Join the Show!
by Lisa Anderson on 12/07/2010 at 2:04 PM

Want to star in this year's "Best Of" shows at the end of the month? Then call now! We've received some great messages so far. They've made me smile. Guys, I'll be honest: You're woefully underrepresented. Ladies, we'd still love to hear from more of you!

Again, all you need to do is call the number below and in two minutes or less give us your favorite "The Boundless Show" moment from 2010 and why...it's that easy! If you mess up or forget something, just start over or call again. No biggie.

The number to call is 1-866-687-8686. International friends call 001-719-266-7505. We'll take calls through the end of this week, but our trusty engineer, Dave, wants to get a jump-start on things, so the earlier, the better.

We'll compile your calls into two fun-filled shows to play the last two weeks of December as we're all celebrating Christmas and reflecting on God's goodness this year. Don't be left out!

Of course any calls that reference the Gaithers or my amazing singing will be given extra consideration. Ok, kidding. Kinda.

Looking forward to hearing from you. :)


Waiting II: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Version
by Matt Kaufman on 12/07/2010 at 1:21 PM

Yesterday Suzanne posted on the fitting Advent theme of waiting. There are several angles you can take on a topic like this, and she's picked a good one: nurturing the moment. I'd like to add a post on waiting from another angle, because I just ran across something that's too good not to share.

It's the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, quoted in a column in my local paper (not online) by Pastor Don Follis. Here's Bonhoeffer, writing from prison in Nazi Germany:

Celebrating Advent means being able to wait. Waiting is the art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespectful hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them. Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting -- that is, of hopefully doing without -- will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.

And again from prison in 1943, to his fiancee:

Be brave, my dearest Maria, even if this letter is your only token of my love this Christmas-tide. We shall both experience a few dark hours -- why should we disguise that from each other? We shall ponder the incomprehensibility of our lot and be assailed by the question of why, over and above the darkness already enshrouding humanity. We are being subjected to the bitter anguish of a separation whose purpose we fail to understand. And then, just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, the Christmas message comes to tell us that our ideas are wrong, and that what we take to be evil and dark is really good and light because it comes from God. Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger.

That's the sort of thing that's worth reading every day. But especially in Advent.


"Are You My Father?"
by Boundless Community on 12/06/2010 at 1:00 PM

Editor's Note: This post was written by Alyssa Johnson, one of this semester's Boundless interns.

When I was little, my siblings and I were obsessed with a book called Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. It was about a little bird who hatched out of his egg while his mother was away from the nest. Since he had never seen his mother, he didn’t know who he was supposed to be looking for, but he knew he would rather look for her than be alone.

The little guy went around to all the other animals he could find, asking them, “Are you my mother?” It was comically clear to us as children that the bird was not related to the kitten, the cow, or the other animals in question, but this newborn was lost as to how to identify his mama. He gets further and further off track as the story progresses, asking a car, boat, and plane if they could be his mother —until before long he climbs onto the arm of a power shovel. Danger is imminent as the machine starts to move and the baby bird finally lets out the scream he has been suppressing for the duration of the book — “I want my mother!”

Fortunately for my tender child psyche, the bird does not get ground up in the gears of the machine, but instead is dropped off into his nest as his mother returns. When I look back on this story of parental longing, I realize how reflective it is of my heart for my Heavenly Father.

I have been blessed with an incredibly godly father. I respect and seek out his opinion, I well up at every father-daughter song about little girls wanting to marry daddy, and I model much of my life after his. But, despite his seemingly limitless love, his humanity cannot communicate to me the love of the Heavenly Father, and I have found myself struggling with the idea of that Perfect Dad more and more as I become older.

I’ve never seen my Heavenly Father. As I read through the Scriptures for some sort of picture of who my Father is, I don’t always know what I am looking for because I can’t imagine the fullness of who He is. I know I would rather stumble through the process of trying to discover Him than walk through this life alone, but it can be so frustrating to ask about each characteristic I see of Him, “Are YOU part of my Father?! Is justice a part of my Father? Is holiness? Is goodness? Are any of these things truly part of my Dad?”

