Monday, December 17, 2007

A modern day Cassanova

Lechery and Its Fruits

Denny Burk
December 12, 2007

Denny Burk serves as the editor for The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and he posts regularly at Denny Burk.

The so-called sexual revolution has given to the culture more than it bargained for. At least that's what I thought recently as I watched Paul Janka being interviewed on NBC's "Today Show."

Janka is a case-study in sexual libertinism gone to seed. He is a self-confessed "Cassanova" who claims over 100 "conquests," and now he's telling other guys how to do the same. Here's how Janka says he approaches "dating":

"Let me say I have a dual aim when I spend time with a woman: to have fun and to maintain my integrity as a man. Maintaining my integrity means honoring what I want in the process and not being manipulated by a woman's agenda. This has to be an active process because I've found that women in the City - consciously or not - operate by a societal script that doesn't incorporate my interests as a man."

Now this is astonishing. Masculine integrity has nothing to do with truth, rightness, or even what one's obligation is to one's fellow man (or in this case woman). Rather, Janka turns his "integrity as a man" into a prop for his own self-centered desires. He does it with a straight face and in a forum that implies his behavior is in the cultural mainstream.

What was remarkable about the interview, however, was the inability of anyone to make a definitive condemnation of Janka's behavior. Meredith Vieira gave hints that she disapproved of his behavior, and a "sex addiction" therapist was brought in to show that Janka's exploits could possibly be hurtful to women. Junka's response was simply to say that he's up-front with his intentions and that the women he "dates" are on board with his lechery.

Janka styled himself as living out authentic manhood, and neither Meredith Vieira nor the therapist could express an ounce of moral outrage, even though it seemed to be simmering beneath the surface. Their secularism and moral neutrality gave them no resources for doing so. In a culture that says that the only moral requirement of human sexuality is that it occur between consenting adults, there really isn't any consistent basis for censuring Janka.

How different all of this is from the ideal of manhood presented in the Bible. The paradigm of masculine integrity in the scriptures is King Jesus, who for love set aside his own rights and privileges in obedience to His Father and who laid down his life for His bride (Philippians 2:5-8; Ephesians 5:25). Likewise God intends marriage as a reenactment of Christ's love for his bride. Just as Christ lays down His life for His wife, so husbands are called to lay down their lives for their wives.

Would that Janka might see another ideal of manhood-the one that was embodied by Jesus Himself, who alone can free men from the enslaving moral confusion of our day.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Informative book on 'tweens...

Parents—Are You Dealing with Terrible 'Tweens?
Parenting author and father Paul Pettit gives parents the must-have tools to survive the tween years.

(Rockwall, TX) Dads play a central role in the lives of their children—especially when children enter the “tween years (typically ages 8–12). Trying to understand what half-child, half-teen sons and daughters are going through can be exasperating, but Scripture has specific instructions for fathers: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 NIV). This can be a demanding position, but author, expert, and five-time dad Paul Pettit has tips for fathers on the essentials for survival. His book Congratulations, You’ve Got Tweens! offers encouragement and help for parents who are trying to find their way through this sensitive time in their child’s life.

There may be fathers who are at a loss as to how to establish good relationships with their tweens. Congratulations, You’ve Got Tweens! has all the information Dad needs to navigate these rocky waters of tween-dome. For more information or to purchase a copy of this book, visit

On any given day, Paul receives a plethora of questions from parents of tweens, asking many questions about how to deal with issues like cell phones, parties, obedience, movies, spirituality, bullying, group activities, allowances, and much more. Recently, we at Kregel asked Paul to answer three of the most common questions he receives, in order to help all parents understand the needs of their tween a bit better, and this is what he had to say:

  • Q: Should we make our children go to youth activities at the church, or allow them to choose on their own whether or not they want to attend?
  • A: Parents should require their own children to attend, at the very least, a normative “worship” service with the family. As long as the children live with the parents and are fully supported by the parents, this is a minimal requirement. However, whether or not the children choose to attend additional church activities is best decided upon by the children themselves. Children who attend a faith-based event, under parental compulsion, are usually no fun to be around and are generally not open to the teaching or activities being offered.

  • Q: When should I expect my child to “obey” without questions, and when should I start discussing things with my kids and allowing them to “bargain” or make some of their own choices?
  • A: Children should be allowed greater amounts of freedom as they display increasing amounts of responsibility. In other words, if a child is not making his own bed, or cleaning his own room, he should not be allowed the freedoms of sleepovers with friends or “bargaining” for an increase in allowance. Increasing levels of freedom and adult types of prerogatives should arrive with increasingly adult-types of behaviors and choices being displayed by the child. The Bible says, “to whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Luke 12:48 NKJV).

  • Q: How do I discourage “bullying” at home or in our neighborhood? How can I teach my child to handle bullies and when do I step in?
  • A: No child should ever be allowed to physically push, hit, or intimidate another. If and when this happens, a responsible person in authority should be notified immediately. All schools, sports teams, and places of worship should practice a "zero tolerance" policy in this regard. When emotional or verbal abuse is recognized, a parent, teacher or other authority figure should call for a meeting between the parties where a fair but firm discussion ensues, with the stated goal of finding a way for the abuse to end. A child displaying abusive patterns needs professional help. Family researchers have demonstrated that this dysfunctional behavior is a cry for help and that anger and/or depression is normally underlying and prompting the acting out.
Dr. Paul Pettit (D.Min., Dallas Theological Seminary) is the president and founder of Dynamic Dads, an organization offering encouragement to fathers. A former sportscaster and youth pastor, he currently serves at Dallas Seminary as director of spiritual formation. Paul enjoys theology, golf, Kansas University basketball, and Texas barbecue.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moving from gang life to a real job

Yonkers anti-gang initiative helps men find jobs

YONKERS - Growing up in the Schlobohm housing projects, Roberto Rodriguez witnessed a lot of violence and personal misfortune.
His own struggle with reading kept him from finishing high school and led to off-the-books jobs and drug use before he discovered a new initiative by the city's anti-violence coalition.

The Jobs for Life program has taught Rodriguez and about 280 local residents that they can dismantle roadblocks to full-time employment, education and personal success.

"After coming to this program, it made me feel confident in myself," said Rodriguez, 23, who was forced to leave the 10th grade two years ago because he was too old for public school. "I wish it was worldwide because there are a lot of people that need it, not only spiritually, but mentally."

