Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: The Bread of Life, Faith
Volume 8 No. 477 April 27, 2018

IV. General Weekly Features

Family Special: Delaying Marriage and Parenthood: The Consequences of 'Emerging Adulthood'

by John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera

Arguably the most consequential cultural shift of the past 50 years that too many people are unaware of is the rise of what demographers call "median age at first marriage."

Two simple numbers, one for men and the other for women, tell a great deal about where marriage and family rank among our culture's priorities.

In 1950, the median ages for first marriages were 22.8 years old for men and 20.3 years old for women. As late as 1970, the median ages were 23.2 for men and 20.8 for women. And then those ages started rising, and they're still going up. The figures as of 2013: 29 and 27, respectively.

What's going on here? What does it mean? Those questions are raised in an important new study by the Census Bureau.

The study, entitled "The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975–2016," opens with a sobering conclusion: "What was once ubiquitous [for younger Americans'] during their 20s is now not commonplace until their 30s. Some demographers believe the delays represent a new period of the life course between childhood and adulthood, a period of ‘emerging adulthood.'"

The "delays" referred to by the study are not only those involving marriage and child-rearing, but also other hallmarks associated with what we used to call "growing up."

As the report says, "In prior generations, young adults were expected to have finished school, found a job, and set up their own household during their 20s - most often with their spouse and with a child soon to follow."

Now we've previously talked here on BreakPoint about declining labor force participation, so let's take a closer look at the "setting up their own household" part. Forty years ago, more than half - 57 percent - of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 lived with their spouse; only 26 percent lived with their parents.

Not anymore. Today, only 27 percent of that group live with their spouse; 31 percent live with their parents. Even if you add in the percentages of those living with unmarried partners or living alone, the number of 18-to-34-year-olds living independently is ten percentage points lower than the percentage of those living with their spouses just 40 years ago.

What's more, they don't seem to be in any sort of hurry to establish their households, much less have children. While more than 95 percent of those surveyed rated completing your education and getting a job as "extremely" or "somewhat" important, less than half said the same thing about getting married and having a child, and three quarters of these only rated marriage and child-rearing as "somewhat important."

I repeat, this is consequential.

One obvious consequence is demographic. Delaying marriage means fewer children, which in turn means fewer workers to support an aging American population. It's not working out well for Japan and China, and it's not going to work out well for us, either.

Another consequence: fewer and smaller extended families. Fewer children will have cousins, and if trends continue, their children will have fewer aunts and uncles. The support and social capital generated by extended family networks will become a thing of the past. It's fair to say that more and more of our elderly will become, by necessity, wards of the state.

Now are all called to marriage? Scripture and Christian history tell us clearly not. In fact, my colleague Gina Dalfonzo is releasing a book in June called "One by One," which reminds us how vital singles are to the life of the Church. We have info about that at

But for those not called to singleness, the command "be fruitful and multiply" is still in effect. It's a command we ignore not only at our peril, but our future's, as well.

About The Author:

John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.


Family Special: Good Parenting Skills

by Wes Hopper

"Detach yourself from the seeming successes and failures of your children. By doing so you become able to be one with them at all times."
William Martin

Between my wife and I we have 4 children and 9 grandchildren. Like most parents we'd like our kids to not make the kind of mistakes that we did.

Actually we'd like them to take our advice and not make ANY mistakes at all!

What are the chances of that?

That's right, the chances of that are pretty close to zero. So how do we do our best at parenting or grand-parenting while keeping our sanity?

First, as our quote says, we need to detach ourselves from how well the kids do. Accept that they will make mistakes, and that kids making mistakes, even big mistakes, is rarely a parenting error.

We should never take their errors as a judgment on our parenting skills, unless we've not been paying attention.

If we can show them where their thinking - or lack of thinking - led them astray, we can help them catch error thinking in the future.

Next, be clear that making mistakes is a big part of learning. It's not a sign of being an idiot, but you do have to clean up your messes.

And always, always, remind them that they are loved! That's the best thing that any parent can do for their child, in any circumstance, at any time.

It's a security blanket that works!

Source: Daily Gratitude

Three Signs of Being a Glory Addict

by Paul Tripp

It really is the struggle of struggles. It's what we were made for, it's what we crave, and it's what we manage to mess up in some way almost every day.

What's the struggle? The struggle for glory.

