“Modern Moms Aren’t As Busy as Moms of the 1960′s”

You probably don’t want to share Atlantic article with your wife. It argues that although mothers may feel too busy to sit down, on average they are far more sedentary than moms were 50 years ago.

Since 1965, women with children have logged increasingly more time watching television and driving, and increasingly less time playing with children, doing chores, and exercising, according to a new report published this week in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The Mayo Clinic! So it must be right. Right?

The statistic that forms the basis for their conclusions is:

In 1965, mothers of children aged 5 to 18 spent 14.2 more hours a week being physically active than being sedentary. In 2010, they spent 3.8 more hours a week being sedentary than they did on physical activity.

“Physical activity” was defined as time spent cooking and cleaning, along with playing with children and exercising. “Sedentary activity” was everything else non-work-related, so time spent in front of tablets, televisions, and computers, as well as time spent driving.

The report concludes with a warning: “If mothers set examples for children, they’re increasingly modeling a screen- and car-based existence, which probably doesn’t bode well for either their own or their kids’ health.”

So, men, is it time to get the whip out, yell a bit louder, junk the washing machine, and buy our (allegedly) lazy wives Insanity for Christmas?

I don’t think so.

Taxi Time
I believe the main reason for the change in the statistics is the amount of time moms spend taxiing their children to all the various school, church, and leisure activities. It’s possible that moms may not play as much with their children, but they certainly facilitate a lot of play.

Some of this non-stop chauffeuring is unquestionably excessive and unhealthy both for the moms and the kids. Increased mobility has increased opportunities, which can quickly get out of hand and take over our lives. However, on the positive side, that time in the minivan is often valuable relationship building time (as long as you don’t have a DVD player in the car!). Moms and kids are “forced” to stop and chat to one another, which can only be healthy.

And anyway, do any of us in our 30′s 40′s and 50′s really remember our moms being our play buddies? I doubt it.  Did any of us want or expect our moms to play goalkeeper or first base? I don’t think so. Yet we never doubted their love for us as they sacrificed and spent themselves for us throughout our childhood.

Screen Time
But if Mom’s Taxi Service explains some of this change, what about the increased screen time? Again, let me run to the defense of our moms.

Although, there’s obviously way too much daytime TV and time-wasting Facebooking in there in some cases, much of our moms’ screen time is also home and family related. If I take my own wife for an example, she hardly ever sits down and uses her iPad and iPhone for personal entertainment. Instead she is tracking finances, budgeting, gathering recipes, building meal plans, ferreting out bargains on Craigslist, looking for homeschool resources, organizing the kids, keeping in touch with family and friends, etc.

That sounds like work to me. It’s different work to my mom’s work in the 70′s but it’s still work and still selfless.

Service Time
The report “complains” that moms are spending less time cooking and cleaning. I say, celebrate and enjoy the blessed liberty that washing machines, vacuums, microwaves, and dishwashers have provided. The question is not “How much less time are moms spending on cooking and cleaning?” The question should be, “What are moms doing with the freed-up time that these modern conveniences have provided?”

Again, just going from personal observation of many moms in my own circles, I believe many of them are using that “free” time in the service of others. They visit the sick, they volunteer, they serve on committees, they help at school, they lead Bible studies, they help neighbors. No, it’s not cooking and cleaning, but it’s valuable work and service that blesses many people.

Guilty Statistics
The problem with stats is that an extremely serious problem in a minority of people can be generalized to a fairly serious problem for everyone. For example, if 20% of people are three times the weight they should be, the statistical average weight of the whole population looks grim. But 80% of us could be really quite healthy.

That’s what I think is happening here. I do think there are serious problems in a minority of moms, especially some poor moms (as the report does highlight at one point), and that problem is being generalized to all moms, creating false and unnecessary guilt.

To the vast majority of moms I say, Thank you for all you do for your children and husbands. 

And if you are feeling guilty, whether it’s false guilt or true guilt, take that painful burden to Jesus Christ to forgive you, comfort your conscience, and assure you of His empowering love.

Check out

An Illustration of Repentance at Work
Benjamin Shaw’s powerful illustration will not only help you understand yourself better, but also help you to patiently counsel others.

