60 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 6-14-17

  1. During a recent small group gathering a young lady asked, “Why can’t God be a woman?” The group leader gave an answer, and I gave another answer from a different angle. Then yesterday in a book I came across a few sentences that addresses that, too, in another way. If a young lady asked you that, what would you tell her?

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  2. Good Morning Everyone
    I have been awake since 4 and am now in Pensacola.
    This is the first weekday in a long time I have been bright eyed and bushy tailed and not dreadin what the day will hold.
    It feels like I can take a deep breath

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  3. Also my friend L loved her read beans and rice. She and her husband sent lots of thanks. Next up she gets chicken and dumplings.
    Please remember to pray for her.

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  4. It was standard six months checkup and cleaning. But Elvera has to go back for work.

    I would say that God is usually referred to as “Father”. Jesus referred to God as Father.
    However, attaching gender to God is for communication purposes only. I see God as neither male nor female in the way we understand it.
    God created all things. We usually consider males as those who make things.
    “God is a Spirit”
    The redeemed will be like angels in heaven, neither male nor female. Thought when we picture angels in our minds, we picture mighty men.
    Leastwise, that’s the way I do.

    You may picture a beautiful woman making cookies. That would work too.
    But, “The angel of the Lord encamped around them that fear him” wouldn’t apply as much.

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  5. Chas, when the angels appear to human eyes, it is always (in Scripture, anyway) as mighty men saying “Fear not.” Those who knew they were seeing angels saw mighty men, never women. I think female angels are a sad perversion. (We had one on our Christmas tree for several years, but two Christmases ago I finally figured we had been married long enough that I could say, “Time for a new topper” without the girls feeling too sad about replacing the one they had known all their lives.)

    Now, I have also heard several stories from outside Scripture of men appearing in order to help, men who were later thought to be angels, and they appear as common men dressed in the garb of the day. One such story was from my missionary parents, and it didn’t happen to them but to someone they knew. A missionary (or possibly a native Christian, I don’t remember, but this seems unlikely) found himself very lost and in far the wrong part of Nigeria as it was growing dark. If he was there after dark, in the clothing of an enemy tribe, he was likely to be killed. Suddenly a man walked around the corner of a building or a fence, wearing the right garb and speaking the correct language/dialect, and directed him as to how he should get home. I don’t remember if the story included some sense of supernatural timing in how long it then took him to get safely home, just that where he wouldn’t have expected someone from his village, someone attired as though from the village (but a man he had never seen before) showed up where he would not be expected to be (since natives just didn’t walk in such areas intentionally).

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  6. Janice, I think the initial answer to a question like that is God isn’t a man either. Recall in Genesis 1:27, God made both male and female humans in his image. He is far greater than we are, and so, what we understand of the male and female sex in humans is only a pale shadow of what He is. It is true that Christ was born a man, but he was the second Adam (Romans . He also was born of a woman (Genesis 3:15) so that both human sexes were vital in the coming of the Messiah, so that, as Paul says I Corinthians 11:11-12:
    Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
    God has chosen the terms Father and Son to reveal two persons of the Trinity, but we would be mistaken to assume that God the Father and God the Son are like a human father and son; so also we would be mistaken to assume that because God uses masculine pronouns to describe himself, then he is like a human male. God does not shy away from claiming qualities associated with women for himself. The Hebrew word for ‘help’ in Genesis 2:18, 20, ezer, is a word that God also uses to describes himself – in Exodus 18:4, Moses calls his son Eliezer, for “God was my help” and David repeatedly calls God his help in Psalms (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5828&t=KJV)

    “I will life up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”(121:1-2)

    Proverbs chapter 8, where Wisdom is personified as a woman (Wisdom in the Hebrew, as in the Greek, is a feminine noun), proceeds to identify Wisdom with God the Son, when it says “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning…” My KJV Bible cross references that section of Proverbs 8 with John 1, “In the beginning was the Word…” God made both male and female humans in his image, so both men and women reflect something of who God is.

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  7. God occasionally presents Himself in Scripture with female imagery (a nursing mother, a hen with chicks), but these are far and away the exception. He is neither male nor female, but He chooses to present Himself as strong protector and authority figure. He also chose to have the human race start with the male and to have the man be the head of the family and for men to be the pastor and elders of the church. The husband represents Christ to his bride.