For a girl who has continually had a gracious earthly father in my life, I have struggled with the idea of a flawless Heavenly Father an awful lot. I just can’t imagine anyone having that kind of love for me. A Father who loves to give good gifts? Surely not to someone as undeserving as me. A Father who dances over me with delight for His creation and sings over me when I am startled and overwhelmed by life? Surely not for someone as chaotic and sinful as me.

And yet, in Psalm 91, I am given a picture of that kind of loving Dad—a Dad who is obsessed with love for me. He promises rest and refuge in His shadow, safety from hidden traps, a shield of faithfulness, and angels who will guard me in all my ways. (I would encourage you to read this chapter in The Message. In my opinion it gives the best structure for reading the psalm as a letter of His great love for us.) The psalm ends with these promises:

'Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.’

When I read Are You My Mother? as a child, I wished that the animals in the story would have a little more compassion on the baby bird. I wished they would give him some kind of hint, such as, “I’m not your mother…your mother has feathers." "I’m not your mother…your mother has a beak.” I thought it would have been so helpful for the frightened bird if he had been given some sense of what to look for, something like we have in Psalm 91. I’m looking for the heart of a Father who will rescue me. A Father who will protect, answer, comfort, deliver, honor and satisfy me. That’s the Father I find in the Scriptures. That’s the Father I have to let into my heart.

Hopefully I don’t stray further and further from the truth each time I ask the question, “Are you my Father?”, but rather come to a deeper understanding of who He is and what His heart looks like. And when I am unable to comprehend who He says He is in the Scriptures, I’ll hopefully be honest enough to stand in front of the Lord and scream, “I want my Father!” Thankfully, He has promised to be good enough to show up in those times (Jeremiah 29:13).


Waiting
by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin on 12/06/2010 at 5:00 AM

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By now many of you may have forgotten that I am about to have a baby. I've had a very kind pregnancy, and, at times, even I forget that I will be holding that little baby boy in my arms by the end of the month!

This week a friend forwarded me a quote from Henri Nouwen that likened the waiting of Advent to the waiting of expectant mothers:

A waiting person is a patient person .... willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.

Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb.

Nurturing the moment. I can think of many times in my life where I've been waiting. Waiting to be old enough to drive. Waiting to go to college. Waiting to finish college. Waiting to hear about a job. Waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting for a spouse. And now waiting for this little baby to arrive.

Think of all that God did in the hearts and lives of people as they were waiting for the Messiah. They saw miracles. They witnessed hearts changed. They watched God pull through again and again. And those who "nurtured the moment" were praised and rewarded for it (Hebrews 11).

So in this season of Advent, as you wait for the day we celebrate our Savior's birth — and other things — nurture the moment. Believe that something hidden is there, because it is.

Note: I wrote this post on Friday before I read today's Boundless Answers by John Thomas. Thomas addresses this idea of waiting and nurturing the moment perfectly. Be sure to check it out.


Going All the Way: Episode 149
by Lisa Anderson on 12/03/2010 at 1:35 PM





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It's December! Wow, a lot has happened this year. As the year winds down, I'm looking back at 2010 with amazement. Everything from a Super Bowl ad to sinus surgery to our first Boundless webcast to a trip to Europe to a job change to a massive web redesign. It's been busy.

It's been quite the year at The Boundless Show, too. Between relationship smackdowns, interviews with everyone from sex therapists to Switchfoot, and questions about porn, parents and everything else under the sun, we've kept the discussion going.

And now, we want to hear from you. Our last two shows of 2010 will be "The Best of The Boundless Show in 2010." What moments from the show this year were most hilarious, touching, challenging, memorable, weird or life-changing? Here's how you'll tell us:

From tomorrow morning, December 4, through next Wednesday, December 8, we'll have a listener feedback line open. The number to call is 1-866-687-8686. Our international friends can call 001-719-266-7505. We want you to in two minutes or less tell us your favorite moment from the show this year. What was it and why? How did it impact you? Responses can be heartfelt, funny, whatev. We just want to know what resonated with you. Call the number, follow the prompts and leave your comment. It's easy! We'll then take your comments, compile them, intersperse them with the appropriate clips from this year's shows, and have 'em ready to go for you to enjoy during Christmas. Fun, huh?