Can Any Good Come From Controversy?
Trillia Newbell: “Often the news that spreads the quickest is controversial—someone said something or did something that wasn’t wise, was hurtful, or shameful. We hear about it for about a week or so and then it goes away. So can any good come from controversies?” Staying with the subject of controversy, Mike Leake has a necessary reminder for bloggers that their focus is sometimes quite different to their congregation’s.

Preventing adultery
Rebecca writes from a woman’s perspective, while Tim writes more from the man’s side.

How to Preach Christ in all the Scriptures
Fred Malone gives us an example from Old Testament prophecy.

Prepare Now for Your Pain
Bryan DeWire describes how God prepared him theologically for day in December 2007 when his Dad died at the young age of 44. He concludes: “Begin preparing now, in the ‘normal days,’ knowing that some portion of suffering is coming, and God has made available the resources to get you ready.”

(Don’t) Say it With Flowers
Mike Wittmer: “Last night I attended my fifth grader’s school Christmas concert, and I noticed something I had never seen before. It seemed that every fourth parent was carrying cut flowers to give to their child. One even had a dozen roses. When did this start? And what does it mean?”

Special Offer: $100 of Free Old Testament Resources


Jesus on Every Page provides 10 simple ways to seek and find Christ in the Old Testament. Following the success of the previous launch offer of $100 of Free Old Testament Resources, Thomas Nelson have agreed to make that available again for a limited period of time (until December 21) to everyone who purchases the book in paper or eBook/Kindle form. All you need to do is email your digital receipt or a scan of your shop receipt to jesusoneverypage@gmail.com before December 20 and you’ll receive instructions on how to access the following free materials:

  • Old Testament Introduction Course. My 63-lecture, 450-page introduction to (almost) every book in the Old Testament. Each Old Testament book is summarized and analyzed, with many Christ-centered applications.
  • Cross Reference – Angel of the Lord Video Curriculum and Study Guide: 10-video series on Christ’s appearances as the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, together with pdf of Study Guide.
  • God’s Home: A mini-novel with nine chapters that looks at the Christ-centered meaning of the Tabernacle from the perspective of a young Jewish girl, Jerusha. Also comes with study questions.
  • God’s Food. A five-part Bible Study on the Messiah-centered significance of the Jewish sacrificial system.
  • Jesus on Every Page Digital Posters: 8 Digital Posters presenting the content of the book in graphical form.
  • Jesus on Every Page Study Guide Answers.

That’s $100 of free Old Testament resources if you buy Jesus on Every Page before December 20!

There are also bulk discounts from Nelson’s and Reformation Heritage Books ($10 per book for 5 or more books) for small groups planning to use the book for Bible Studies.

If you do buy a bulk order, you will receive the free offer for each book you order. In other words, if you buy 10 books before December 20, you will receive 10 download codes for the free resources. When you send in your invoice to jesusoneverypage@gmail.com just put BULK ORDER in your Subject line.

You may also want to check out the Jesus on Every Page website and also the podcasts where the book material is expanded upon.

Hell Links and Lessons

To finish up my eschatology class yesterday, I took my students on a tour of the best articles on the Internet on the subject of Hell. Here are some of the links and lessons we drew from these posts.

Understand the nature and roots of opposition to the doctrine of Hell
As Tom Ascol highlights in the sample quotes at the beginning of this post, there is widespread virulent and vicious opposition to the idea of hell.

Bertrand Russell: “There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell.” The idea of eternal punishment for sin is “a doctrine that put cruelty in the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture.”

Religious philosopher John Hick refers to hell as a “grim fantasy” that is not only “morally revolting” but also “a serious perversion of the Christian Gospel.”

“Evangelical” theologian Clark Pinnock dismissed hell with a rhetorical question: “How can one imagine for a moment that the God who gave His Son to die for sinners because of His great love for them would install a torture chamber somewhere in the new creation in order to subject those who reject Him to everlasting pain?”

In Doing Away With Hell, Al Mohler helpfully traces the roots of this opposition to a number of cultural and philosophical trends including: a radically altered view of God, the downplaying of retributive justice, humanistic psychologies that deny human responsibility, seeker-sensitive churches, etc.

