Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Comments and E-mails

We are a bit new to this "blog thing," but we have come to realize that if you send us a comment about a blog entry, we are unable to respond directly to you.

If, however, you send us an e-mail through "Ask Dennis," we can respond to your question, and we can also update the blog if it's something that might be of interest to others as well.

To summarize, if you wish to communicate a question to us, please use "Ask Dennis," but if you wish to just make a comment about a blog, continue to use the "comment" entry at the end of the blog.

I really appreciate your sending me questions and comments. It helps me to know what the concerns are that you, the voters, have. Ultimately, you are the people to whom we (the elected officials) are accountable.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Deadbeat Dads

The other day I got an e-mail question about "deadbeat" Dads. Curiously the question began with a reference to "Government Regulation" and my belief that everyone is accountable for their actions. Fundamentally personal accountability is not a "government issue," it is a "moral" issue.

It is incredible the amount of pain and misery caused by men who will not be MEN. One of the most powerful books I have read is Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. Eldredge puts forth the premise that a true man does not run away and abandon his wife and children nor is the true man a door mat. Eldredge writes that "in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue."

In his chapter on "A Beauty to Rescue" is this paragraph:

"If the man refuses to offer himself, then his wife will remain empty and barren. A violent man destroys with his words; a silent man starves his wife. 'She's wilting,' a friend confessed to me about his new bride. 'If she's wilting then you're withholding something,' I said. Actually, it was several things--his words, his touch, but mostly his delight. There are so many other ways this plays out in life. A man who leaves his wife with the children and the bills to go and find another, easier life has denied them his strength. He has sacrified them when he should have sacrified his strength for them. What makes Maximus (from the movie Gladiator) or William Wallace (Braveheart) so heroic is simply this: They are willing to die to set others free."

When the high school seniors from our youth group graduate in May, I will give a copy of Wild at Heart to each of the young men. If you are a man, you should read this book.

If you are the wife of a man, give this book to him. If you are the mother of young boys, you might try reading this yourself. Be warned--there will be much you will not comprehend or like. In the first chapter, this passage appears:

"A judge in his sixties, a real southern gentleman with a pin-striped suit and an elegant manner of speech, pulled me aside during a conference. Quietly, almost apologetically, he spoke of his love for sailing, for the open sea, and how he and a buddy eventually built their own boat. Then came a twinkle in his eye. 'We were sailing off the coast of Bermuda a few years ago, when we were hit by a northeaster (a raging storm). Really, it came up out of nowhere. Twenty-foot swells in a thirty-food hoomemade boat. I thought we were all going to die.' A pause for dramatic effect, and then he confessed, 'It was the best time of my life.'"

Most women will be confused--most men will understand immediately.

The ultimate point is that men have an inherent NEED to be AUTHENTIC men. When they fail to be that for their children, they should be held accountable by the state, their community and the culture as a whole.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Definition of Marriage

Recently I received an e-mail question about my position on the definition of marriage. It is sad that the question even needs to be asked. My Webster's unabridged dictionary defines it as "the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife." That pretty much sums it up in my mind: one man--one woman, united.

I wonder if this attempt to redefine marriage is due in part to the devaluing of marriage that we have witnessed in our culture. Truthfully we must work at marriage. We all tend to be selfish and self-centered. Success in marriage requires us to not be so self-absorbed. Carol and I have made a commitment to work on our marriage. Beginning in 1994 we started attending Fall Festival of Marriage conferences (now called Festival of Marriage) put on by the Southern Baptist Convention. These are held in numerous locations around the country. Check out the website:

This year over the weekend of April 11-13 we will be involved in supporting a Marriage Enrichment weekend put on by Grace Community Church in Roswell.

We also have read some great books on marriage relationships including His Needs Her Needs, The Five Love Languages, and Love and Respect. I recommend all three of these books, and suggest reading them together with your spouse.

As a society we need to value marriage. We need to hold it in high regard. Healthy marriages produce healthy families which produce healthy children who turn into well-balanced successful adults.

Having written this, you probably assume I am a skilled husband. That, however, is not the case. Recently I had fallen into a pattern of selfishness. It brought home the fact that just because one has "head knowledge" does not mean one understands the concept or engages in that behavior. We all need "refreshers" training--me included!