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photoWho wrote to Her Boys’ FB Girlfriends

You probably saw this letter that went viral recently written from some boys’ mother to their girlfriends on Facebook. Though I saw many uncritically ‘liking’ it, my wife’s reaction told me I wasn’t the only one who thought it another, if gentler, example of blaming girls/women for boys/men objectifying them.
If you didn’t see it, you should probably read it first. 

Dear Boys,

I thought I’d write you this FYI even though this is wildly premature.

You’re both still at the age when neither of you is sure how the internet works nor can you distinguish between Facebook and email.

The word ‘selfie’ probably strikes you as a good name for a stuffed animal or a Marvel villain, and the mere mention of GIRLS makes one of you blush and the other wrinkle your nose in embarrassed anger.

This may be premature, but perhaps not. After all, who you will be begins right now, with who we’re helping you to become. That’s a parent’s baptismal promise, to shape you so that your character is grounded in the character of Jesus.

God, I hope your Mom does a good job of it.

Just kidding.

What it means to have the character of Jesus, who was the perfect image of God, is to regard others as the exact image of God.

That means, boys, to see people as holy, as sacraments, and sacraments- as you’ll learn in confirmation- are examples of a whole lot more than what’s visible to the eye.

That means, boys, to treat people as (God’s) people.

And never as objects.

It means you never see only a person’s physical beauty, or notice only their lack of it- which I also hope you’ll learn is a terribly unbeautiful way to live.

Brass tacks time, boys:

If you see a pretty girl, in real life or on FB, and from that point on that’s all you can see in them or that’s all you can think of them…that’s YOUR fault boys NOT the girl’s fault.

I hold you responsible and I’m damn sure your Mother will too.

Sure, said girl made her choice when she dressed said way.

But you, boys, make your choices too.

You can choose to objectify others or you can choose to treat your neighbors as your self.

In truth, if you do grow up to objectify girls, boys, it’s our fault too, your Mom and me, for letting you be shaped by a culture that sexualizes everything for a $ and only sounding the alarm years later when we don’t like what its done to you.

But I don’t think that will happen to you boys.

Some parents excuse their boys’ demeaning girls by demeaning boys, treating boys as though they were no more than talking animals, slaves to impulses and emotions.

I think I’ll give you boys more credit, which also means I’m giving you responsibility.

You can treat girls as they should be treated.

But let’s be realistic, sometimes you won’t. You’ll have impulses, thoughts, desires…and THAT’S OKAY. It’s natural. It’s part of being human. It’s not any girl’s fault and it’s not yours either. It’s not dirty or bad or unholy.

Jesus (God) was human, don’t forget, so there’s nothing that can run through your head that didn’t run through his. And so there’s nothing you need to be ashamed of.

When you hit puberty, boys, you’ll realize to what an extent that’s Gospel.

Good News.

While we’re on this track, boys, let me just say that, like other parents, your Mother and I certainly hope you’ll ‘wait’ for that perfect girl (and if it’s not a girl that’s fine too, but that’s an FYI for another day).

Always remember, though, if you do wait you’re no better than anyone else and no worthier of my love.

Or God’s.

And if you don’t wait, you and your other whomever is no less beautiful to me. Or God. Parents who suggest anything to the contrary are on some ugly, unGospely footing.

Finally, boys, let me ask a favor of you.

If, in the years ahead, a girl friend of yours ever posts a ‘selfie’ on Facebook, please don’t let me pontificate to you or judge your friend.

And please don’t let me use faith-based innuendo or pious-sounding (but still very sexist) double standards to imply that your friends are slutty. Even if our culture’s still not beyond that, Jesus was.

Just remind me, boys, that you’re still just children. Figuring life out.

And if your friends do post ‘selfies’ I hope you’ll never let me get so self-important (your Mother will probably help) that I feel empowered to shame your friends or lecture their parents via social media (it’s their job, after all, not mine to tell their kids what not to post) or think that complete strangers on the internet should read my parenting advice.



PS: If I do ever lecture your girlfriends about what they wear in FB pics, please remind me to take down any shirtless pictures I have online of my own kids.

Some Wise Pastoral Counsel

Jason Micheli —  September 12, 2012 — 1 Comment

This comes from a good friend of many years. He recently received some sound advice from a friend, advice I think that’s on target for just about all of us. Disregard my friend’s cheap shot about my cynicism.