Jobs for Life is an employment-preparation effort launched last month by the City of Yonkers Violence & Gang Prevention Coalition. It grew out of an attempt by the coalition's members to help unemployed and under-employed young men on Yonkers' west side find permanent employment as part of an effort to reduce crime, gang activity, drug use and other social dysfunction in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

The classes are taught by the coalition's chairman, Jim Bostic, and the coalition's faith-based committee leader, the Rev. James Hassell.

Hassell, 35, the pastor of Kingdom Baptist Church at 68 Palisade Ave., said he and Bostic launched Jobs for Life because they realized that they would not be successful finding jobs for young men with criminal backgrounds or low educational achievement if the men went to work as they were.

"We couldn't in good conscience send them out to the job market without giving them some of the preparation they would need to get a job," said Hassell, noting that many of the 700 people who came to an informational meeting about construction jobs last month had suspended drivers' licenses, drug-abuse issues and lacked high school diplomas.

Hassell held his morning classes in his church, and Bostic, also the executive director of the Nepperhan Community Center, ran his out of Gorton High School. Many participants attended both daily classes; three absences disqualified participants. Two weeks ago, 245 students graduated from the program and this past Friday, another 38 graduated.

The coalition will offer another round of the classes in February.

Rodriguez graduated last week. He attends literacy classes so he can get his General Educational Development degree. He also hopes to get training for security work, in addition to attending a workplace safety certificate program that the coalition will offer in February.

"Next week starts my journey in seeking what I want," said Rodriguez, who recently practiced job interviewing skills with Hassell.

Rodriguez said he also liked the program's spiritual message, which focused on helping him and others instead of demanding donations. Hassell delivered his messages in plain street talk, interweaving scriptural lessons with the realities of inner-city life.

Darnell Brown, 24, also graduated from the program last week.

"I feel I have a better outlook on life," said Brown, who also wants to get his GED degree.

"That's what's keeping me down," Brown said of his lack of a high school diploma. He left school in the ninth grade.

A previous conviction for disorderly conduct prevented Brown from pursuing a security guard job, but after finishing his probation and GED, Brown hopes to enlist in the National Guard to better support his two children.

Hassell and Bostic modeled their classes on a national program called Jobs for Life based in Raleigh, N.C. It's a faith-based initiative designed to provide job training and support to the nation's neediest citizens, with the goal of lifting participants from dependency to self-sufficiency.

Participants get help overcoming low self-esteem, child care, transportation, poor work ethic and a lack of educational and work skills, according to the Web site

Spirituality is a prominent component of the Jobs for Life program. Last Thursday, Hassell discussed the biblical Book of Jonah.

Hassell said that the prophet's attempt to escape his destiny is similar to a mentality of underachievement common in urban neighborhoods like the ones that surround Kingdom Baptist Church.

"People are depending on you owning your manhood and your destiny," Hassell said of his students' families.

That day's lesson focused on job interview skills. Hassell offered tips on salary negotiation, researching a company before coming in for the interview and the importance of showing passion for work.

"You have to find that spark. You need to cleanse yourselves so that you can feel it," said Hassell. "A lot of our bad habits numb ourselves."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sex offender free neighborhoods

Sex offenders banned

New homes in Amarillo neighborhood to have deed restrictions

George Chapman: Principal partner.

The next homes to be built in The Woodlands will be off-limits to registered sex offenders.

New deed restrictions adopted by the G.R. Chapman Limited Partnership, developer of the northwest Amarillo subdivision, bar convicted sex offenders from owning or living, even temporarily, in homes there, said Kent Canada, an attorney for the company.

The restrictions will not affect owners or residents of the 550 homes that already exist in the subdivision. But they will be included in the deeds of homes to be constructed next and will be binding to those who purchase or live in those homes, Canada said.

"We want to try to have a community that is safe all the way around," Justin Chapman said.

The partnership's long-term plan calls for development of 7,800 acres containing as many as 31,000 homes "over the next 100 years," Chapman said.

The Woodlands subdivision is north of West Amarillo Boulevard and west of Western Street and extends west to Soncy Road. Additional land owned by the partnership extends northwestward, beyond the city limits, following Amarillo Creek.

The Chapman partnership isn't the first developer to bar sex offenders from a neighborhood, Canada said, citing the Milwaukee Ridge subdivision in Lubbock and others in New Jersey and Iowa.

Such restrictions have been challenged in court, "but those challenges have been unsuccessful," he said.

Federal law prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of race, religion, gender, age and other specified reasons. But sex offenders "are not a protected class," said Randy Jeffers, an Amarillo real estate broker who is president of the Texas Association of Realtors.

"Obviously, it is a property rights issue, and the developer certainly has a right to place that restriction on their property," Jeffers said. "It's a position that the Texas Association of Realtors certainly wouldn't oppose.

"It begs a whole lot of questions as to what will be the enforcement mechanism ... and I'm sure they've thought through all those things. I guess I'd have to see the whole scope (of the restrictions) before I can really comment on how it would work within the industry."

Under the new restrictions:

  • Sex offenders cannot buy homes in future phases of The Woodlands.

  • A homeowner in those phases cannot subsequently sell his home in any case in which the prospective buyer or any prospective occupant is a sex offender;

  • A homeowner found in violation of the restrictions must sell his home and move.

    Canada said a Woodlands homeowners association, yet to be established, will conduct periodic checks of the Texas Department of Public Safety online database of registered sex offenders. The group will be empowered to take legal action against violators.

    Greg Lines, legal chair for the High Plains Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, did not know, late Wednesday, if the organization has an official position concerning deed restrictions aimed at sex offenders.

    He said his concern would be that such restrictions discriminate against people lumped into a wide category of varying offenses. One example, he said, would be a recent court case in which a man in Alaska was required to register as a sex offender for streaking, an offense committed decades earlier.

    Reaction to Milwaukee Ridge's ban on sex offenders has been positive, said John Sellers, president of I & S Investments, developer of the Lubbock neighborhood. About 150 lots have been sold and 120 homes have been constructed.

    "Before closing, we run a background check on the people that will be living in the house," Sellers said. "If we find out that whoever's going to be living there has a prior sex offense conviction, they're not allowed to live in the house. If everything checks out, they're welcome to move in."

    The Milwaukee Ridge homeowner's association runs checks every 90 days, and those who are found in violation of the policy have 60 days to move out, Sellers said.

    The association can assess a lien of $1,000 a day on the property for the duration of the violation, he said.

    The company promises to buy a home back for the lesser of either 85 percent of its value or the amount of mortgage owed, Sellers said.

    I & S Investments has placed the same restrictions on deeds for a new subdivision it is developing in Lenexa, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City.

