My Dad Was Right!
(My Slow Surrender to Ephesians 5:23)

I came out of graduate school in 1979 as a well-educated Christian feminist. My dad and I fought over this. He could not let go of the traditional notion that the husband should be the head of the family. I regaled him with my egalitarian beliefs, though untried by me in the real world. He had several Scripture passages and some real life experience on his side. Still, I was unbending and he got rather agitated with me. Though disappointed, he loved me none the less as we agreed to disagree.

I recall being proud of my academic honors but deep inside, I knew I did not understand the contradictions between God’s word and my more culturally relevant theories. So I continued to study God’s word, not for grades but with a passion for understanding. After a decade, my gender neutral presumptions began to breakdown.

As I see it today, God’s word clearly calls husbands to serve in marriage as Christ-like heads of their families. The word “head” (and the headship role) is defined by Jesus Himself and his relationship with the church. My knowledge of biblical Greek and Hebrew and all the cultural conditions then and now were of no use as the clear meaning of the text kept emerging through the fog in my heart and mind. Here’s the passage that would not go away:

    For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church. (Ephesians 5:23)

The apostle Paul plainly rooted the headship role of the husband in Jesus Christ, not in the culture of the day. Thus, no man understands headship for the Christian husband unless he knows Jesus. Paul continued:

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

The biblical mandate for a husband to be the head of his wife was also a mandate to be Christ-like. That’s right, the same Jesus who came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45), is the primary model for Christian leadership (headship ) in the home.


In my “Introduction to the Bible” class back in my adjunct professor days, when we got to Ephesians 5, I always asked the class. “What unique contributions do women make to humanity and to human relationships?” My class freely identified a long list of unique contributions by women. When I asked the same question regarding men, no one ever raised a hand. Neither the men or the women wanted to suggest that a man could offer something unique to humanity. I pointed out that for men to be equal in worth to women, their unique contributions to humanity and to relationships must also be recognized. Maybe that’s why Scripture uniquely calls men to Christ-like leadership.

my dad, Horace Solliday, and my little brother
I finally embraced the biblical mandate of Christ-like headship for husbands, it was a surrender for me. I much preferred the social approval that would come with a more egalitarian view. But the Bible changed my mind. I surrendered to the conviction that that God’s word is a better guide for understanding His will than my preferences or my culture’s values. I finally went to my dad and admitted that he had been right all along. I saw that proverbial light-bulb that many sons have seen before me as I realized that my dad was a lot smarter than I had once thought.

Will the Family Stay Afloat?
(“National Marriage Week: Feb. 7-14)

The single most important thing about any culture is how it treats children. How is America doing on that score?

  1. Americans prefer leaders who passionately insist that the desire to exterminate babies in the womb remains elevated as a legal human “right.”
  2. Americans prefer leaders who do everything in their power to redefine marriage and family so that fewer and fewer children will grow up with their mom and dad together in the home.
  3. Americans prefer leaders who categorize children with sexuality labels (abbreviated as LGBTQ) that they are too young and innocent to bear under the guise of “anti-bullying” programs that indoctrinate and recruit children into a homosexual agenda. American children get all sorts of confusing messages regarding sex and sexuality from school, media, internet, entertainers, video games, magazines, peers and even authority figures. Their innocence is under attack from all sides.

A recent study by University of Texas associate professor Mark Regnerus found that children raised by parents involved in same-sex relationships suffered poorer life outcomes than those from intact biological families. (see: Friday 5). Regerus said such children “were more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, and report… more sexual victimization.” Regnerus was hammered by the media but his study stands as solid scholarship.

A new study out of Canada has come to the same general conclusions. (Go to: Married Mom and Dad Really Matter] It found that children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to graduate from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples, even though same-sex parents were characterized by higher levels of education themselves.

Today, over half of all babies born to women 30 and under in America are born out of wedlock. This may be socially acceptable (even celebrated) but it is still a form of abuse when done intentionally from the outset and justified in hindsight. Of course, tragedies and well-intentioned missteps can lead to broken homes that place children in difficult circumstances. Eggs cannot be unscrambled and parents dealing with broken homes can still fully love their children going forward. And we can support them. But willful intention and selfish public policies that break homes up or deprive children of intact homes are corrupting our culture.

Are we in a losing cultural battle? Maybe, but so what? Jesus’ mission was a “losing battle” on all earthly terms. He ended up being exterminated by selfish civic leaders. Nevertheless (I love that word), God pulled His rank and Jesus rose up from the dead. His mission of forgiveness was accomplished in spite of the fact that it was a “losing battle.”

Win or lose, it is high time for decent people to honor marriage and reconstruct a culture of honor for marriage. Let’s begin preparing for “National Marriage Week,” February 7 – 14. Here are two resources to get you going:

  1. The National Marriage Week
  2. Breakpoint Commentary

Does it take a scholarly study to convince you that motherhood and fatherhood are better than “whateverhood?” Moms and a dads matter and so does their togetherness!

Guys and Gals

People with experience all say that strong marriages take work. Let’s take their word on that and move on to some practical therefores.

Let’s begin with the guys…

    “Nothing runs without maintenance. This includes your marriage.” ~ Jerry Jones, October 9,
    2013, at the Lewiston Church of Christ in Idaho.