Again, call the number between Saturday and Wednesday, and keep your comment brief so we can use it. Try to use specifics in your comment so we can find the corresponding clips. These will be your episodes, so speak up! And thanks in advance. I'm looking forward to hearing what moments meant the most to you all. Speaking of the show, here we go:

A Pleasantly Purposeful Christmas -- 00:00

Of course I'm somewhat stressed out about the next few weeks, because I always try to do too much. Shopping, parties, travel, oh my! Sarah and my new friend Andrew Hess are in the studio this week to talk about what makes Christmas most meaningful for us, and how we can turn a normally ridiculous season into one that makes a mark on our hearts.

Craig Groeschel -- 28:42

I loved what he had to say at Catalyst this year. Then I loved it when I heard he had a book called Going All the Way: Preparing for a Marriage that Goes the Distance. Craig Groeschel doesn't pull any punches when he talks about taking a move toward marriage seriously. And he's even more serious about what you should do and not do in getting there. A great chat with an influential pastor who shares his own story and what he learned in shaping it.

Parenting Styles Panic -- 46:25 

They're dating and are wondering how important it is to discuss parenting styles going into marriage. And quite frankly, they're not even sure what their parenting styles are. Candice is back to share some wisdom on what you need to know about kids before you say "I do."

Don't forget to call and participate in our two final shows for 2010!


An Atheist Christmas Message
by Matt Kaufman on 11/29/2010 at 5:00 AM

American Atheists, founded nearly half a century ago by Madalyn Murray O'Hair, is still around, and this year, they're sending out a Christmas card, of sorts. More precisely, they've put up a Christmas billboard, prominently placed in North Bergen, N.J. It features a Nativity scene and a bah-humbug message for all to see:

"You KNOW it's a Myth / This Season, Celebrate REASON!"

Understandably, some Christians are offended. But we should look at this less as a cause for offense than as an opportunity to talk about truth.

There's a lot you can say against American Atheists, but say one thing for them: At least they're making truth claims. They're saying that Christianity is false. And they're implicitly presuming that's worth saying -- publicly -- because truth matters. That's a lot more than we can say for those who hide behind slippery slogans like "You have your truth, I have my truth" or "We shouldn't argue about what's true; we should just respect everybody's beliefs."

It'd be too bad if Christians pass up any opportunity to talk about the truth of our faith. Especially if, instead, we fall back on the lowest-common-denominator critique: the notion that people shouldn't say things that offend other people's religious faiths, or (for that matter) lack thereof. In that misbegotten view, the problem with American Atheists' billboard message isn't that it's false, but that it's ill-mannered.

We should love to talk about the truth of Christianity, not just our feelings about it ("what Jesus means to me personally") or how it can make others feel ("what Jesus could mean in your life"). It only matters because it's true. If Christ is not both God and man, born of a virgin, killed and resurrected, then our faith is worthless and we're pitiful. Just as the Apostle Paul said.

Because it is true, though, it matters more than anything.


Adoption from All Angles: Episode 148
by Lisa Anderson on 11/25/2010 at 1:05 PM





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Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully those of you celebrating are having a good time with family and friends. I'm hanging with my brother and sister and their families at my bro's place in Denver. I trekked up here this morning with a car full of appetizers and desserts -- my assignments for Thanksgiving Dinner.

After we eat, I will be forcing my family to play board games. The only downside is that I will completely annihilate them if we play CatchPhrase, Beyond Balderdash, Scrabble, Scattergories or anything else involving words. But that's the risk they take. I've been getting into card games, too, so maybe we can play Spades, Hearts or similar (my mom won't be there, so we'll be spared comments about "the devil's tools"). Either way, it will be fun to catch up on everyone's lives. Oh, and I'll make them say what they're thankful for (and not, a la this morning's post), because I'm about getting into people's bitnit.