    Canada said The Woodlands restriction does not include a buy-back provision and the Chapman partnership does not stipulate a buyer's submission to background checks for all future home occupants because regular checks of the DPS online sex offender registry will be sufficient.

  • Monday, November 05, 2007

    Championship Fathering

    Championship Fathering - Irving TX
    Irving Bible Church

    2435 Kinwest
    Irving, TX 75063

    Friday, November 9
    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Friday - November 9, 2007

    7:00 PM - 9:30 PM - Discover the POWER OF THE PARENTING TEAM
    Who should come?
    Dads and father-figures in all varieties of fathering situations AND their wives and/or the mothers of their children

    Saturday - November 10, 2007
    6:30 AM - 7:30 AM ~Optional session ~ DADS IN CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES
    Who should come? - Dads only - single fathers, divorced dads, step-dads

    Who should come? Dads only

    Dad - All Friday and Saturday sessions - $30.00
    Mom - Friday evening session only - $15.00

    To access downloadable promotional resources for the Championship Fathering event, click here.

    For additional information, call 800.593.3237 or email

    Start Date: Friday, November 9, 2007
    End Date: Saturday, November 10, 2007

    If you'd like to attend this event you can purchase tickets online.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Life can be hard when you're a rap star...

    Diddy Acknowledges Growing Brood
    by Jane Ivory 10:49, October 9th 2007
    Diddy Acknowledges Growing Brood

    Sean “Diddy” Combs seems to have decided to do the manly thing demanded in such situations: he is acknowledging that a 15-month-old baby girl is in fact his daughter.

    Sean Combs, professionally known as “Diddy,” is father to five children, from three previous relationships, including almost 1-year-old twin girls with former girlfriend Kim Porter.

    The New York Daily News reports that the 37-year-old rap mogul has also acknowledged fathering a sixth child during his relationship with Porter.

    Combs told the paper “exclusively” that he is “committed to being a good father” and that he intends to “take care of her for the rest of my life.”

    The rapper had persistently denied speculation that 15-month-old Chance, fathered with Atlanta resident Sarah Chapman, was in fact his offspring. He wanted to be certain of the baby’s paternity and so waited for DNA tests to give the verdict.

    “At first, I wasn't sure if this was my child,” he told the Daily News. “Now that it has become clear she is, I will take care of her for the rest of her life.”

    2006 has been a busy year for Combs, who became father to three girls by two women. He and longtime on-and-off girlfriend Kim Porter welcomed twin baby girls Jessie James and D'Lila Star last December.

    The couple also has a 9-year-old son, Christian. Combs has two more children from two previous relationships, a 13-year-old son, Justin, with ex-girlfriend Misa Hylton-Brim, according to the Daily News, and has been a father to Porter's son, Quincy.

    Then there’s the young Chance. The paper also reports that the singer has already worked out a visitation schedule with Chapman as well as support terms.

    Diddy and Porter split in July 2007, ending an intermittent 10-year relationship.

    The rapper also has some legal trouble on his hands at the time, with former Bad Boy associate James Sabatino filing a $19 million lawsuit against him last week.

    Friday, September 28, 2007

    Is modesty now "hot?"

    The burgeoning modesty movement
    Penna Dexter

    DALLAS (BP)--"Overexposed" is a word that comes to mind when considering young celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie. We see too much coverage of them in the news and not enough coverage on their bodies. But it's not just Hollywood. Young women in general are looking a bit trashy these days.

    Take a look at your high school yearbook or photo album. If you're under 30, look at your mom's. You'll notice something: less skin. Certainly there were the exceptions. Remember hot pants? Parental reminders regarding necklines, skirt length and "sending the wrong signals" have always been a necessary part of raising a girl.

    But in recent years, even good girls have dressed like they're bad. And young women who would rather cover up more have had trouble finding stylish clothes.

    Sometimes even their mothers, unwilling to look matronly, find themselves with scant middle ground between frumpy and "Desperate Housewives." So they compromise, just a little, then a little more until we have a new norm where fashion trumps modesty. Christian women and girls unwittingly undermine their testimonies by the way they dress.

    A few churches are attempting to address the problem. So are some public schools. In Arlington, Texas, the school board voted last year to prohibit "the display of cleavage."

    Some Arlington parents complained that the cleavage ban would be tough to enforce. We can only hope that most are grateful for the back-up in the modesty battle. Some students said the rule would make back-to-school shopping more difficult, and a trip to any mall proves their point. It's almost impossible to find clothes teen girls like that don't reveal too much, sometimes way too much. The fashion industry seems to be conspiring with the popular culture to tear down the natural modesty that God has provided as protection for little girls. Some parents, especially mothers -- even Christian moms -- are going along with it.

    Little girls' natural modesty gets its first challenge during the grade-school years, when they are inundated with the Britney Spears-Bratz dolls culture. This world is less than wholesome, to put it mildly, and provides inspiration for clothing manufacturers. Parents do not have to buy the dolls and the provocative clothes for their little girls. But they do, by the millions.

    Of course, mothers hold the purse strings and have the final say regarding their teen daughters' clothes. But faced with the most popular stores offering revealing clothing and little else, moms of teenage girls are tempted to compromise to avoid friction within the home. In doing so, they sacrifice something very important: their daughters' modesty. Parents who should be protecting this treasure are allowing, even encouraging, it to dissolve. Girls are victims of this corrosion. So is a society that once benefited from the virtue of its women. But we no longer encourage that virtue, and the sexual revolution of the 1960s that claimed to empower women has fueled a full-blown sexualized culture.

    There are, though, some encouraging signs that this is changing.

    Move over Paris and Britney. Make room for the "mild girls." A recent Newsweek story described a growing modesty movement in which young women are learning they don't have to be what Newsweek calls "bad, or semi-clad."

    It's a welcome backlash. Author Wendy Shalit calls it "a youth led rebellion" in her new book, "Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self Respect and Find It's Not Bad to Be Good." The book is filled with stories of girls who, often motivated by their faith, or just the innate desire not to be defined as sex objects, hunger to escape the sexualized culture. Shalit's 2000 book, "A Return To Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue," offered a common sense rationale for chastity and virginity. It hit a nerve and sparked a "modesty movement" that has given her the opportunity to continue talking to girls who are tired of the pressure to portray themselves as sex sirens. Her website ( has spawned at least a dozen others.