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  8. FTR, my response was not in reply to Roscuro’s; hers wasn’t up there when I began to write, and mine does not contradict hers, nor is it intended to.

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  9. I don’t think angels/spirits are masculine in the way we think of male physical beings. What I mean is that they are sexless, as they do not marry or reproduce. The nonsensical idea that the sons of God in Genesis 6:1 refers to angels is refuted by what Christ said about angels when defending the idea of resurrection to the Sadducees (Matthew 22:30). The words malak and angelos, which both mean ‘messenger’, in the Hebrew and Greek respectively are masculine nouns, so they would be given masculine pronoun, but gendered words, as mentioned in my above post, do not necessarily convey the sex of what they are referring to since genders are often assigned in languages to inanimate objects and other sexless things.

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  10. Cheryl, I wouldn’t say that the husband represents Christ to his bride. If that were the case, then the husband be a kind of mediator between God and his wife, which is an awful thought. Rather, it is the other way around. Christ represents to the husband what kind of love he should have for his wife. Christ is the reality, the husband is the pale imitation.

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  11. Those bright happy flowers made me smile through soggy tired eyes this morning. Thanks. Busy, busy day, fifth in a row, or maybe more. I hardly have time to think, much less do my work well . . . and VBS is next week so it will only become more complicated. With my daughter coming for Father’s day this weekend, as well, downtime is a thing to be remembered fondly.

    Today a student from Berkeley is coming to try out our summer job. We’re paying her to scan all my Bible study notes, all the family photos not in an album and, most importantly, all dozen boxes of my father-in-law’s Shakespeare/Marlowe biography notes so we can finally get rid of all that stuff.

    She will be indexing as well as scanning, 4-5 hours, several times a week. I, naturally, have to be around to answer questions, particularly with the indexing, and to clarify any sorting needs. At least I’ll have tomorrow to catch up on all the items on my lengthy to-do list.

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  12. But female angel Christmas tree toppers are so much prettier than nearly anything else (though simple stars work) … 🙂 An angel topper was always our favorite when I was growing up. I also remember my mom buying some beautiful and graceful glass angel figures — hand-blown, tall — with trumpets in Mexico one year that became popular gifts for our friends.

    I’m up but not fully awake at 6:30 a.m. (been up since 6). Really could go right back to sleep if I half tried, but I won’t let myself.

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  13. More old financial papers (mine and my moms) unboxed last night to prepare for shredding, envelopes & assorted other materials with no personal info on them already dumped into the recycle bin.

    And there’s two more old, large Rubbermaid lidded totes cleared out that used to take up space in the upper cabinets above the spare bedroom closet. I have space!

    Annie’s hungry, she’s head-butting me and my computer and won’t leave me alone. But I hold off feeding her as I don’t want her wandering outdoors this early in the morning. As long as she’s hungry, she stays close.

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  14. Most of the angels I’ve seen to top trees look androgynous, like those old Sunday School pictures of angels as people in long white robes (which hide any form) and longish wavy golden hair. The description of the cherubim in Ezekiel, with their four faces of a man, a bull, an eagle and a lion, would indicate that the created spiritual beings of God do not correspond with our human ideas of what a sentient being should look like – although it occurs to me that the sphinx of Egypt or the winged bulls of Assyria do seem to get more at the idea. Gabriel seems to have appeared as a man more in order to communicate to people rather than that being the standard form of an angel.

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  15. Re: God- male or female?

    I don’t know Hebrew, but someone said that the word for “spirit” in the OT is a feminine word. I do know Spanish, and it is masculine in that language. As Roscuro said, many languages assign gender to inanimate objects, so one cannot say definitively what human gender God the Spirit is, since (it) has both genders in various languages.

    Speaking of which, my students always find it confusing when the name Ángel refers to a man, whereas in English, it’s a girls name.