My new favorite game is Loaded Questions. Has anyone played that? I love it, because you actually learn things about people, and it's absolutely hilarious to hear folks' responses. I adore question games (most of which I make up myself), so I support any game company that gives get-to-know-you games a fair shake.

What are you doing today besides eating? Any traditions? Anything out of the ordinary? In the hustle and bustle (and resting for those of you bracing to shop tomorrow), don't forget to catch this week's show!

A Home for Everyone -- 00:00

Three young adults join me to discuss how adoption and orphan care has touched their lives. Katie Porter lives and breathes adoption as part of her job with Focus' adoption and orphan care initiatives, but she's also in a dating relationship where adoption has become part of the "our future" discussion. Esther's parents abandoned her when she was young, and she's lived most of her life longing for family. God's given her a heart for those who, like her, want to belong. And Paul is an adoptive dad of two boys. He didn't think adoption would be part of his story until God stepped in and told him otherwise. The journey has been a challenging but rewarding one.

Time of My Life -- 39:29

Regie Hamm has written for some big names in music. But his life changed when at the last minute he entered American Idol's 2008 songwriting competition. His song, "Time of My Life," won, and was recorded by Idol winner David Cook. More than just the music, Regie's heart beats for adoption. He and his wife have two adopted children, including Isabella whom they brought home from China and later discovered has a rare genetic disorder. Regie's life and music reflects a reliance upon God in everything, as well as a desire to make every moment and every relationship count.

Race Relations -- 53:12

Her boyfriend is Hispanic, and her family's not happy about it. That about sums up this week's Inbox question. Focus counselor Danny Huerta has some compassionate advice for a listener who's caught in the middle between pursuing a relationship with the guy she loves, and honoring her parents and family while disagreeing with their opinions on interracial dating.

Enjoy the show, everyone. Maybe take the opportunity to play this week's episode for a captive Thanksgiving Day audience? You never know whom you may make a new fan. :)


Thanks for Nothing
by Lisa Anderson on 11/25/2010 at 5:00 AM

You’ve heard the phrase, “Thanks for nothing.” It’s generally said in a decidedly unthankful way, and is meant to convey bitterness, even contempt, toward someone who has disappointed us, or when we’ve been denied something we want. 

As Thanksgiving is upon us, I’ve naturally been thinking about thankfulness. Without a doubt, I have many things to be thankful for.

But I started thinking about the things I don’t have. The things I’ve been denied. And I’m thankful for those, too.

My dream in high school was to attend Yale University. In everything I did, I labored to meet that goal: I got good grades. I joined weird clubs. I excelled in music. I even took AP Physics (ugh) as an elective. After making it through the application process and undergoing a rigorous interview by a Yale alum, I was turned down.

Looking back, it was one of the best rejections I’ve ever received. Because of that closed door, I went to a Christian liberal arts college, and through my classes, Bible studies and the godly example of my roommate, Renee, I recognized my obsession with self (which continues, but at least I’m aware of it) and reconnected with the Lord in a powerful way. I also saved a bunch of money on tuition, traveled internationally, made lifelong friends and learned how to channel my gift of gab into something useful.  

God let my dad die of cancer nine years ago. But in this loss, I gained an understanding of grief as well as a front-row seat for a display of God’s immeasurable love. And Dad gained heaven. I don’t begrudge him his early departure.

I’ve had romantic relationships fail that would’ve been disastrous had they ended in marriage. I may not know why I’m still single, but I sure know why I’m not married to some of the guys I dated.

I let a dream job in another state pass me by. I questioned my decision. But several months later, I joined a crazy ministry called Boundless.  

The list goes on. Failures, disappointments, losses – all things that seemed devastating at the time, but now go on my growing list of things to be thankful for.

What are the things you’re thankful you don’t have? Are you thankful for nothing, in the best sense of the phrase? Today more than ever, we can recognize how God is good in what He gives and in what He takes away.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love!