    Additional leaders in the modesty movement include model and actress Summer Bellessa, publisher of the magazine Eliza, launched in June. Her goal is to help women be stylish and "still keep high standards in dress, entertainment and lifestyle." And then there's Brenda Sharman, national director of Pure Fashion, a modeling and etiquette program for teen girls. The website ( features a schedule of the group's fashion shows across the country. A new fashion niche is developing, and clothing manufacturers are beginning to respond.

    The modesty movement is about much more than clothing, although dress is a sort of bellwether. Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:9 instructs women to dress in "modest clothing, with decency and good sense." It's unrealistic to minimize the impact and importance of fashion. The truth is most females love clothes. The "mild" girls are not rejecting the trampy look in favor of the drab denim jumper. Modesty and glamour are not mutually exclusive.

    Allyson Waterman, from the shopping magazine Lucky and a regular guest on ABC's "Good Morning America," says we've hit a limit in style and behavior. She says the modesty backlash is not about being dumpy or "hiding under a lot of fabric" but "about embracing a woman's body with elegance and decorum," a la the style icons of the past like Jackie Onassis, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. No, they're not the role models for Christian girls, but we never saw their navels or their bra straps.

    Some feminists call this modesty revival a new kind of oppression. The mild girls will tell you it's liberating.
    Penna Dexter is a board of trustee member with the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, a conservative activist and an announcer on the syndicated radio program "Life on the Line" (information available at She currently serves as a consultant for KMA Direct Communications in Plano, Texas, and as a co-host of "Jerry Johnson Live," a production of Criswell Communications. She formerly was a co-host of Marlin Maddoux's "Point of View" syndicated radio program.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Eating Dinner Together

    Eating Dinner Together

    Sharing dinner as a family can be difficult; you’re working late, the kids have soccer practice, music lessons, and dance class, and no one can agree on what foods they like! But, eating together as a family is very important. It’s a great way to connect and research shows that the more often children eat dinner with the whole family, the less likely they are to engage in risky behavior.

    Here are some easy ideas for making family dinner a tradition in your house:

    Pick a Day and Stick To It. On Sunday, look at everyone’s schedule and decide which day will be most convenient for the whole family. Then, stick to that schedule – no excuses! Soon, you’ll have created a tradition that your whole family looks forward to.

    Encourage Your Kids to Pick the Menu and Help Prepare. Have a few picky eaters in the house? Let your kids help plan the menu, and then take some weight off the cook by letting the kids help with the preparation. When everyone has a say, you’ll have fewer complaints, and the whole family will enjoy the evening more.

    Turn Off the TV. Family dinner is a time to really connect – not tune out! Ask your children what they learned in school today, and tell them about your work day. This is also a great time to talk with your kids about what’s going on in your family and your neighborhood.

    Keep Conversation Positive. Use this opportunity to encourage your children and bring closure to their busy days. Also, make sure everyone gets a chance to speak and share. You’ll be amazed at how 30 or 45 minutes spent sharing a meal together can positively impact you and your children.

    So this fall, make time for family dinner at least once a week. It's a great way to connect and make memories that will last.

    This story was adapted from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse’s celebration of Family Day. Family Day is celebrated the fourth Monday of every September. For more information, visit

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    What is "Men's Fraternity?"

    'Fraternity' helping men fill biblical role

    Posted on Sep 13, 2007 | by Kay Adkins GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP)--What high-profile events like Promise Keepers and wild-game dinners instigate -- namely, a push to mature Christian men -- Men's Fraternity facilitates.

    The growing local church ministry program available through LifeWay Christian Resources has mapped out a process through which men, whether saved or lost, can discover what biblical manhood is all about and how to put it into practice.

    In 1990, Robert Lewis, then the teaching pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Ark., responded to the pleas of the men in his Bible study for a deeper Christian, fraternity-like camaraderie. When Lewis first announced to his church that the Bible study topic would be "discovering manhood," the group instantly grew from 30-40 men to 300.

    "I knew then I had stuck my finger into one of these raging spiritual streams Henry Blackaby [author of 'Experiencing God'] talks about. God wanted to do something," Lewis said in a 2004 interview with Baptist Press.

    The three-year program "Men's Fraternity" was the result.

    Also the author of "Raising a Modern-Day Knight," Lewis grew up in a home without a healthy model of manhood and fatherhood. In the first Men's Fraternity session, "What Men Need and How the Church Can Help," Lewis tells how he left home at age 18, "clueless about manhood and seething with anger."

    "When you haven't been schooled to be adequate in manhood responsibilities, then you constantly make stupid mistakes, which only fuels the anger and shame that you feel as an incompetent male," he said.

    In his quest to help men discover the principles of authentic biblical manhood, Lewis said he found several elements are needed for a transformational men's ministry:

    -- a safe place where men know they are understood and not alone.

    -- a compelling vision of biblical masculinity.

    -- time to process their masculinity.

    -- practical how-to's that yield success.

    -- encouragement from other men.

    -- a celebration of their crossing into responsible manhood.

    -- the church.

    Men's Fraternity director Rick Caldwell conservatively estimates that the material is now being used in more than 6,000 settings. It is being used in churches, corporate and work settings, and even prisons.

    "It is an avenue for believers to bring non-believers to help them understand biblical manhood and to lead them to Christ," Caldwell said.

    In a December 2006 article in New Man magazine, Caldwell said that Fellowship Bible Church has recorded at least 80 salvation decisions annually in recent years stemming from Men's Fraternity meetings. The Fellowship Bible group now includes about 1,200 men. They gather at 6 a.m. each Wednesday from fall through spring months to be served a "plate-sized" 45-minute presentation and then break up into small groups to "digest" it, Caldwell said.

    The method of Men's Fraternity is to provide an atmosphere that doesn't look or feel "churchy."

    "We try to not make it feel like a [Sunday morning] worship service. Why do that if you can't get them to attend worship on Sunday?" Caldwell asked.

    The most successful meeting time has proven to be on a weekday from 6-7:30 a.m. "Safe" music, or sports videos, or other "guy" things going on in the meeting room help men understand that they are at a function designed for them, Caldwell said.

    Over the three-year course, men go through three study guides:

    -- "The Quest for Authentic Manhood," which defines manhood and challenges men to let the boy in them die.

    -- "Authentic Manhood: Winning at Work and Home," which addresses fulfillment at work and relating successfully to a woman.

    -- "The Great Adventure," which helps men rediscover the adventure in life and encourages them to maximize their manhood.

    At each meeting hear a 45-50 minute talk given by the presenter, who can either be Robert Lewis via DVD, or a live presenter who has mastered the material and can deliver it with excellence. Men then go into small discussion groups.