Hey Jason–I know you don’t check your fb emails all that regularly, but I wanted to share something very interesting…that if you can put your cold-hearted cyncism to the side–you might appreciate. smile I have been on this spiritual journey as of late…having children and being married has caused me to really reflect even more so that I normally do. I even went to a fellow minister to get some guidance and counsel because not having a dad, especially not a Christian father, and even though I counsel families–I’m not very good at taking my own advice. I write all of that to say that in meeting with my friend–he pointed out that I am approval/performance driven (ouch) I can be critical and non-accepting of people because I am critical and non-accepting of me. So…your blogs have really hit a nerve because, though doctrine is important, I am learning to love–to rest in Him.

Sounds easy, but difficult to understand that I am ok with me…that love and grace can be uncondtional from God and I, in turn, can share that same unconditional love and grace with others. That when I see my sin…it isn’t for me to be condemned, but to draw me to the holy, merciful, loving, gracious God… to cry out to God and thank Him, praise Him, adore Him, worship Him. To submit to His grace is counterintuitve to me…but I think a lot of Christians struggle with this.

Am I only noticing because the political conventions have followed one after the other this past week? Or am I the only person out there with both Red and Blue friends? Whatever the reason may be, lately I’ve felt besieged by friends’ partisan Facebook posts.

The posts range from cheap shots to substantive arguments to regurgitating talking points to tired cliche and rumors to baseless attacks. The posters range from liberal Democrats to conservative Tea Partiers. According to my ‘friends’ Mitt Romey is a heartless Gilded Age Robber Baron and President Obama is a Maoist bent on our destruction.

It’s ironic that even though I do not have cable (or even watch television) or listen to commercial radio I’m already weary of the campaign attacks.

I suppose this is the first presidential election I’ve experienced as a user of Facebook and social media.

What’s surprising to me is how people will blatantly assault other people with their political views on FB when politics still ranks up there with God and Sex as taboos in face-face conversation. Even more surprising to me- not sure why it surprises me, actually- is that so many FB users either assume everyone else agrees with them or, worse, don’t care if you do or not and, even worse, don’t care if it insults or offends you.

All this just goes to show, I suspect, that FB Friends aren’t necessarily friends. At least friendship still necessitates some measure of civility even in this heated political climate. And civility necessitates you know, actual, listening.

The pettiness, meanness and avoidance of complexity (who actually believes America’s challenges, problems or successes begin and end when one Presidential Administration begins and another ends?) are all reminders to me that Christians should be cautious about their political loyalties and identification.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Barthian through and through but it’s naive to think either party’s platforms capture the peculiar nature of what it means to follow Jesus- as scripture says: ‘Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ does so in earnest. And it’s dangerous for Christians to forget that our first loyalty is to Christ not to party or, even, to country.

That’s why, I think, civility and truthfulness should always trump partisan point-scoring because as followers of Jesus we care more about people than party, platform or politics.

With that in mind, here’s a good reminder list about Christians and politics from Relevant.

Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity—the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower. Your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn’t live in Vegas.




Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.

Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

Here are seven things to remember about politics:

1. Both political parties go to church.

There’s a Christian Left and, perhaps even less well-known, there’s a secular Right. Edwina Rogers is a Republican lobbyist and head of the Secular Coalition for America. She’s a Republican, and her entire job is devoted to keeping religion out of the U.S. government. Party lines are drawn in chalk, and they’re not hard to cross. The Church must be engaged in politics, but it must not be defined by the arbitrary lines in politics.

2. Political talk radio and cable “news” only want ratings.

When media personalities tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by instilling fear and paranoia in their listeners. If we give our favorite political ideologues more time than we give Jesus, we are following the wrong master. There are unbiased, logical and accurate news sources out there. But it’s up to you to be a good steward of information—to fact-check for yourself, take ideology with a grain of salt and make decisions based on facts rather than gossip.

3. Those who argue over politics don’t love their country more than others.

They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of weak faith (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1) and are among the things the Lord “detests.” We need to rise above the vitriol and learn to love our neighbors the way God commanded us. We need to love our atheist neighbor who wants to keep creationism out of schools; our Democrat neighbor who wants to make gay marriage and abortion legal; our Republican neighbor who celebrates death penalty statistics; and yes, even the presidential candidate from the other side.




4. Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake.

The social policies of your party were constructed by imperfect politicians fueled by ambition. It’s nearsighted to canonize them—and it will make you obsolete in a few years. Every four years, the parties adopt a current, updated platform at their respective conventions. And while they stay on general tracks, every four years the platform evolves to meet the needs of a growing, modernized and changing party. The Republican party of today doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago. We need to know when to change our views to meet a changing culture—and when to stand by them.

Here’s the rest.