Husbands, even if you married the lowest maintenance woman you could find, don’t treat her that way. Another word for maintenance is care. Make care an action verb. Better yet, make it fun. Here are a few pointers I heard at our “Relationships Matter” conference (led by Jerry and Lynn Jones) last week at the Lewiston Church of Christ:

  • Plan regular dates with your wife or say “yes” when she plans one.
  • Offer ten constructive compliments for any one negative.
  • Spend at least thirty minutes of face time with her daily.
  • Face your troubles with more smiles.
  • Live like a victor and not a victim.

Guys can be clueless about women. The best “clue” I’ve heard in years came from Lynn Jones, co-teacher with Jerry at our “Relationships Matter” conference. She said, “Sexuality to a woman is how you treat her 24/7.” Hmm. So, if turning on the vacuum can turn on your wife, well, maybe a good life with her is easier to have than you thought.

Now for the gals…
First, choose a man who respects you and then root your relationship with him in respect (even if he has flaws). Be careful about saying to yourself: “If you are not going to meet my needs, then I’m not going to meet yours.” One of the greatest gifts you can give to your husband is YOUR happiness. Remember, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So be happy! He needs that in you. You win too because you get to be happy! Well timed smiles can charm your husband out of his mind. “You have the cutest frown I’ve ever seen” said no husband ever, unless it was said in jest. Speaking of good timing, work in some flirts too. Once in a while, initiate affection. Most importantly, forgive him… again. Hopefully, he will respect that.

For both partners…

Personal accountability is 24/7. Freedom from addiction is also a 24/7 discipline. As Lynn Jones said, “Dysfunction thrives in secrets.” So, sacrifice your secrets on the altar of love.

If you are in despair regarding your marriage, turn first to God. This will not give you control over your spouse but as Jerry said, “If God can raise up the stinking body of Lazarus, He can raise up your stinking marriage!” His wife Lynn added, “If you don’t fight for your marriage, Satan will.”

Finally, let’s hear from a pastor who never experienced the work or the joy of marriage (he was engaged to be married when the Nazi’s executed him):

Our Puritan Parents

Many great things about America came through the Puritans. Below are a few of the torches they carried to their posterity. I share them not to idealize them (they were human) but to quicken our grip on a priceless legacy.


Dr. Harry S. Stout, the Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Christianity at Yale University, said; “To understand the Puritans, you have to adopt their attitude that life is a great adventure.” They saw crossing the Atlantic (like the Red Sea) to settle in a new land as an adventurous pilgrimage for God.


Catholic or Anglican pressure to conform led many English Puritans to think in nonconformist ways. How American! A longing for religious liberty beckoned may to the “promised land” in America. They paid a high price for their spiritual independence.


The early Puritans suffered profound hardship in the new world. They lived in a “howling wilderness” in constant fear of raids, droughts, epidemics, floods and fires. One in two children perished before age five. The average life span was 40 years. The Puritan ideal was to live to give glory to God until God glorified them.


In 1630, John Winthrop’s challenge to the colonials to be a “city on a hill” was a call for hard work, which they welcomed as God‘s calling. Dirty hands and a clean heart made an ideal Puritan.


The Puritans were a people of the Book. Their love for the Bible sparked a unique passion for literacy. Harvard and Yale sprang into action in New England to maintain “a learned ministry” and a “literate laity.”


The Puritans nurtured a rich body of hymnody, poetry and devotional literature. There was some resistance but Puritanism helped create a climate for a wonderful crop of musical and literary creativity. The magnificent Puritan scholar/composer Isaac Watts (1674-1748) did more to enrich Christian worship than perhaps any English speaker since.


“Waste not, want not” was a classic Puritan motto. Their spirituality was highly practical.


Our earliest resistance to slavery rose from New England where Puritan and Quaker roots ran deep. The first anti-slavery pamphlet published in America came from the pen of a Puritan: Samuel Sewell (1652-1730) (see his profile here) . Harvard and Yale (Puritan institutions) became hotbeds of abolitionism. Puritan pulpits sounded off against slavery for generations.


The Puritans looked to Moses as a both a leader to national freedom and a deliverer of God’s laws–two legacies they saw as complimentary. Their conviction that liberty and law are joined at the hip enabled our forefathers to give us liberty without anarchy. The legendary lawmaker Benjamin Franklin tapped into his distant Puritan roots when he wrote, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”


The Puritans viewed conversion to Christianity as a personal encounter with God. They viewed saving faith as a covenantal relationship with God rather than a blessing imposed by the church. Each man and woman was responsible before God for their spiritual health and standing. That is a Puritan legacy.


The myth of the joyless Puritan began during Prohibition with a crank named H. L. Mencken who called Puritanism “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” This cheap stereotype took hold due to our ignorance regarding their real legacy.

The Puritans endured daily hardship beyond our imagination today. But they knew that there are no blessings without struggles, no rights without responsibilities, no trip to paradise without a dry spell in the wilderness, no glory without sacrifice, no succor without service, no position without preparation, and no forgiveness without repentance. For Jesus, they knew there was no throne without a cross. The Puritans were not perfect but I don’t mind carrying a torch for them. I can’t think of a better way to brighten our future than to recover respect for the best parts of our Puritan heritage.