you can find Grace Filled Mornings!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Thanks, Jen. I don’t think I will, but I appreciate the offer. This week I really realized that what I’m missing is the old deep intensive Bible study I used to do on my own.

      I’ve got plenty of the other– in our ladies Sunday school study, in our family devotions, and in my editing work– but it’s the deep meaty personal study– digging, coming to Scripture with a curiosity and thirst– that I’ve been missing. That’s what I need to do more of, and what I’ve been slack about the past few years, but especially the last few months.

  3. Jamie says:

    I have been chewing on this article from my sister’s father-in-law, regarding how to read the Bible. Let me know what you think! It’s a little long, but worth the read!


    • Jess Connell says:

      I didn’t know you were related to the Elliff’s… or that your sister is. Pretty sure his daughter, Becca, and I were on the same hall in college. Anyway, I totally agree with this:

      “I’m recommending immersion or saturation in one or two books of the Bible over several months as my preferred method. Frankly, I have never known Bible reading to be so transformative and interesting as with this method, both for me and for many friends who have tried it at my suggestion.”

      That is how I did it overseas… a book a month… and I haven’t done so in a long time. I may again start now. I tried a “read through the Bible in a year” plan again this year (I’ve done it probably 3-5 times in years past) but I don’t know what I was thinking! I totally dropped the ball in February when I had Luke. LOL. Duh.

      That article is EXCELLENT by the way. I could really relate to what he was saying about books holding less luster than they used to… I’m not totally there, but I definitely have less enthusiasm about books written by humans than I used to.

  4. Kondwani says:

    I like these posts because there are evenings when I want to quickly read some encouraging or challenging articles, and you’ve pre-selected them. Thanks!

    I liked the 10 commandments for parents. It is difficult to expect excellence and really aim high for them (ie when you expect the child to fail, then they probably will) without demanding an impossible standard. And also to remain patient whilst not tolerating recurrent sin. Challenging indeed! For me, the first couple were key – we mustn’t ever try to present ourselves as a ‘perfect’ family – we should never get more irritable because of how we think a behaviour might make us look.

    The transgender children thing is so hard. It is JUST SO WRONG. One of my sons really likes pink. Another likes sparkly things, and is always fascinated by jewellery and long hair. But I don’t encourage them to dress in princess costumes because it is not appropriate. However, I am sure that they would love to dress up as princesses (as much as they like to be pirates, soldiers, Masai warriors and the other things little boys like to play at). Of course if I was to encourage them to just do what they felt like, and surround myself with people who applauded that, then there would be a possibility that the child ended up in this very confused situation of thinking they were transgender. Grrrr. Really worries me this trend.

    The women having children later one was full of illogical arguments – such as suggesting that settling down ‘with the first person you are intimate with’ results in the rising rates of broken families, divorce, single parent households etc. Hello? These figures have skyrocketed since it became socially acceptable to ‘play the field’. It is scary how people can decieve themselves (and something we all need to guard against in our own hearts).

    Finally – what is a MOTH schedule?

  5. Stephanie says:

    As a for Bible study, I did a Love God Greatly online study and really liked it. We did a Facebook group so we could comment and discuss when we had a chance on the day. I really want to do one again. As for the singing. We do all hymns at church and I really like it. It was different for us when we moved here but now I don’t think I’d want to go back to CCM in worship. I love hearing my kids singing hymns and asking questions about them and they just have so much theology in the songs.

  6. Hi Jess,
    Just wanted to comment about the Bible study thing. I’ve been feeling similar lately too.
    One study I really enjoyed earlier this year is “Pursuit of Proverbs 31” by Amy Bayliss. I found it very theologically meaty. She had me pulling out the Bible dictionary, and reading over passages multiple times, journalling and really listening to the Holy Spirit. Highly recommend it!
    – Another Jess
    (By the way, I used to read your blog many years ago, back when you were “Making Home” and I was about 18 years old. I’m now married (for 6 years) with two young kids and have just started reading you again over the last few months. And I have to say, one of the things I have always appreciated about your writing is your compassion and the way you don’t compromise the truth. Thank you :) )

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