Chat Over Coffee!

Mrs. Duke U. grad, Mrs. Wolfpack 
and Mrs. UNC grad were chatting 
over coffee.

Said Mrs. UNC, "I've been experiencing 
a strange and painful side effect from coffee. 
I'm fine when I drink it black, but if
I use cream, or sugar, or both, I get 
 a stabbing pain in one eye."

Mrs. UNC took a sip of her coffee. 
"Owwwww!" she cried. "There it 
goes again!"

Said Mrs. Duke, "Dear... take the 
spoon out of the cup."

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Margaret Manning - RZIM said...

Many of us recall from our flannel-graph Sunday school classes the story of
the short, little man who climbed into a sycamore tree to get a glimpse at
Jesus. As I revisited this story recently, I noticed that Jesus calls
Zaccheus a "son of Abraham," and I was struck by how discordant this title
would have seemed in its application to Zaccheus. Abraham, the great
patriarch of Israel was called by God to leave his homeland and follow God
into a land that God would show him. Scripture tells us that "Abraham
believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).
How then could Jesus count a scheming, conniving, tax-collecting swindler
as a "son of Abraham"? What was the great demonstration of faith by this
much-hated man that would prompt this commendation of Jesus?

As we examine the details of his story we begin to get glimpses into
Zaccheus's faith. Understanding his place in society as a chief tax
collector gives us our first instance of faith. As a chief tax collector,
Zaccheus would have had many "junior" tax collectors working for him. In a
town like Jericho, which was quite prosperous and large, Zaccheus would
have been very rich, and would have had quite a large business profiting
off of cheating fellow Israelites out of their money. Yet prosperity did
not insulate Zaccheus from being hated by his countrymen. After all, he
profited from a system prone to abuse, which rewarded tax collectors for
excessive collections.(1) Thus, the Jews saw tax collectors as
mercenaries and thieves, and a Jew to be in business with the Romans meant
utter ostracism from the Jewish community.(2) So we can understand why
Luke points out that all who heard Jesus invite himself over to Zaccheus's
house for dinner grumbled and muttered. Zaccheus was not a popular guy in
his society.

But hearing the news of Jesus's arrival in his town, this much-maligned
man pushed his way through the crowds, hoisted up his garments in a most
undignified manner just to get a glimpse of Jesus. Zaccheus had obviously
heard the stories about this Jesus--his healings, his radical love and
acceptance, and his remarkable, authoritative teachings. He had heard
about Jesus, but now his curious faith compelled him to see for himself if
all that he had heard was really true.

We also glimpse Zaccheus's faith at work in his response to Jesus inviting
himself over for dinner. Jesus extends gracious acceptance to one
despised. In response, Zaccheus overflows with generous gratitude: "Lord,
half of my possessions I will give to the poor" (Luke 19:8). Jesus has
asked for nothing but hospitality from Zaccheus, and in response,
Zaccheus, the very rich man, willingly surrenders half of his wealth.
This is not an attempt of Zaccheus to earn Jesus's favor by works, but
rather a faith-motivated response to Jesus's love and acceptance.

Zaccheus's willingness to let go of half of his wealth demonstrates a
faith that trusts in God's gracious provision. God's graciousness towards
him prompts his faith-fueled donation.

Zaccheus's faithful response goes beyond gratitude as he seeks to restore
justice to those whom he has defrauded. It wasn't enough for Zaccheus to
give away half of his wealth in response to Jesus's grace and acceptance;
he insists on repaying those he has defrauded. Now, the Old Testament
requirement for restitution is for the amount defrauded plus one-fifth.(3)

Zaccheus doesn't simply meet the letter of the law; he exceeds it by
offering to repay four times as much as he has defrauded others!

Four-fold restitution will impoverish Zaccheus, as he's already committed
to give away half of his wealth. In response to Jesus's gracious
acceptance, Zaccheus parts with his wealth as a sign of his faith at
work--a sign of his salvation. Jesus declares, "Today, salvation has come
to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham" (Luke 19:9).

Like Abraham, Zaccheus responds with faith. Abraham believed God and it
was "counted as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6). Abraham's belief in God
prompted action. His faith compelled him to follow God's lead even though
that meant leaving family, land, comfort, and security. In the same way,
by voluntarily impoverishing himself, Zaccheus demonstrates that he too is
a child of Abraham because he lives by faith--faith that demonstrates its
true character in action.

Has your faith motivated you to action? Has it filled you with gratitude
so that you abundantly give of your time, your talents, and your
resources? Has it shown up through visible and tangible demonstrations of
love and justice? Or, is faith a random, disjointed collection of ideas
that make no claim on the way you live your life? As we remember the
story of Zaccheus, will it be said of you and of me: "Today salvation has
come to this house, for he, too, is a son of Abraham?"

Margaret Manning is associate writer at Ravi Zacharias International
Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Research from the website
(2) The Tosefta Toharoth notes, "When [tax] collectors enter into a
house, the house [is considered] unclean."
(3) See Leviticus 6:5 and Numbers 5:7.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,
tell them they can sign up on our website at If they do not have access to the
World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).

