A long while ago, I blogged about the Fireproof Movie. I got this today in a newsletter about Fireproof the Movie:
Churches Focusing on Fireproofing Marriages
As with every movie that is released theatrically this year, FIREPROOF aims to entertain audiences. Unlike any other movie this year, FIREPROOF will provide ministry opportunities for churches to help strengthen marriages in their community. You can find great church resources at FireproofmyMarriage.com.
In addition, churches will be able to host a “Fireproof My Marriage” seminar on November 1. This Church Communication Network simulcast features Sherwood Senior Pastor Michael Catt, FIREPROOF co-writers Stephen and Alex Kendrick, and marriage experts Gary Smalley and Dr. Les Parrott, among others.
http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/takeaction/ has some information about what you can do to promote the movie. We are 72 days out from the launch of the movie. I really believe it will do well!
I had the distinct privilege of hanging out with one of my Florida buddies for his birthday last night. He celebrated his birthday in the morning as he does every year with a no-hands front-flip.
Kevin Conklin is unique both in that he looks 40 instead of 50, and that he is in better shape than most people I know under 30. A former college wrestler in a light weight class, Kevin is still ferocious and determined.
Kevin has been kind enough to work with me on discovering some of the warped views I have on who God is and how he relates to me. Our friendship is just beginning, but I trust the guy because he lived in his car at the beach for a few weeks to reconnect with God.
So last night at his birthday party, he had been asked to write down some of the wisdom he has gained in all those years. Here are a few tidbits that hit home for me I asked permission from him to share:
- Pray, don’t talk about prayer or study about it – pray!
- Be sure to learn a new hobby every couple years – it’s fun and stimulating and keeps you humble but good at a lot of things.
- [Jesus] is truly faithful and loves you more deeply than anyone. There are no shortcuts to this relationship. Tend to it, nurture it and keep it creative.
- Guard your heart! He is the source of your strength and peace.
- Love deeply again and again no matter how much it hurts when it doesn’t work out, being lonely and regretful is no way to live.
- Trials are your friends, for they truly forge your character. You have what it takes and you should embrace these trials as gifts, not hassles or as some form of punishment. They make you stronger, more real, teach you the best lessons…
- Attitude and effort are two things you have control over, the rest you really don’t.
- Make memories, you must be spontaneous and intentional … otherwise you will become a spectator, regretful and for sure boring.
- Live today, don’t hold tightly to yesterday and don’t bank on tomorrow, we have this moment, right now. What will you do with it?
- Create a life counsel for yourself. People who love you most, know you best, want the best for you and are willing to speak the truth in love to you.
- Believe the best in people first and then let their life determine the rest.
At the Couples Conference this weekend, hosted at Christ Fellowship in partnership with Gary Smalley, we got to see an incredible preview of Fireproof the Movie. I can’t yet find the Fireproof scene online that we were shown with Kirk Cameron starring in the lead role (get with it movie promoters), but it has to be one of the best scenes of his career. It may be one of the most intensely real scenes between a married couple to ever hit the big screen. Here is the only trailer I could find for you to get a taste:
Here is a summary from the Fireproof Film website:
At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter’s adage: Never leave your partner behind. At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules.After seven years of marriage, Caleb and Catherine Holt have drifted so far apart that Catherine wishes she had never married. Neither one understands the pressures the other faces—as firefighter and she as the public relations director of a hospital.
Regular arguments over jobs, finances, housework, and outside interests have readied them both to move on to something with more sparks. As the couple prepares to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb’s father challenges his son to commit to a 40-day experiment he calls “The Love Dare.” Wondering if it’s even worth the effort, Caleb agrees, but more for his father’s sake than for his marriage. When Caleb discovers the book’s daily challenges are tied into his parents’ newfound faith, his already limited interest is further dampened.While trying to stay true to his promise, Caleb becomes frustrated time and again. He finally asks his father, “How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?”
When his father explains that this is the love God shows to us, Caleb makes a life-changing commitment to love God. And—with God’s help—he begins to understand what it means to truly love his wife. But is it too late to fireproof his marriage? His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt is ready to face his toughest job ever … rescuing his wife’s heart
I am expecting this to be a really great flick. I imagine there will be some weak points in the acting, but the story line looks like something everyone in America can relate to. It is due out sometime in the fall, and I am sure local church leaders will hear about it sometime in the summer.
(Mom, I know you are reading this, but I just had to blog this.)