    "What's happening is that men who have journeyed through this material are excited about taking it to their communities and other settings -- they feel like they're almost commissioned," Caldwell said. "They are moving up the ladder of manhood and taking responsibility. And that's our mission."

    For more information about Men's Fraternity, visit

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Are Christian fathers more effective?

    Are Christian Fathers Better Fathers?
    Hey, Dad, ever wondered if you have what it takes to connect with your kids? According to a study from the University of Virginia, if you've got a relationship with Jesus Christ, you're already heading in the right direction.
    "...evangelical dads spent more time with children playing, helping with homework and talking."
    W. Bradford Wilcox, an assistant sociology professor, studied fathers of children 5 to 18 years old. Evangelical Protestant dads came out on top or near the top in every category compared to fathers from other denominations and those with no religious affiliation.
    According to Wilcox's research, evangelical dads spent more time with children playing, helping with homework and talking. They ate an average of 27 more meals a year with their children and were more likely to coach youth sports or lead youth activities.
    "Evangelical Protestant fathers are very involved with their children, which I found surprising, given their tendency to embrace traditional gender attitudes," Wilcox noted.
    So how can you defy society's expectations and become an even better dad than you already are?
    • Watch a favorite TV show with your child. Ask him about the characters and storyline. This is a simple way to enter your child's world and recognize other influences that affect the way he thinks.
    • Take your son or daughter to a restaurant you both like. Share favorite things and talk one-on-one without the competing demands of other siblings, phone calls or TV.
    • Keep reading. Even tweens will enjoy reading a book aloud with you.
    • Include children in projects. Ask them to help you string the Christmas lights, paint the basement or change the oil in the car. The teaching, connecting and fun will be invaluable.
    • Know their friends. As children get older, knowing them means knowing their friends.
    — by Clem Boyd

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    'Tweens book

    Book aims to help parents guide 'tweens'
    Topeka native's book aims to help parents navigate children's pre-teen years
    By Tim Hrenchir
    The Capital-Journal
    Published Saturday, July 21, 2007
    Once a child learns to bathe, clothe and feed himself, his parents may think their role in his life is somehow less important.
    "Nothing could be further from the truth!" writes Topeka native Paul Pettit. "You are needed now more than ever."
    What: Topeka native Paul Pettit will sign copies of his third book, "Congratulations, You've Got Tweens!"
    When: 9 to 11 a.m. July 28
    Where: Christian Book and Gift Store, 2121 S.W. Fairlawn Plaza Drive, where it is available for purchase, or online:, and
    A father of five with a doctoral degree focusing on family studies, Pettit has written a 160-page book offering tips to help parents navigate the "tween" years in which their child is between ages 8 and 12.
    Kregel Publications this year put out the book, which is titled, "Congratulations, You've Got Tweens!"
    The book, Pettit's third, uses a Christian perspective to help parents through a time when their youngster isn't quite a child and not quite a teenager.
    Pettit said in a telephone interview this week that youngsters in their tweens are beginning to become their own person and show independence from their parents but remain highly impressionable and still need parental support.
    In an ever-changing youth culture, Pettit encourages parents to meet their tweens "on their own turf" by eating lunch with them at school, knowing their friends and listening to their music.
    He suggests parents involve their tweens in Scouting, sports, church groups, volunteer work and other activities that give them a sense of community.
    Pettit's book also offers tips for "balanced parenting," which involves finding a healthy middle ground between the extremes of controlling their tween's life too much and too little.
    He gives suggestions designed to help parents talk with their tweens on an honest and heartfelt level, such as asking open-ended questions about things in life that make them happy, sad or angry.
    "Ask how they felt when they didn't make cheerleader or when they won the spelling bee," he said.
    Pettit said his children particularly enjoy a game their family plays at the dinner table called "high/low," in which each talks about their high point and low point of the day.
    Pettit and his wife, Pam, live near Dallas with their five children: Lauren, 15; Austin, 14; Evan, 11; Haley, 10; and Christian, 8.
    Paul and Pam Pettit grew up in Topeka, where he was an announcer for Joy 88 Radio and a youth pastor at Bethel Baptist Church.
    The Pettits moved about 15 years ago to Dallas. Paul Pettit is director of spiritual formation at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he received a doctor of ministry degree this year focusing on the area of family studies. He also is president and founder of Dynamic Dads, an organization offering encouragement to fathers.
    Pam Pettit received a master's degree in nursing this year from Baylor University and is a nurse practitioner at three hospitals in Fort Worth, Texas.
    The Pettits teamed up in 2002 to write a book targeted at helping first-time fathers titled, "Congratulations, You're Gonna be a Dad!" Paul Pettit's second book, "Dynamic Dads," was published in 2003.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    What is "Male Authority?"

    8 Myths About Male Authority (and 8 Truths)
    By Joel Hunter
    God has given men a unique role as leaders of our homes and families. But how do we reconcile this in a culture that has become reactionary against men exercising biblical authority?