I've said many times that I believe the most important words in the Bible are the first four – "In the beginning, God…” – because these four thunderously important words will radically alter the way we view ourselves and our world.

According to Genesis 1, everything that we experience was made by God and for God. All the little and good glories of the created world were designed to point to his magnificent, unending glory. The universe and all its inhabitants were designed to function in accordance with his glorious purpose and plan. That includes you and me.

We were not made to pursue, or bask in, our own glory. No, we were created to live for the glory of God. But because of sin, we forget (or ignore) the Creator and choose instead to pursue the temporary and trivial glories of creation. This pursuit sidetracks our purity and kidnaps our imagination, and in the end, it's what makes our lives messy and our relationships conflictual.

Maybe another way to phrase our struggle is like this: human beings are glory addicts. We're glory junkies. Whether you like to admit to it or not, you're addicted to glory. In a way, this can be a very healthy thing, because you're actually designed to crave glory, as long as it's related to the things of God. So yes, you should be "addicted" - you should wake up and have a strong desire for Christ each morning, and you should experience a buzz when the Holy Spirit is moving in your life and in the lives of those you love and care for.

At the same time, however, you can't be so naive to think that you have overcome your addiction to self-glory. You see, glory addicts aren't just found in Hollywood, Nashville, or in professional sports. Glory addicts exist in the bedrooms, kitchens, and offices of everyday life.

I love how the Apostle Paul captures this idea in 1 Corinthians 10:31 - "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." When Paul thinks about giving glory to God, he isn't thinking about the speech we make after accepting an Academy Award or scoring a game-winning touchdown in front of millions of viewers. No, he thinks of the utterly mundane, when very few people are watching. And that's where 99% of us live every day.

I want to help you recognize some signs of your glory addiction, not as a doctor looking in, but as an addict myself. I wish I could say I'm a recovering addict, but in many ways, I'm grieved to admit that I still struggle with the exact things I'm writing about today.

So, here are three diagnostic signs that reveal your addiction to self-glory:

1. Glory Junkies Parade Their Righteousness

The Pharisees are recorded for us as a primary example, and as much as we like to self-righteously proclaim that we're not like the Pharisees (Luke 18:11 - oh, the irony!), the fact of that matter is that we are Pharisaical, because we're just as quick to parade our righteousness before watching eyes.

When you're sharing personal stories of your faith, are you telling them in a manner that makes you the hero? Even if you are experiencing a season when faith feels natural to you, you shouldn't be finding ways to incorporate those private moments into public settings. Glory junkies think they're worthy of acclaim, and in the church, we seek acclaim of others by finding ways to present ourselves as righteous. Ask yourself - how righteous do I actually think I am?

2. Glory Junkies Talk Too Much

Glory junkies talk about themselves a lot. We think our stories are more exciting, our accomplishments are more impressive, our jokes are funnier, our kids are more successful, and our ministries are more effective. If you find yourself cutting people off a lot in conversation, you should consider yourself a glory junkie.

Instead of shining the spotlight on your weaknesses and failures while celebrating God's glorious and utterly undeserved grace in your life, do you shine the spotlight on you? Ask yourself - how much do I talk about me?

3. Glory Junkies Are Self-Important

When you're impressed by your own glory, you fail to remember that in a multitude of counsel, there is wisdom. You'll fail to see the need for the essential ministry of the body of Christ in your life. You'll fail to recognize your bias and spiritual blindness. Glory junkies won't live in relationships with humility towards what others have to offer.

This may seem harsh, but be honest - you and I often see people as a waste of time. Because we're overly confident and independent, people become an irritating and unhelpful interruption of what we could accomplish on our own. How often do you blow people off completely, or at least "tolerate" their lesser opinions while masking your frustration? Ask yourself - do I actually think I need the body of Christ?

Everyone is a glory junkie, and we all will be until we meet Jesus, but not everyone recognizes their self-righteousness and self-importance. Ask the Lord to show you where you think you're too righteous, too awesome, and too important. You are never in more danger than when you think you've spiritually arrived, and there's never more joy than when you're completely reliant of the grace of God.

The good news is Jesus welcomes our brokenness. He came to earth to heal junkies like you and me.

About The Author:

Paul David Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is "Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life." Tripp is also professor of pastoral life and care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. Tripp has written many books on Christian living that are read and distributed internationally. ...