[You'll see part of this post show up in this week's e-newsletter. Most weeks, the e-newsletter is a place to get my musings on the sacred or incredibly ordinary -- stuff I don't put on the blog or elsewhere. If you're not already a subscriber, sign up here.] 


Is Marriage 'Obsolete?'
by Matt Kaufman on 11/24/2010 at 9:35 AM

Nearly four in 10 Americans (39 percent) think marriage is becoming "obsolete." So says a Time/Pew Research Center poll released last week, and that's the part of the poll that's grabbing the headlines.

In reality, there's more to the poll than that, and others at Focus on the Family have talked about it (see here and here). So rather than go over the same ground, I want to focus on that word obsolete, and what it tells us about the people who framed the question.

I don't mean the pollsters. They used the word, but mainly for comparison purposes: They've been polling on this question since 1978, if not earlier. And back then, obsolete was merely an echo of the common language of the Sexual Revolution. Marriage was a "relic," thanks to The Pill, feminism ("a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle") and general social enlightenment. It was "obsolete" because it deserved to be obsolete. We'd found something better: freedom, baby, freedom! (Hey, that's how they talked.)

Not many people these days show such enthusiasm on the subject. (The Sexual Revolution's disastrous consequences make that a hard sell.) But many seem to have accepted, if sometimes regretfully, that marriage is a human social invention that can become obsolete. And that's a fundamental mistake we need to refute in the public square.

Marriage is not a mere invention of human societies. It's an institution of God among humans, known even in places where He is not known as Savior. Some cultures have distorted it, but none have created it.

That's only one of many things Christians have to say about marriage. (See those other Focus links for some of the other things.) It is, however, one of the first things we should say.


My Review of "The Green Zone"
by Chelsey Munneke on 11/23/2010 at 5:07 PM

Recently in my marketing class, my professor confessed his dislike for Matt Damon due to Damon’s past outspoken negativity toward Sarah Palin.

It's like a really bad Disney movie, 'The Hockey Mom.' Oh, I'm just a hockey mom from Alaska, and she's president, said Damon. She's facing down Vladimir Putin and using the folksy stuff she learned at the hockey rink. It's absurd. Matt Damon, September 11, 2008

My professor wasn’t calling us to duplicate his personal ban against all of Damon’s films, but was just discussing celebrities and their influence in the public arena.

I didn’t take it to heart and it didn’t really cross my mind again until I was scanning my rental after it emerged from the redbox. “Starring Matt Damon."  I rented The Green Zone without knowing anything about it besides that it looked like a war movie—and I like war movies.

It wasn’t more than five minutes into the movie that my professor’s remarks on Damon’s political views became very obvious. The premise of the movie was to bring light onto the war in Iraq…a very pointed, specific light.

For those who haven’t seen the film, here is the lowdown:

The plot circles around the main character, Army Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller. Miller is played by – you guessed it – Matt Damon. Of course Miller is a strong, thoughtful, good leader who makes viewers instantly feel connected to him. Anyway, Miller and his team are on a hunt for WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) and continue to come up empty handed. Miller, feeling uneasy about this disconnect between the intelligence where his information is coming from and the truth that remains unknown, decides to take matters into his own hands.

Later, Miller shares information with an anti-government member of the CIA and also a reporter from the New York Times. Together, they go behind the military’s back to search for the truth of why the government keeps the military on this wild goose chase for WMDs that don’t seem to exist.

Everyone involved is on the search for one of Saddam’s right hand men, General Al Rawi, because supposedly HE has the answer to either a) where these weapons are or b) if they even exist at all. The movie is set up to make viewers believe that the government is trying to kill this man because he knows the WMDs don’t exist, but Damon and his truth seekers just want to talk to this man who could eventually help them and share with them what the government has been hiding.

This created and evoked an interesting emotion in me as I watched the movie. Damon was supposed to be the good guy, making the U.S. government the only other option – the bad guy. The movie portrays other members of the military as cruel rednecks who are just in it for the kill. Eventually, by the end of the movie, I didn’t even want Al Rawi to die because I believed he had the “truth” -- which he did.