    We live in a society that is pushing for male sensitivity and female strength. That's fine. But much of the current societal norms are a reaction to a perverted idea of God-given male authority. If men could understand the authority God gives to them, they would not have to surrender to the culture's emasculation of their role. If wives could understand their husbands' roles, they would see that support of their husbands' leadership would make themselves more free and secure, not less.
    Many Christian men today are wimps. They hate themselves for it, and women do not respect them because of it. So, let me remind you of eight ways that our culture perverts the biblical understanding of male authority … then we will see the list of how a “real man” exercises his authority.
    Myth #1: Male authority means male dominance. Men must understand that mature masculinity in Scripture has to do with our strength to serve and sacrifice for the good of the woman. Luke 22:26 gives the general servant-leadership paradigm: “'But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant'” (NLT). Ephesians 5:25 gives the home version of it: “And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church.”
    Myth #2: Exercising strength leads to abuse. The strength that is shaped to provide and protect will not turn to hinder and hurt. They are two different mentalities. Just like muscle does not turn to fat (though sometimes it appears like that), they are two different types of body tissues. When we don't exercise strength in the right way, we will lapse into throwing our weight around in the wrong way. “If you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face” (Rom. 12:8, The Message).
    Myth #3: Men need to be more feminine to be sensitive. Was Jesus being more feminine when He sensed the woman who touched His garment being healed? Or when He commanded the disciples to let the children come to Him? Do not men have their own way of sensing the needs around them? If you stand in between my grandchildren and me, I'll guarantee you that I will not become more “feminine,” precisely because I am sensitive to them.
    Myth #4: For women to be empowered, men must be disempowered. Paul did not need to become less powerful for Lydia to host the first church. Aquila did not need to be written out of Scripture for us to appreciate Priscilla. Indeed, one of the ways women are most empowered (like the woman at the well in John 4) is for a man (Jesus in that case) to use his strength to respect her. We insult women to think that they cannot deal with strong men. Indeed, we underestimate women when we think that they would rather control men than be the recipient of a strong man's love and respect. Strong women can “talk back” (that's what “helper” means in Gen. 2:18) and work right alongside a strong man.
    Myth #5: We shouldn't raise our boys to enjoy “manly” activities. Not too many decades ago boys could play cowboys and Indians, army or contact sports without us worrying that they were growing up to be racist or right-winged warmongers or violent. Boys were taught to hunt in case they needed to survive in the wild. It made them more confident and more appreciative of nature, not more dangerous. The Scripture does not forbid those “adversarial” activities (soldiers, hunters, athletes) that build in strength or teamwork.
    Myth #6: We need to feminize God in order to not favor men. The whole “God is a she” movement is ridiculous. Spirit has no gender, but we do not need to hide the fact that the biblical terms for God are masculine ones. We do not need to feminize “Our Father” in order to be brothers and sisters of equal value, standing and usefulness to Him.
    Myth #7: If men lead in the home, then they will be free to boss women around in all society. Actually, male servant-leadership is not about “bossing” anyone around anywhere. The servant-leadership that a man is given in the home does not extend beyond it into society. So male responsibility for leadership in the Christian home (see Eph. 5:23) cannot be projected into business or government or any other societal institution.
    Myth #8: Authority is about making declarations, not taking personal responsibility to see them through to a beneficial end. Wrong! Men have a terrible reputation for being opinionated without being responsible.
    If there is anything clear about the Holy Spirit following the life of Jesus, it is that God follows through. God did not just issue commandments and leave us on our own. He came to help us practice them. The God who came to live with us and in us, the God who said “Lo, I am with you always” is our model for leadership. We can follow that example by staying close to those we lead and assisting them.
    Being real men is not just about gender; it is about spiritual maturity in all areas of life. Therefore, manhood is about our calling and not about any competition with women.
    Truth #1: We have a gender-unique leadership role in our marriages. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says: “But there is one thing I want you to know: A man is responsible to Christ, a woman is responsible to her husband, and Christ is responsible to God” (NLT). Then, in verse 8 it says: “For the first man didn't come from woman, but the first woman came from man.” I don't know why God made this arrangement. In many ways our wives are more competent than we are. Wise men will lean on their wives to decide many things for the family. In the end, it is not a matter of competence or even gender; it is a matter of following God's order.
    When I was in grade school, my desk was closest to the door. That made me the leader for fire drills. Why was I the leader? Because I was more competent? No. Because I was a boy? No. It was because the teacher said so.
    Truth #2: We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church and give ourselves up for her. Our authority is for sacrificing and protecting our wives, not for lording power over them. We don't need to be less strong to be a servant, nor do we need for our wives to be weak so that we can appear strong.
    Truth #3: We are to train up our children without provoking them to anger (see Eph. 6:4). Our sense of authority must be strong enough to guide, correct and discipline our children (see Heb. 12:9) in a way that evokes respect and not anger. That takes an inner confidence that only comes with understanding the authority God has given us. I often told our sons when they were growing up: “It is not my favorite thing to discipline you, but it is the role that God gave me. Therefore, we will both do the right thing.” They are all great Christian men today, and dearly love their mom and me.
    Truth #4: We are to conduct business with confidence and integrity (see Matt. 25:20-21). Men are not to be cowards when it comes to giving their all in the business world, nor are we to think of our capital as our own. Authority follows the man who has invested with Another in mind. Also, our wives are more likely to increase their respect for us when we have done our jobs with confidence and competence, using the authority we have in our arenas to produce profit for the good of all.
    Truth #5: We are to provide leadership in the church after first prioritizing our household (see 1 Tim. 3:1, 4). Taking responsibility in the church is also a part of the authority we are to exercise. Of course, an overseer is a servant-leader. Taking responsibility to care for the church (God's family) is an expression of the authority God delegates to us.
    Truth #6: We are to take the lead in battling that which could ruin our part of the world (see Gen. 2:15). Since the Garden of Eden, God has specifically given the man the mandate to “cultivate” (be productive) and to “keep” (be protective). The latter refers to the fact that even in a paradise, there are things that can creep in and ruin the good that has been produced. Therefore, the man has the responsibility and authority to guard his house and his family (and sometimes his workplace and his country) from that which could harm or pollute its well-being.
    Truth #7: We are to train other men who will train other men (see 2 Tim. 2:2). Our responsibility does not end with our family. We are charged with training up other mature men also, who will train others. This kind of authority, again, is not a dominating kind. The whole “accountability” dynamic has gotten distorted into “I'm your spiritual boss” silliness. Mentoring is support, teaching and guidance for those who desire that kind of leadership in their lives.
    Truth #8: We are to complement our wives in their leadership roles in family, church and society. Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him'” (NAS). Helper does not mean weak. Which is stronger: the one who needs the help or the helper?
    Therefore, part of our authority comes from listening to our wives. Another part of our authority is to empower and serve them so that they can also be leaders in the family, the church and society.
    When we men remember that all of life is stewardship-that is, the management of God's goods for Him-we will not use the delegated authority we have in an arrogant or prideful way. We will use our authority to lift up others, as Christ did for us.

    Joel C. Hunter, D. Min., is pastor of Northland - A Church Distributed, located in central Florida. His wife, Becky, is thrilled to have him as leader of their home ... unless he tries to buy another yellow Jeep.