So while laying in the bath (don’t picture it) catching up on my email on my iPhone this morning I get this from my Skype-friendly mother:
>> I noticed that your location on Twitter is still Frisco. I enjoy
>> reading it. Did you get the email from Facebook about adding me?
To which I responded to my mom:
< snip >
> Thankfully I have a policy of never doing anything online that
> my mother would not approve of, so I am safe. You have to be the most
> technically with it woman over 60. You are not supposed to even know what
> Facebook is, much less be on it.
> No, we can’t be friends, you are my mother. The last thing I need is my
> friends ganging up with my mom to do an intervention or something. Yes
> I still have a healthy fear of your wrath and of disappointing you. I
> thought you were retiring to knit, bird watch, and befriend Oprah…what
> is this grandmother 2.0?
I am sure that response will seem harsh to those of you who don’t know exactly how much I really love my momma and how much I admire her. The truth is, she is the one who taught me Windows ’98 and got me my first technology job during that horrible period after school where most of us didn’t have a clear career path.
My point in sharing all of this is to A) brag on my mom to butter her up before she comes to Florida to visit, B) bring out the fact that she isn’t the only older person I am seeing with technical and social software where-with-all. Over the last two years I have had a number of older persons send me “suggestions” about how to improve the websites I oversee, as well as to let me know when something isn’t quite working the way it should. With non-profits, they are especially proficient at online giving and web streaming. It seems they are also highly interested in when events start. Bygones.
What I am trying to say is that I think we now have Grandmother 2.0, which I will define as “a women who has planted two generations of family and knows more than the average Generation X person”. Why Generation X you ask? Because there seems to be a dividing line between most of us and the digital-natives that is marked around 1980.
Is anyone else seeing what I am seeing?
(Mom, I know I told you after you discovered my blog not to comment on posts…but feel free to share your thoughts.)
As we wait on our family values list to be created by interested participants, we thought we would kick things off with the family value “obedience“. Obedience is an important value because it deals with a child’s’ physical safety and their understanding of God. There are times when the consequences of disobedience are not just inconvenient, but deadly. Sin is death, yes, but so can be an untimely sprint across the parking lot.
If we aren’t careful with the way we describe and enforce obedience, we can become rule-focused rather than character-focused. The kids could have a hard time connecting obedience to anything other than the removal of privileges or an appropriately-delivered spanking. Beaver Cleaver getting “yelled at” comes to mind.
The Obedience We Want
What we want to see is the child understanding that a heart of obedience extends and honors relationship. Obedience is not something we always do blindly, but when there exists a relationship with love, this can also be a part of the equation. A “leap of faith” can be an obedient response to God asking us to do something that doesn’t make complete sense. And there will be times that obeying daddy isn’t completely understood.
None the less, obedience is critical to safety and our understanding that God has not compelled himself to remove consequences when we do not obey him. The old testament and the new testament provide plenty of examples of God allowing someone to experience destruction as a result of their disobedience. We do reap what we sow, don’t we?
One of the most obedient set of children we have ever seen are the kids of J.J. Barto. I believe his kids respond out of their love for the parents and a whole understanding of the definition and value of obedience. I can tell you first hand, his kids stop what they are doing and come running with any call of their name. They don’t have to be asked more than once. J.J. and Charlotte don’t remember exactly where they found this, but their whole family can recite it at any moment:
Obedience is doing what has been asked or ordered all the way, right away, with a good attitude.
J.J. affirmed this definition works in a recent email to us:
This has held up very well for us over the past 5 1/2 years with both our children and us.
Family Value Modeling
And that brings up a good clarifying point. What is required of our children should be required of us as well, right? If we want the kids to live out these family values, we must submit our own selves to them and model them. We need to be faithful to obey God and defer our preference to those who love us (our spouse, our teachers, our mentors) in front of our children. While this deferment isn’t exactly obedience, it shows our own willingness to submit ourselves to others gladly.
Over the last month we have been using a variant of the definition J.J. provided. Our definition for the girls has been:
“To obey means to do the right thing, the first time, with a good attitude.”
Our idea was to abstract out the “asked or ordered” portion such that there is an understanding that Biblical truths, government laws, and complementary family values must be obeyed even without an explicit ask. We also wanted to include an aspect of our belief that there is absolute truth/right. Now that we look at it though, it seems we have dropped the “all the way” portion. Complete obedience is indeed a critical component of obeying.