[spoiler alert] Finally face-to-face with Al Rawi, Miller discovers what he thought the entire time: His search for WMDs was all a decoy and lie to keep American troops in Iraq…but for what? The ending scene of the movie shows Miller in his military vehicle heading off into the sunset towards what I assume is supposed to be an oil field.

Wow. There ya go, America: We, the government of the United States, knowingly lied to you when we said we thought there were WMDs in Iraq. We have been risking lives and shooting guns for one reason: oil.

Yes, I know that statement is bold, but if I were an ignorant person watching this movie, this is the idea I would have formed. I know it is just a movie, but its slanted view on such a sensitive subject concerns me. If I thought everyone out there was watching movies with their brain filters on, I wouldn’t be as concerned. OR even if I thought there weren’t thousands of people out there that use movies and TV shows as their news source, this movie about government conspiracy wouldn’t upset me as much.

So who should I be upset with? Is it the producers fault for creating a film that causes me to think, to ask questions, to be manipulated into cheering for the Al-Qaida by the end of the movie? Or is it good for us and are we just the suckers if we fall for it?

What do you think? Should movies like this be allowed? Do you see it as entertainment or manipulation?


Breaking Guy Code
by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin on 11/22/2010 at 3:33 PM

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In today's Boundless Answers, John Thomas tackles a tricky question: Is it OK for a guy to pursue a woman he knows his buddy has his eye on?

I've been told in no uncertain terms that it is "guy code" for one guy to not move in on the object of another guy's desire. But Thomas gives a different answer:

He's not in charge of this woman's future and neither are you. What I mean is, she's a big girl and she can make her own decisions about which of you (if either) she's interested in. You move forward and let her decide what she wants to do.

We're not talking about a new car that both of you guys want and are calling "dibs" on or flipping a coin over. We're talking about a human being who might also have an opinion about the plans you guys are making for her life. If you want to ask her on a date, do it. Let her take it from there.

If you want to tell him what your plans are, that's fine, but you have no obligation to do so. You certainly don't need his approval. That's a discussion you might take up with her father at some point … but that's another story.

In short, until SOMEONE asks her out, this woman is fair game. What do you think? Is Thomas' advice good? Does he violate "guy code"? Or does "guy code" just need to be rewritten?


Dancing Stars and Wandering Eyes
by Matt Kaufman on 11/19/2010 at 8:56 AM

In a column nominating retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner for Sportsman of the Year, Peter King of Sports Illustrated takes up Warner's recent appearance on Dancing with the Stars (HT: Getreligion):

It was an interesting personal choice. Warner is a devout Christian and he had to dance very closely with his very attractive partner, Anna Trebunskaya. And he had to do it recently on the 13th anniversary of the wedding of Warner and wife Brenda. He told me he did it for the challenge of it, and to show a Christian man can dance close with a woman who is not his wife and still be a faithful husband.

I wondered about his wife's reaction to the show, and to the endless hours of dancing with a beautiful woman with Brenda a few hundred miles away. And this is why I so appreciate Warner. It's the honesty.

Here's what most public figures would say to that question: "Oh, Brenda is totally supportive. She understands it's a once-in-a-lifetime deal, and she loves the fact I'm getting to show a different side of my life.'"

Here's what Warner said: "She has her moments. I totally understand. It's tough on us. When it's your 13th anniversary, and you've got to dance 'the dance of love' with your partner, Brenda said, 'Do you find it ironic that you're dancing the dance of love on our 13th anniversary?' "

Whether Warner made the right choice isn't the topic for today. The topic is dancing and us.

Like a lot of things, dancing can be good or bad -- morally, I mean -- and for the Christian, some cases are clear-cut. But other cases can get tricky. There's a kind of beautiful, elegant, wholesome dancing, where our reactions (as dancers or viewers) can include an innocent romantic, enchantment with the opposite-sex dancer. (I'm enchanted by any number of women from old musicals circa 1940s.) There's also a kind that directs your eyes, and your mind, to places they shouldn't go.