Al Mohler, PhD said...

The Equal Parenting Movement Meets Reality
Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 5:37 am ET

Will dad ever do his share? That is the question asked by the cover article
in Sunday's edition of The New York Times Magazine. Reporter Lisa Belkin
takes a look at the movement for what is called "equal parenting." The most
obvious problem with "equal parenting" is that it doesn't turn out to be
very equal in reality.

Belkin starts out profiling Marc and Amy Vachon, young parents of baby
Maia -- and parents who intend to create their own equal model of parenting.
Here is how Belkin describes their plan:

They would not be the kind of parents their parents had been -- the
mother-knows-best mold. Nor the kind their friends were -- the "involved"
dad married to the stressed-out working mom. Nor even, as Marc put it, "the
stay-at-home dad, who is cooed at for his sensitivity but who is as isolated
and financially vulnerable as the stay-at-home-mom."

Instead, they would create their own model, one in which they were parenting
partners. Equals and peers. They would work equal hours, spend equal time
with their children, take equal responsibility for their home. Neither would
be the keeper of the mental to-do lists; neither of their careers would take
precedence. Both would be equally likely to plan a birthday party or know
that the car needs oil or miss work for a sick child or remember (without
prompting) to stop at the store for diapers and milk. They understood that
this would mean recalibrating their career ambitions, and probably their
income, but what they gained, they believed, would be more valuable than
what they lost.

The part of their plan that first caught my eye was the part about the
"mental to-do lists." The idea that a dad's list will match a mom's in
depth, clarity, or accuracy is crazy, it seems to me. I hope the magazine
does a follow-up on the Vachon's experiment. I would like to know what they
will learn about the reality of the parenting equation.

The significance of Belkin's article is not so much in the focus on the
Vachons, however. The real interest is in the background to the story.
Belkin provides a most interesting look at one of the enduring quandaries of
our times -- why is it that the vast social changes of the past several
decades have produced so little change in the division of domestic labor in
the home?

As Belkin reports, those committed to the "equal parenting" movement share a
simple assumption: "Gender should not determine the division of labor at
home." This includes all that is involved in domestic life. Nevertheless,
this assumption just doesn't seem to work its way into reality, even among
those who say they are committed to it.

She cites Francine M. Deutsch, a professor at Mount Holyoke College and the
author of Halving It All: How Equally Shared Parenting Works. "If you gave
people a survey they would probably check all the answers about how things
should be equal," she says. But when they explain how things actually work
out in the home, "ideal does not match reality."

As Belkin explains:

Social scientists know in remarkable detail what goes on in the average
American home. And they have calculated with great precision how little has
changed in the roles of men and women. Any way you measure it, they say,
women do about twice as much around the house as men.

The most recent figures from the University of Wisconsin's National Survey
of Families and Households show that the average wife does 31 hours of
housework a week while the average husband does 14 -- a ratio of slightly
more than two to one. If you break out couples in which wives stay home and
husbands are the sole earners, the number of hours goes up for women, to 38
hours of housework a week, and down a bit for men, to 12, a ratio of more
than three to one. That makes sense, because the couple have defined home as
one partner's work.

But then break out the couples in which both husband and wife have full-time
paying jobs. There, the wife does 28 hours of housework and the husband, 16.
Just shy of two to one, which makes no sense at all.

The article is both extensive and substantial, and the questions she raises
are important. Why do women still do most of the parenting and the domestic
work? The assumption of the researchers cited in the article seems to be
that this stubborn imbalance must reflect either a refusal by men to do what
they should do or a reluctance by many women to liberate themselves from old
roles and expectations.

What seems to be unthinkable is nevertheless very hard to resist -- what if
this enduring reality points to something objectively different in terms of
the gifts, passions, intuitions, and roles of men and women . . . fathers
and mothers?

One key and unavoidable insight of all this research is the fact that
egalitarianism doesn't end up being very egalitarian in reality. Mothers are
still mothers, and fathers are still fathers -- and there is still a
difference. Those who operate from a secular worldview informed by feminism
must assume that this is just another representation of enduring cultural
prejudice. Those operating from an evolutionary worldview will be tempted to
suggest that this is evidence of the enduring power of ancient adaptations.

The Christian, operating out of a biblical worldview, must see this as an
affirmation of the fact that men and women are assigned complementary, and
not identical roles. As fathers, men are called to loving leadership in the
home, and this will mean an active and loving engagement with his children.
The Christian father will love his children no less than the Christian
mother, but his role will not be the same.

There is certainly no shortage of men who are lazy, unfaithful, and
disengaged from family life, but this does not answer the question The New
York Times Magazine is asking. The idea of "equal parenting" is not just
unrealistic, it is unreal. Reality can be a hard thing to accept, but it is
also a hard thing to resist.

Adrian Monk said...

"Mayor Bloomberger is planting 1 million trees in New York
City. Well, we need more trees, because currently, squirrels
have to wait until another squirrel dies before they can move
into a tree." -David Letterman

Professor Howdy said...

And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at evening... - 1 Chronicles 23:30

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