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Raising Father

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (LCR) - At first glance, LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer looks like the shoo-in for "Father of the Decade."
    Rainer and his wife Nellie Jo raised three successful sons. Two sons are in vocational ministry, and a third is a businessman, committed to marketplace ministry. All three young men have recently married godly wives and each would praise their father's parenting skills at a moment's notice.
    Rainer, however, believes any accolades from his sons are filtered through lenses of mercy, grace and unconditional love.
    Raising Dad, a new book co-authored by Rainer and his middle son Art, offers a balanced perspective on how fathers and sons "raise" each other. The book was released in June by B&H Publishing Group, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources.
    Art was inspired to write the book because "my brothers and I have a desire to say that we were raised by the world's greatest dad." Despite his father's occasional mistakes, Art said forgiveness came easy for him as a child because his dad quickly admitted his imperfections and genuinely sought forgiveness. "It was evident that he regretted his mistakes and that made it easy to pardon him," Art said in a recent interview.
    Each chapter in Raising Dad begins with Art's perception of his childhood and ends with his dad's behind-the-scenes confession of fathering-gone-wrong. "Each time I read Art's part of the chapters, I fight back tears," Rainer writes. "Love is an amazing thing. It obviously keeps no record of wrongs. It is patient. It is kind. And it is giving. That is the grace I see when I read Art's words."
    In the first-person narrative, Rainer offers a transparent analysis of his parenting skills and provides situational antidotes of how he occasionally "blew it" as a dad. "I am a father who is so far from perfect that I wonder what I did to receive such love from my sons," wrote Rainer, who also continually credits the success of his parenting to his wife.
    The power of support, encouragement and pride
    In the book, Art discloses three "gifts" his father gave him as a child that has impacted his adulthood: support, encouragement and pride.
    "Support is powerful," he writes. "It can provide a child with the courage and willingness to pursue goals or accomplish tasks that he or she would otherwise feel beyond reach. Anything that I desired to do in life, he was there supporting me," Art writes. "Any direction that I wanted to go, I had his backing."
    Encouragement is one step above support and was crucial in his relationship with his dad, Art adds. "My father was one of the greatest encouragers in my life and anytime I came to him with an idea or decision, he would push me to continue in that direction."
    Pride was another element to Art's healthy relationship with his father. "I have yet to meet a child who did not long for the gift of pride from his or her parents," Art writes. "There is just something about hearing our parents say that they are proud of you. Even when I was a boy, I felt like a man when I knew that my dad was proud of me."
    Rainer, on the other hand, candidly admits that there were times he was "totally perplexed as to exactly how to support and encourage my sons," especially in the area of dating. Yet, he advises parents to communicate their love and support to their children.
    "If I may speak on my own fallibility, I would exhort, encourage, and plead with fathers to be a constant source of encouragement to their children." Rainer writes.
    Limited time for unlimited love
    Rainer further encourages parents to redeem the time with their children and intentionally make memories with them. "I was a busy dad," he writes in the book. "If I could do it over, I would see that those vitally important tasks weren't nearly as important as I thought. I would have realized that my boys were toddlers for such a brief season. My wife knew that. She did well. But I didn't. I was just too busy."
    Issuing a clarion call for men to realize the fleeting time, Rainer writes that children are more important than one's job and ministry. He shared, "They are more important than our days on the golf course or hours in front of the television. The legacy we leave is not how much money we earned or what level of status we received. The legacy we leave is our children. Take delight in them. Have joy in them. Laugh with them."
    The legacy of a dad
    Art believes there is a connection between how he viewed his father and how he initially viewed God. "Because my earthly father was able to openly pour out his love on me, I feel more equipped to understand and accept God's torrent of love on my life," he said. "I would encourage readers to realize that God is the ultimate Father. He is the perfect role model, the perfect teacher. Fortunately, He knows your child, inside and out, better than you could ever imagine. Do not neglect your meeting with Him for guidance and wisdom."
    In the final chapter, Rainer outlines lessons of fatherhood and encouraged readers to remember: children are a gift from God; children need unconditional love from their parents; time can never be recaptured; and there is nothing more important than a child's eternity.
    "Fatherhood has been an educational journey that no school could provide," Rainer writes. "Art and his brothers have raised their dad well."

    Raising Dad is available at LifeWay Christians Stores or online at

    Friday, July 06, 2007

    New Research on Fathering

    (Newswise) July, 2007 — Two family scholars have studied the role of religion as a motivational influence in the lives of fathers and have written about their research in a chapter for a recently published book. Loren Marks, an assistant professor at LSU, and David Dollahite, a professor of family life at Brigham Young University, contend that religious beliefs and practices play a critical role for many men in their involvement with children, which they say is important in an era when many fathers are disconnected from or uninvolved with their children.

    Marks teaches in the LSU School of Human Ecology’s division of Family, Child and Consumer Sciences. His primary research interest is how faith involvement influences family life.

    In their chapter for the newly released book, “Why Fathers Count,”
    Marks and Dollahite point out that although religion is a common influence in the lives of men worldwide, little empirical research has looked at how it affects fathers and why it is so influential for many men and their families. Since a substantial minority of Americans consider religion “the single most important influence in [life],” the scholars found value in learning “how and why family relationships, especially father-child relationships, are influenced by religion.”

    In their study of more than 130 Christian, Jewish, Mormon and Muslim families across the United States, the participants contributed an average of eight percent of their incomes and spent an average of nine hours a week engaged in religious activities and involvement. Pointing to their faith community “family,” the participating fathers emphasized their faith communities helped them to overcome or avoid addictions, enhanced their opportunities and provided guidance for family life, and gave them an important context for brotherhood and belonging.

    The first area that the authors address is spiritual beliefs that affect fathering. Highlighting the common strands of belief that exist in many religions, they suggest that one key influence is that “many spiritual beliefs encourage the view that human beings, family relationships and family responsibilities are sacred.” Specific spiritual beliefs that affect fathers’ views include the idea that a child is a gift from heaven, fathers are accountable to God for their efforts and fathers’ actions should reflect God’s patience and mercy.

    Dollahite and Marks said, “It is important to note that each of these beliefs promotes father responsibility and involvement.”

    The scholars also address the influence of meaningful religious practices on fathering. For example, they cite the value of volunteer service together, praying together, or engaging in sacred family traditions. But why are these practices helpful?

    Marks and Dollahite first point out that religious practices are often important in bringing meaning and order to family life. They suggest that such practices are used as “ways to create meaning and restore structure, order and connection in a fast-paced and chaotic world that tends to ignore sacred and familial relationships.” Further, they also indicate that religious practices can create a sense of “sacred family time,” which tends to unify family members and promote connection. Prayer was also mentioned as a primary mechanism for solving problems within the family circle.

    In addition to the personal and familial contexts of religious influence that Marks and Dollahite address, they also focus on the broader community context of the faith community’s involvement. There are almost no secular institutions, they argue, that have the same degree of contact with men as churches or faith communities do and which also have a profound capacity to influence men’s motivation and behavior in family life.

    “We need a vision of how to establish deep, generative, sacred relationships with our children and those of their generation, particularly those who lack involved fathers,” said Marks and Dollahite. In their words, religion is important because “faith turns the heart of the father to his child.”