The tricky part is that one kind can quickly morph into the other, and morph back again just as quickly. In those cases, it's hard to draw a line in advance, especially as a viewer -- "this kind is OK, this kind isn't." The nature of dance is that it carries you along with the flow.

So where do you draw the line in practice, whether you're dancing yourself or watching other people dance, in person or on TV? Do you think you've stepped over some lines that you shouldn't have?


Gray Matters: Episode 147
by Lisa Anderson on 11/18/2010 at 2:00 PM





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It's another great week at The Boundless Show. You'll see on the site how we're celebrating National Adoption Month. Next week the show will join the party by discussing adoption and orphan care from a whole slew of angles: adult orphans, what to expect in adopting, talking about adoption with the guy/girl you're dating...you name it.

This week we're drawn to controversy, though. Oof. Thanks to the willing souls who joined the panel. Too bad my mom wasn't around. She would've loved to bless you all with her (strong) opinions on these subjects. Enjoy jumping into the fray! 

Can't Touch This -- 00:00

You don't have to talk to another Christian long before discovering some point on which you disagree. But some topics seem stickier than others. Drinking, dancing, language, politics -- even homeschooling -- can make otherwise reasonable believers start judging, stereotyping, and yes, namecalling. Focus' Glenn Stanton and Ketty Kerns, plus local pastor Mark Bates, address the good, the bad and the negotiable when it comes to Christians and gray areas.

The Next Christians -- 39:21

Gabe Lyons hit a nerve with his first book, unChristian (co-authored with David Kinnaman). Now he's back with The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America. I caught up with him at Catalyst (here we are pictured with fellow Focus staffers Dawn McBane and Esther Fleece) to discuss where Christians (especially young Christians) are practically and philosophically as we wrestle with culture and the world around us. Gabe Lyons

Transferring Dependence -- 57:53

She feels she's getting a bit too dependent on others -- codependent, really. She wants her needs to be met by the people in her life. So how can she transfer this dependence onto God instead? And what should healthy friendships look like in the meantime? Focus counselor Glenn Lutjens is in the studio for some one-on-thousands advice.


Thinking About Adoption as a Single
by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin on 11/18/2010 at 10:30 AM

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The topic of yesterday's featured article "Wait No More" was adoption. While some Christians (even on this blog) have courageously chosen to adopt while still single, generally it's a married couples kind of thing. At least that's how my friend Julie felt when she attended an adoption conference as a single woman. But what she describes as one of the most frustrating moments of her life, was also the moment before a huge breakthrough:

“I was feeling sorry for myself,” Julie says. “Here I was watching all these couples talk to agencies and gather information and all I could think was, When will it be my turn?” I wanted to adopt so badly but didn't even have a romantic interest — let alone a husband or the resources to begin an adoption.”

You'll have to read the article to learn the inspiring outcome of Julie's story. However, it's clear that God did not give her a passion for adoption only to have it go to waste. Even as a single woman, Julie invested in the plight of orphans through ministry trips to Russia and working for an organization that cared for orphans. "I spent a lot of time thinking about and dreaming about and praying about this before I was ever married," she says.

I have always felt very drawn to adoption. I prayed that my future spouse would feel the same, and when I was dating my husband, I made sure he felt open to it. We look forward to exploring adoption as the Lord directs us.

Something Julie said while we were chatting stood out to me. "Not everyone should adopt," she said. "But more people can and should adopt than do."

And as Katie Porter, Program Director of Adoption and Orphan Care Initiative at Focus on the Family, makes clear:

“Adoption is not about meeting your wants or needs. Christ has called us to lay down our lives for others. Is that easy? No. People should be asking, 'How can God use me in the life of this child?' —not, 'How can God use this child in my life?'”

Another good reason to start thinking about the role you might play in the lives of orphans — now.

To find out how you can get involved with orphan care through Focus on the Family, go to iCareAboutOrphans.org.


My Annoying Dependence on Man
by Chelsey Munneke on 11/16/2010 at 3:19 PM

I have a boyfriend. We have been on and off for the past year and a half. We met at an appropriate yet inopportune time: a few weeks before summer break and only a few months before I would leave for Europe. But, against my initial wishes, we dated anyway.

