Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: The Exemplary Husband

This is as good a text on a husband’s responsibility in marriage as I have ever read. It is divided into four major parts, each part making an important contribution to the whole. He alliterates the part titles, something I’m not in favor of as it tends to produce strained points. But his aren’t too bad. Part One deals with “A Husband’s Recognitions” and covers the basics of the Gospel, spiritual life, and marriage. Part Two, “A Husband’s Responsibilities,” cover the fundamental responsibilities that a husband has in marriage, making the worship of Christ first priority, then love, leadership, physical intimacy and stewardship. “A Husband’s Resolves” are next, which Scott identifies as humility and service, sensitivity, helping your wife deal with sin, communications, and conflict resolution. The final part has to do with “A Husband’s Regrets,” anger, anxiety and fear, and lust.

Scott does a great job with each of these, lays an adequate biblical foundation, provides examples, and then provides practical tips for putting each point into practice. He covers vitally important marriage skills, like repentance/confession, and forgiveness with biblical faithfulness.

About the only place I have some disagreement is in his understanding of what it means for love to “cover” sin, and I don't see this as a major issue.

This is an terrific resource that can be used on its own, or in a group or counseling setting. With this volume you have gathered in one place a biblical toolbox for men. It’s an outstanding book.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Windshield Washer Wars

Have you ever been driving down the Interstate in tight traffic when the guy in front of you decides to wash his windshield (usually on a cloudless, sunny day)? Suddenly arcing over his car is a spray so thick you can see rainbows in it, and it all falls on your windshield, so you get to wash yours, too. Some vengeful people will actually speed up, go around Mr. Inverted Niagra, and return the favor.

I, of course, have never done that! It wouldn’t be sanctified. And besides, my windshield washer behaves more like a cheap squirt-gun on empty. Not only will it not shoot over my windshield, it hardly dribbles. I spit more preaching than that thing does when it’s going full-bore. Oh, that was too much info, wasn’t it? Sorry.

Anyway, Doris comes home on Wednesday—we are one hour from leaving for Iowa for Thanksgiving—and announces that the windshield washer has quit even its spittin’ and would I please fix it? Hope against hope, I check the reservoir. Maybe it will be empty, and I can heal the bloomin’ thing by simply filling it up. No such luck. It was full to the brim. Well, there goes Monday. . . .

Monday—that would be today—was now scheduled with an impossible task: fixing the windshield washer thingy. I am neither a mechanic nor the son of a mechanic, although I do possess a relatively unique mechanical skill: I can stretch a 30 minute, one-screwdriver job into a deep-level excavation requiring all day and every socket, wrench, hammer and crowbar that I own. Knowing of my unique skill set, I hope fervently that today will be my lucky day. If I am really lucky, I start and finish on the same day. If I am not really lucky, I am walking to work tomorrow.

What I do best is talk, so I decided this morning to start with a little counseling. I sat down with the Vue, and in a kind, non-threatening, non-judgmental way tried to convince the car to resume dispensing windshield washer fluid. Just start the fluid coming again, and nobody gets hurt.

Might as well have been speaking to a dumb post. Out come the tools. Oh, my, there’s this thingy connected to that thingy, and this bundle of things is in the way, and . . . . 

If you’ve not been under the hood of a modern automobile, it’s kind of like this: to work on anything more complex than fueling the automobile, you need hands the size of a two-year-old attached to arms the length an NBA center's, and possessing the strength of a WWF wrestler. Actually, you need about four of those hand/arm/strength assemblies, plus a normal guy to hold the flashlight.

Working on a car is really good for my prayer life, because I pray like crazy that I’ll remember to reconnect everything to the proper connection. So, I start praying and removing parts. It does not matter what you want to remove, something else is in the way. So when you try to remove the something else, then there’s a new something else in the way. You pretty much need to disassemble the entire vehicle. 

I was accumulating a good sized pile of parts, and was wishing I could pray in tongues because I didn’t know what to call the widgets I was removing from the automobile, and even if I did know, I'd be unable to pronounce their names.

Meanwhile, time is moving on. Finally, sometime in the afternoon, I unearth the windshield washer reservoir (this is after I drained it all over the floor). The battery is now out of the car, and disconnected. The coolant overflow reservoir is now mostly unassembled, and almost out of the car. Hoses A through M have been disconnected, and, Oh, Lord, help me to remember to reconnect Hose G with Pipe G, and not Tank H!

Ah. The offending widget – the windshield washer pump – or, I suppose, the automatic transmission fluid pump, although I hope not.

 I drop the offending part in my pocket, and head for the auto parts store, confident that I can buy the part and finish this job in a mere six hours.

Not so fast, Speedy Gonzales. The parts store does not have the part and cannot get it. Okay, where can I get it? The kind parts man gets on the phone and starts dialing around. Advance Auto can order it and have it here by 4PM. I’ll take it. I come back at 4PM. It’s not here yet, maybe 6PM. Fine, the day is already wasted, what’s another two hours? I come back at 6PM, and the part is there as promised.

Have a good day, the nice auto parts man says. Thanks, I says, I will if I can finish this big job. Big job, he asks, looking at my little windshield washer pump. He’s trying hard not to chuckle. Well, yeah, I says, you’ve got to move all this stuff out of the way, the battery, the overflow, the . . . . I trail off, suddenly realizing that these guys are mechanics and that my big job would take them, maybe, ten minutes. Big jobs to these people are the ones where after you’ve removed the engine, overhauled it, and resized the piston bore, you install a new transmission kind of thing. Those big jobs take ‘em maybe thirty minutes. 

Having thoroughly embarrassed myself, I beat a hasty retreat. I get home and open the box of my brand new pump and find that the instrucciones are not much help.

 It is now dark in my garage, so I put a halogen work light on top of the engine to give me enough light. I wrap the extension cord around the license plate, so that I don’t accidentally pull the lamp off of the engine.

 I am reinstalling the whatzit and connecting it to the somthing-er-other, and sustain a devastating injury to my hands. Doris manages to convince me that I won’t bleed out for another sixty years at the current rate of hemorrhage. I ask her to kiss it and make it better, but she wants no part of it. Ah, my suffering. . . .

 At long last I am able to close the hood of my automobile without sitting on it, and figure that I must have everything back in place. An optimist, I decide I better back out of the garage before I try out my newly installed inverted Niagra windshield washer. As I am backing out of the garage, I notice with some bemusement that my halogen work light is following me out of the garage. Oh, boy. Forgot about that.

Now, if someday I am following close behind you on the Interstate in my Saturn Vue, go ahead. Try your windshield washer. Make my day.