Do Not Fall Into Passive Neglect of This Doctrine
OK, so we don’t speak of hell like Russell, Hick, and Pinnock. But, as Martin Downes asks, do we speak of Hell at all?  As Lesslie Newbigin said in 1994: “It is one of the weaknesses of a great deal of contemporary Christianity that we do not speak of the last judgment and of the possibility of being finally lost”

In the same article Covenant Seminary professor, Robert Peterson, says: “Part of the blame should be placed at the feet of evangelical pastors, whom surveys show have been slow to teach and preach what the Bible says about hell. My study of hell in the mid-1990’s brought me to repentance because I was personally guilty of such neglect.”

Hell Does Not Convert But it Does Awaken
“The fear of Hell doesn’t convert anyone.” Agreed. But don’t let that stop you from preaching it, because, as Joe Thorn explains, it is often used to awaken people to their need for conversion: “Hell stirred me enough to pay close attention to the good news of Jesus’ atonement, forgiveness, and the sinner’s reconciliation to God–even though it seemed too far away for someone like me to grasp.”

Have Faith in God’s Word – All of it
One of the most renowned preachers of Hell, Jonathan Edwards, challenged pastors  that if hell is true, “then why is it not proper for those who have the care of souls to take great pains to make men sensible of it? Why should they not be told as much of the truth as can be?”

In Preaching Hell in New England, Wes Pastor describes how following Jonathan Edward’s  footsteps, he eventually saw God bless the preaching of Hell to “quintessential New Englanders.” Bob was converted under a Christmas sermon he entitled, “You’re going to Hell, Merry Christmas.” And now “is laying down his life to help plant gospel-driven churches in New England and beyond, churches with preachers who take great pains to make souls sensible of the danger, that they might fear the One who has the authority to cast into hell and, by God’s grace, have those fears relieved.”

Study Hell
Yes, I know it doesn’t sound like the most enjoyable use of study time but without study our preaching on Hell will become uncessarily one-dimensional and repetitively monotonous. Tom Ascol’s 4 Truths About Hell, briefly describes four ways in which Hell can be preached, and there are many more.

We also need to read scholarly books about the doctrine of hell so that we are aware of both popular and academic objections to the doctrine and preach accordingly.

For example, in How Willingly Do People go to Hell, John Piper deals with the idea popularized by C.S. Lewis that when people go to hell, God is simply giving them what they most want. As Piper argues, that makes God altogether too passive in the process. The Bible records that God not only actively sends people to hell, He “throws” them into the lake of fire.

“Hell is separation from God.” We’ve probably all said it. We’ve certainly all heard it. But is it? Martin Downes argues for much greater study and care in using this phrase. R. A. Finalyson’s quote really sums it up: “Hell is eternity in the presence of God without a mediator. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God, with a mediator.”

Hell Motivates Love for God and Man
But what possible benefits can there be in preaching hell? Tom Ascol says it ”deepens our grateful praise for the salvation we have in Jesus Christ” and “motivates us to persuade people to be reconciled to God.” He asks “How can we love people and refuse to speak plainly to them about the realities of eternal damnation and God’s gracious provision of salvation?”

In The Truth of Hell Should Fill us With Awe, Martin Downes adds: “The Bible’s message of hell is a topic worthy of study, but in addition, it has to be something that moves us to action—to repentance, when we consider what our sins deserve; to prayer, out of compassion for the lost; to worship, when we consider what Christ endured to redeem us; and certainly, to witness, when we desire for others to know our great God and Savior.”

Be Apologetic But Don’t Be Apologetic
Don’t be apologetic in the sense of apologizing for hell and always expressing regret for preaching it. David French’s post on The Perfect Justice of Hell challenges us: “Hell is nothing to apologize for or laugh about. It’s real, it’s indispensable, it’s just, and—but for the inexplicable and irresistible grace of God—it’s precisely what I deserve.”

But do be apologetic in the sense of defending the faith and combatting errors and understandable misconceptions and myths. For example, Joe Thorn has a series on Five Common Myths About Hell, while Kevin DeYoung and Sam Storms tackle some of the hardest objections, including the fate of those who have never heard the Gospel. Learn how to deal with the errors of annihilationism, universalism, and conditional immortality.