So we started 550 miles apart, were able to spend a few months together at school, and then transitioned to 4,500 miles apart. HE, in my opinion, handled it fine, because he is a guy. I, on the other hand, well let’s just say… I went a little nuts.

I had grown accustomed to his presence, his closeness, and mostly the constant communication we had achieved, thanks to living only blocks apart and the marvelous inventions of technology. If we weren’t together, we were most likely texting or talking on the phone -- connected at all times.

Then suddenly that was removed. I was on a different continent, in a time zone seven hours later, and had an inoperable cell phone. I was restless, anxious, worried, and constantly doubted our relationship (slight exaggeration, but you get the point). My emotional, female self just had this annoying inner dependence on man, my man -- my poor, smothered man. Needless to say, the transcontinental relationship died two months in.

There were many factors involved, sure, but I would say the main one was that my need for him was not being met. I couldn’t take it and he couldn’t take ME.

I was thousands of miles from home and so, so lonely. I hit my knees. Feeling incredibly sorry for my dumped self, I sank into a sad pile of self-pity. Why wasn’t I good enough? Why didn’t he need me the way I needed him? These stupid questions buzzed over and over in my head.

There wasn’t a strike of lightening or a booming voice from heaven, but in these lonely moments I realized one of the most profound, life-changing things –- something I had thought about before, but never seemed as true and relevant as right then -- on my knees, just crying out for someone to love me.

God NEEDED to be my main man. He was truly the only one who would appropriately fill the voids I had been hurting from. I was made for Him and no one else. No sin-infused, fallen male could ever satisfy this deep love and unconditional acceptance I was longing for.

My uneasy craziness started to make more sense. I had been looking for something much more perfect than I could get anywhere else beside my Savior. No matter where I physically or emotionally was on this Earth, He would be right there with me, loving me and caring for me through every one of life’s storms. I had been trying to make this poor boy fit the shoes of a big God.

Months after learning this vast, much-needed lesson, I found my way back to my earthly man. But recently I was struck with those similar emotions -- wanting and “needing” him to fulfill my heart-wrenching cries for a perfect love. Somehow through his whimsical ways of winning me back, I must have forgotten that one important fact: He is human.

Isn’t it crazy how sometimes we just don’t want to rely on God? We get so used to the physical presence of humans and the tangible comfort they provide, that sometimes trusting in an invisible Father just seems inconvenient. In the midst of my unnecessary frustration, I knew the answer, and God beautifully reaffirmed it as I “stumbled” across Jeremiah 1-3 the other day.

So God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet, Jeremiah doesn’t think he’s qualified, God says “Yes, you are," Jeremiah gives in (a future blog to be written about what I just simplified), and then Jeremiah confronts the people. He uses the analogy of God being a husband to the bride of Israel. God is angry with his people for their disobedience and their “cheating” on him with Baals and other gods. God even compares the people to prostitutes as he continues on with this lover analogy between Him and his people.

After a chapter of chewing out the wayward Israelites, chapter 3 begins to change the mood:

If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—would you now return to me?, declares the Lord.

Wow. I had never really used this comparison before when thinking about my relationship with God. But I think it puts in perspective how painful it must be for Him when we continually put other gods (relationships) before Him.

Yet even after all of our disobedience and misplacement of priorities, God pleads for US to come back to Him:

…Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord, I will frown on you no longer…Jeremiah 3:12

Return, faithless people, declares the Lord, for I am your husband. I will choose you… Jeremiah 3:14

What an awesome God. His pursuit of me is truly unbelievable. Even after putting earthly desires before Him, he still welcomes us back into His loving arms.

We have this innate desire for perfect love because the One who created us has the capability to fulfill this desire perfectly. Yes, read that sentence again. So often we ignore this and try to fill this desire with imperfect beings who will always fall short.

Let God be your main priority and cut your significant other some slack…they are only human. People will continue to let us down, but God never will.



Leadership from the inside out: Focus Leadership Institute

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