Another variant of these same definitions that our friend Reagan Swank mentioned once could be the original (source yet unknown but it sounds like Babywise): “Obey all the way, right away, and with a happy heart”.
The “happy heart” part might be a little unrealistic? When we obey God, it isn’t always bringing glad tidings and with a smile on our face. As we said above, the hearts condition is critical to obedience, but I am not sure it can be instituted or enforced.
What About Your Obedience?
What about you. How are you defining and talking about obedience within your family? Should obedience be a family value? It is up to every parent to implement the obedience process with those who are caretakers of their kids, but what works for you? Can you think of a time where the value of obedience was made clear to you through specific language, a metaphor, or an event?
With our recent time in the hospital came some moments of down-time that really made me wonder what I value. In fact, not only what I value, but what we as a family value. Ashley and I had spent much time considering the question and verbalizing to one another what we believe and what we want to instill in our children. But are we getting through to the little ones with our family values? Are we taking every opportunity to model them for our kids?
The Problem with Family Values
Family values don’t seem to stick as well as they used to. All around are families who seem divided about what they believe. Even within Ashley and my extended family, we don’t see broad agreement about how to raise children and what the children’s character should be. “Family rules” have no basis when there is not an articulated set of values that provide the foundation. Getting uncles and grandmothers and babysitters to enforce the family values is even harder when they are not easily conveyed or transferred.
Family Values Permanence
So I began to ponder the opportunity of putting some of these values down in writing. It seemed like an imposing task. Family values, in many ways, are about the character we want and the character God has. They are tough concepts to wrestle with, but even tougher to put into language a child can understand. So, I began making a list of the family values Ashley and I have discussed that would be possible candidates to put in writing.
Always one who would rather not reinvent the wheel, it occurred to me maybe some other families had already walked this road and I could adapt what they had written. As I talked with five great men to which I am no peer, none of them had written down their family values. They all had them. They all deeply desired to imbed them within their families. None of them had written them down. Thinking five are better than one, I talked with my wife about taking our family values discussion to the internet and including our family and friends. She reluctantly agreed.
Family Values Proposal
Family values should take on a unique and personal flare for each individual family. The implementation is unique and thus the final set of values should be unique. But the core values are similar, and I propose that we work on this project together, using the comment system on this site as our discussion method. We’ll take a value at a time and discuss it thoroughly. Comments on each value will close after two weeks. Each family can then take what is useful and discard the rest. Together we are much wiser, no? So, please, help us all by sharing your perspective. Ponder these things alongside us. Pray through it with us. Blog about it if you have a blog. Ask your parents and advisers what they think.
Who is Invited to the Discussion?
Anyone holding a evangelical Christian world-view. That is the short answer. This isn’t a forum for crafting new beliefs or debating political agendas. This is about honing in on the core of a given family value and finding a way to articulate it in a solid, timeless way that our kids can adopt. Ashley and I are inviting all of our family to contribute. After all, if they are going to live with the family values we chose, they should have a healthy opportunity to debate them. Feel free to invite your family to this discussion as well. We’ll all learn from one another. This is the invite we are sending out in a few moments:
Family and Friends,
Ashley and I are putting our family values into writing. As we shared with others our desire to solidify our values in terms our children can understand, it seems many families have yet to do this. Most everyone indicates it is a worthwhile endeavor and that they would do well to have their family values written out as well.
Since the values Ashley and I choose for our immediate family impact our relationships with you all, as well as the way we will ask that you interact with our children, we want to invite you to participate in the drafting of these. You are also free to use this discussion as a starting point for putting your own family values in writing.
We’ll be considering each value on our blog and request your participation as you are able. Read and comment on the values related discussions here: http://www.ashleyandjason.com/ Thanks in advance for your partnering with us in creating something that will help us develop character in ourselves and our children.
Ashley and Jason Reynolds
Family Values Resources
No, it has not eluded us there are heaps of resources out there on “Family Values”. Books galore. Programs explored. Our approach here is not a rejection of those resources. We may borrow from the Proverbs, books, videos, wives tales, or from other copyrighted works. Everything is fair game since this is for personal use. In fact, the process we will follow on the blog is a bit like the bonus projects that accompany Family Life’s Raising Children of Faith. When you do use or reference other resources, I would ask that you cite the reference.
After talking with Dave about this project, he agreed to jump in and provide his list of family values worth consideration. So I have merged his list with my own. Add your own values in the comments. Ashley and I will post a compiled list and trim it back for these discussions:
- Morally Pure
- Personal Excellence
- Safety First