Source: Daily Update

Self Improvement: What do the Oscars and your success have in common?

by Amy Beilharz

Oscar night always generates so much excitement - even for people like me who don't see most of the movies nominated, it is still fun to watch the show or read the headlines of who won. Whether it is the glamour, the fantasy, or the fame, acting and those who do it well seem to grab our attention.

The skill of the best actresses (or actors) and their directors is to make us believe something is real, even when it isn't, and - believe it or not - it is the same skill that determines whether affirmations work for you. Yep, the thing missing from your happiness is probably your inability to pretend things that haven't come to fruition yet - are real!

You may have tried affirmations and given up on them because they didn't work - writing them off as one more failed technique. But the harsh reality is affirmation do work, if you can convince yourself to believe they are true.

You probably deliver affirmations with an internal critic adding, "Yeah, right!" or "Here are all the facts that show this isn't true." The inner voice is more believable than the affirmation, and so it wins the Oscar award for your life.

A few years ago one of my mentors, Bob Proctor, gave me a book called The Art of Acting by Stella Adler. It seemed a strange book to give a businesswoman and spiritual seeker who had no interest in acting. Yet, a short way into the book I recognized it was my missing ingredient in making affirmations work for me. Stella taught her acting students, like Marlon Brando, how to make their characters come to life by having them study the intricate details that make up a scene and rarely focused on delivering lines. These are the same details that help you convince yourself that your affirmations are real, which is the key to affirmations working.

Based on Stella's teachings, here are a four ways you can become the Best Actress in your own life and start to create the movie you choose to live rather than the one you don't.

1. Acting is doing.

Stella never let actors rely on the lines, she told them their actions should come before the lines and make the lines believable. What would someone do if your affirmation were true? How would they walk? Sit? What would they be carrying? Fill your imagination with action that would arise from your affirmation being real.

2. Imagine your affirmed circumstance in detail.

Stella told students they couldn't have dinner on a stage. They had to transform the stage into the circumstance of having dinner in their mind even if the props and circumstances were not on the stage. She would have her students first imagine the details of the dinner. Is it in a home or a restaurant? Notice the placement and type of silverware, plates, and water glasses. Is wine served? Are there candles? What food is being served? Be very specific. Only when you have filled in all the details of this dinner or anything else in your mind, including whom else is there, can you affirm it with conviction.

3. Study others who do or have what you want.

Actors do not always have the life experience of the people they are portraying, so they study people who do to learn the nuances that make up that type of person. If you want to affirm you are wealthy, go where wealthy people are and watch them. Shop at stores they shop at and observe them while there. If you want to be in love, remember times you were in love and how it affected your body, your walk, your tone of voice and go watch couples interact. Then when you affirm these things you will be affirming them with the energy and details that make them feel real to your subconscious rather than as an idle wish. Stella said actors are undercover agents who must constantly spy on others!

4. Know your justification for what you are affirming.

An interesting exercise Stella made students do was to justify their actions. If they were drinking a glass of water on stage they needed an internal reason for it, even if it is not stated outright to the audience - reasons like taking vitamins, getting a bad taste out of their mouth, or gargling. But she would not accept the justification of "I'm thirsty." Why? Because it was too obvious. If you want to affirm being wealthy your justification needs to extend well beyond because you want to be able to buy things - what kind of things, what will wealth change in your life, specifically.

The best way to become an amazing actress is to practice and study and the same is true for your affirmations to become believable so that they manifest.

Many people who teach affirmations tell you to aim big, and I agree.

But to learn the technique of belief and faith you need to practice from where you are to quiet the internal critic. Stella told her students they could not play a part bigger than them and their experiences. She sent them out to increase their experiences so they could increase the size of the parts they could play.

That is what I recommend you do. Affirm something small and study the intricacies of what it would look like to realize it. Then affirm it to yourself, looking in the mirror, while driving, before bed. Pick small things until you grow you muscle of imagination and detailed observation.

If you are depressed, affirming you are joyful may be beyond your ability to imagine.

But you could imagine and affirm that today is going to be better than yesterday. And then start to create how that scene would look. What small improvements could you believe? Once you get these bit parts right, you will be on your way to the Oscars!

About The Author:

Amy Beilharz is the CEO of Influential Women, Inc a company dedicated to empowering women across the globe. She offers tips, free resources and products to help women take their passions and turn them into money making ventures and a life full of purpose. Amy helps her clients navigate starting a business that makes millions. ...


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