    More information on the book is available at:

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    New book on Tweens (children 8-12 years of age)

    Here's the latest release from Dynamic Dads: You can order it from or from
    I've been doing quite a bit of media in support of this new work, especially as we head towards Father's Day. Today's tweens (children 8-12) face many challenges that yesterday's teens faced. Marketing is pushing purchasing decisions down to younger and younger ages. In addition, technology breakthroughs allow tweens instant communication. These trends bring both positive and negative outcomes.

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Sperm donor father meets his six offspring...???

    Source: Times Online
    Date: February 15, 2007
    Author: Devika Bhat

    As family reunions go, it is sure to rank among the less conventional. Six teenagers across America conceived from the same sperm donor have finally met their biological father after he decided to reveal his identity.
    Jeffrey Harrison, whose offerings once ranked among California Cryobank’s most sought-after specimens, made himself known after reading a newspaper article about two teenage girls who had found out they had both been conceived with sperm from “Donor 150” – and wanted to get in touch with the man in question.
    With a profile billing him as a blue-eyed, 6-feet-tall lover of philosophy, music and drama, Mr Harrison, now 50, made $400 (£200) a month as Donor 150 with his twice-a-week donations in the late 1980s.
    But 15 months ago he “choked on his coffee” when he read an article in The New York Times carrying the headline: “Hello, I’m Your Sister, Our Father Is Donor 150.”
    Initially, Mr Harrison was reluctant to come forward, fearing that his newly-found offspring would be disappointed by his unconventional lifestyle and humble existence living with his four dogs in a motorhome near Venice, Los Angeles, where he earns a “meagre living” doing odd jobs.
    And in any case, he says, he hit a stumbling block, with California Cryobank – which promises anonymity to its customers and donors - not responding to his requests for help when he first read the article.
    But this year, as Valentine’s Day neared closer, he finally went online to the Donor Sibling Registry website, where Danielle Pagano and JoEllen Marsh had met, only to discover that four more teenagers conceived with Donor 150’s samples had since surfaced.
    “It’s a short life and these children need to have some kind of resolution,” Mr Harrison told The New York Times. “I thought I could send a little Valentine, kind of, to everyone, just saying hello.”
    On Saturday, he confirmed his identity to the website, which helps donor-conceived offspring find their sibilings, leading daughters Danielle and JoEllen to call him together the next day.
    He met a third daughter, Ryann, in Los Angeles yesterday, and has been in touch with his other children by e-mail, finding out that they shared a love of animals and a distinctive forehead.
    “The first thing he said was, ’Holy moly’,” Danielle, 17 told the newspaper. “He’s sort of a free spirit, and I don’t care what career he has. I got to talk to his dogs.” She has since spent several hours on the phone to her newly-discovered father.
    Mr Harrison has also been able to enlighten his children, who live in Colorado, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, with some paternal family history. Their grandfather was an Ivy League-educated retired financial executive, while their grandmother used to be volunteer president for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
    Wendy Kramer, founder of the Donor Sibling Registry, said that several dozen donors had contacted offspring via her website, but until now none had been brave enough to take on such a large group of teenagers.
    “You don’t know what to expect,” she said. “How do we define this family, and what are we to each other?”
    The story may not end there. It is possible that Mr Harrison has other children, because women who buy sperm are not required to report when they have a baby.

    Thursday, May 17, 2007

    Here is the cover of a hot new book, which was a best seller in England and is now making the best seller lists here in the US. Check out this list of "boy" activities:

    Book Description:
    A bestselling book for every boy from eight to eighty, covering essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age old question of: what is the big deal with girls?
    In this digital age there is still a place for knots, skimming stones and stories of incredible courage. This book recaptures Sunday afternoons, stimulates curiosity, and makes for great father-son activities. The brothers Conn and Hal have put together a wonderful collection of all things that make being young or young at heart fun—building go-carts and electromagnets, identifying insects and spiders, and flying the world's best paper airplanes.
    The completely revised American Edition includes:
    The Greatest Paper Airplane in the World, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, The Five Knots Every Boy Should Know, Stickball, Slingshots, Fossils, Building a Treehouse, Making a Bow and Arrow, Fishing (revised with US Fish) Timers and Tripwires, Baseball's "Most Valuable Players", Famous Battles-Including Lexington and Concord, The Alamo, and Gettysburg, Spies-Codes and Ciphers, Making a Go-Cart, Navajo Code Talkers', Dictionary, Girls, Cloud Formations, The States of the U.S., Mountains of the U.S., Navigation, The Declaration of Independence, Skimming Stones, Making a Periscope, The Ten Commandments, Common US Trees, Timeline of American History.

    Seems like a pretty good list that all US boys should learn, no? Does anyone know of a similar list for girls?

    Monday, March 26, 2007

    Where are the parents?

    Here's a recent story of 13 year-old girls behaving badly. And yet, like me, you may feel compelled to ask, "Where were the parents?"
    Police: Girl given beer, shot with Taser at sleepover

    'Numerous' charges possible after 13-year-old's report

    09:37 PM CDT on Monday, March 19, 2007
    By DEBRA DENNIS / The Dallas Morning News

    Grapevine police are investigating reports that a 13-year-old girl was assaulted with a Taser, given alcohol and bound with duct tape during a sleepover at a friend's house.

    Potential criminal charges are "numerous," but none has been filed as the investigation continues, said Sgt. Bob Murphy, a spokesman for the Grapevine Police Department.

    The girl, a middle school student, was assaulted Friday at a home in the 4100 block of Harvest Glen Court, police said.

    The girl was also given an unknown type of pill, police said.

    The 13-year-old and other teens at the house were allowed to drink from a small keg of beer, police said.

    Adults were at the home at the time, Sgt. Murphy said.

    "Somebody provided the alcohol and allowed it to be used," Sgt. Murphy said.

    The 13-year-old apparently became drunk, loud and out of control.

    According to a search warrant affidavit, a group of juveniles bound the girl's hands and legs with duct tape.

    They also used duct tape to cover her mouth.

    The girl was dragged down a flight of stairs by her legs and assaulted multiple times with the Taser, police said.

    "She has marks on her," Sgt. Murphy said. "There were some obvious abrasions."

    The girl cried and begged the teens to stop, the affidavit stated.

    About midnight, the girl called her father to pick her up. Her parents reported the incident to police Saturday.

    Police executed a search warrant at the home later that day and recovered a Taser and duct tape.

    Hand-held Tasers are available at gun shops. They shoot an electric shock sufficient to incapacitate a person.

    "It's like an animal prod," Sgt. Murphy said.

    Police said they reported the incident to Child Protective Services.

    However, Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for CPS, could not confirm whether the agency is investigating.