Also in the four-part series entitled Hell and the Happiness of Heaven, Storms takes on the difficulty many Christians have of conceiving of heaven as a happy place if some of their loved ones are in hell.

Learn from Others How to Preach Hell
Spurgeon calls us to preach it passionately and self-forgetfully.In an outstanding article, Speaking Seriously and Sensitively about Hell to the Sons of this Age and the Next, Ligon Duncan challenges us to preach it textually, decisively, pastorally, correctively, apologetically, exegetically, and above all Christocentrically.

9 Marks also have an excellent eJournal on Remembering the Awful Reality of Hell with the usual practical advice from experienced pastors.

But let me give the last word to Michael Patton who confesses how much he dislikes this truth and how much he wishes he could get rid of it, especially the eternality of it, but then calls us to believe it and to preach it in faith:

Concerning the doctrine of Hell, I simply must trust that God knows what he is doing. I am sure there is information and understanding that is withheld from us that might make such things more palatable, but he has obviously chosen not to reveal this to us. Belief is not always easy. Sometimes it is. Love, grace, forgiveness, hope, and the new earth are all easy to believe. Election, righteousness, judgment, and hell are not. That is why the latter is so difficult to accept and why, I believe, we have so many alternative answers continually being proposed. We simply want our faith to be more palatable rather than trust that God knows what he is doing. It is very hard to believe God sometimes.

However, I don’t have a vote in truth. My emotional disposition toward a doctrine has absolutely no effect on the truthfulness of the doctrine itself. As I have often said, the palatability of a doctrine does not determine its veracity. God is on the throne and he knows what he is doing. Whenever I begin to feel more righteous than him, I must remember who I am and who he is. “Will not the judge of the earth do what is right?”


Male and Female Brains Are Built Differently
No, really. “Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that male brains have more connections within each hemisphere, while female brains are more interconnected between hemispheres.” Wonder where that leaves the increasing movement to downplay if not deny gender differences. Once again true science confirms God’s Word: “Male and female created he them.”

Banning the Negative Book Review
There’s definitely a growing (and welcome) pushback to all the negativity that the Internet and modern media news cycles have spawned. But then, of course, some foolishly run to the opposite extreme of banning anything negative!

10 Myths Non-Christians Believe About Christians
Looks like the basis of a series of sermons to me (or of blog posts).

  1. Being a Christian means following a set of rules. Christianity is a laundry list of things to do.
  2. People can get to heaven based on how good they are here on earth.
  3. The Christian life is a life of ease and luxury.
  4. Ministers, pastors, are the ‘bosses’ of the church.
  5. Christianity is really only a crutch.
  6. Christians are commanded to hate homosexuals. Christians despise Mormons, JW’s, and other cult members.
  7. Heaven will be boring.
  8. Christians aren’t allowed to think for themselves. Christianity is based on blind faith. Committed Christians are against science.
  9. Christians are not allowed to enjoy sex! Ever!
  10. Christians have a low view of women.

Which State Swears the Most?
That award goes to….Ohio.  How did they measure that? “The Marchex Institute examined more than 600,000 phone calls from the past 12 months—calls placed by consumers to businesses across 30 different industries. It then used call mining technology to isolate the curses therein, cross-referencing them against the state the calls were placed from.”

The World Outside My Window
Now that’s a worldview.

Check out

The Calvinist: A Poem
A theological feast of Christian art for the eye, ear, and heart!

A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture
Free eBook from Ligonier’s Keith Mathison.

Finding Myself in the Song of Songs
I found this original post fascinating and deeply edifying, especially when you take the next step and see the Shulammite as s symbol for every believer.

Thinking Through MultiCultural Church
Ed Stetzer: “Scripture goes to great lengths to point out the diversity around the throne. Thus, it seems only right and perhaps pleasing to God that our churches might be signs of the kingdom of God today in increasing multiculturalism. I am encouraged by the efforts I see, and challenged to move forward in my own life and church as the conference theme suggested,For the Sake of the Gospel.”

How Open Should We Be About Great Evils Like Abortion?
R.C. Sproul Jr. tackels another toughie.

Pilgrim Art
Maureen Mullarkey discusses the puritan view of art (or lack of it!).