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  16. Peter, since Angel comes from the Greek – it is a near direct transliteration – and is masculine, it makes a good boy’s name. However, women in ancient Rome were named after their fathers (eg. Julia for Julius, Claudia for Claudius, etc.), so gender in names hasn’t ever been really significant. English has lost nearly all gendered indications (in Old English, which is no longer intelligible to us, the gendering system resembled the current German system), so names are very fluid – think of Joni Eareckson Tada, who was named after her father, Johnny. The words for the Spirit of God in Hebrew, ruwach, is feminine, but in the Greek, pneuma, it is neuter, but the Spirit is generally referred to using masculine pronouns. In other words, there is a limit to what gender conveys in language. As an amusing example of this, the French fairy tale, which we know as ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is in French La Belle et la Bete. Now, as anyone who has studied French knows, ‘la’ is the feminine definite article, so that the word bete (beast) is in the feminine. Reading the story in French as a primarily English speaker is weird experience, since the feminine word Beast is used alongside the masculine pronoun for the Beast.
    Something similar happens when reading a French translation of John 1, because the word for Word in French is in the feminine:

    Au commencement était la Parole, et la Parole était avec Dieu, et la Parole était Dieu. Elle était au commencement avec Dieu.

    The word ‘elle’ in the second sentence is literally translated into English as ‘she’ because it refers to ‘la Parole’ (the Word). But French Christians do not have any confusion about whether Christ was born a man or not. When one grows up speaking a language where everything is masculine or feminine gender, one does not confuse gender in language with actual sex. This whole contemporary thing about gender neutral pronouns in English is impossible in French or Spanish, which only have two genders, masculine and feminine. On the other hand, in a language like Wolof, pronouns have no gender at all, so it would be a moot point.

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  17. Thanks for the discussion on the question. As I recall, the group leader was answering in a way that referenced Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as the body, and I went on to say that God is orderly in all he does like how He created man and woman (but the fall sort of blurred that for some). I then said He is sovereign and gets to decide how He is referred to. (I probably said it a little differently, but that was my gist.) I did not think we answered as thoroughly as needed. In reading some in the new book by Alveda King, she references Bible passages that essentially say what you all are saying here. She quotes Numbers 23:19 and John 4:24. I want to add on to what was said at our last gathering with more info.

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  18. Janice, it is an important discussion. I’ve encountered on the one hand, people who think that God could be called Mother – that makes me uncomfortable because while God describes himself at time in terms of motherhood, Jesus called the first person of the Trinity Father, and it is through Christ that we pray to God the Father. On the other hand – and this I find even more disturbing – I have encountered people who claim that only men were created in the image of God, but women were created in the image of men, and that the man is basically the representative of God to his wife. Not only does that stretch the analogies between Christ and the Church and a husband and wife to the breaking point, it raised serious salvific concerns. If the husband is the wife’s High Priest, then what happens in the Resurrection, when all are gathered before the throne and the marriage ties are dissolved? Only Christ can be the High Priest of the wife to make intercession for her, as he is of the husband. Those who espouse such an idolatrous idea of marriage claim that the wife should always obey her husband, even if he makes demands that she commit sin; that she should give in to such demands because she is not responsible for her husband’s decisions – they use the story of Sarah lying at Abraham’s request to support their argument, and conveniently discount the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Such a view crops up in the conservative Christian circles in which I’ve moved most of my life with alarming frequency.

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  19. I liked him and he’d tried several times to talk me into this new style — he was very persuasive and bored with just giving me regular trims, I suppose — when I finally gave in and let him snip away. Hmmm. Lesson learned.

    I’m going to call our local Civil War museum today, if I have time, to see about getting some kind of assessment on the rifle I have. I’m not really interested in selling it, but may, at some point, arrange to bequeath it to them for exhibit after I’m gone. But there seem to be numerous ‘kinds’ of Civil War rifles and I’d like to know exactly what make and model mine is. I’ll have to check further for any kind of stamps that may be on it, I haven’t examined it that closely for identifying markers. It weighs a ton and there is a long iron piece connected to the bottom that could be a bayonet? But it doesn’t move, though that could just be from age.

    Meanwhile, I’ve looked on a few Civil War rifle sites so now I suppose I’ll be getting pop up ads for the NRA and such.

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  20. Or a cleaning rod, it could be …

    Roscuro, the husband as “high priest” — I’ve known families who were swept into that notion as well.

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  21. Donna, it sseem I recall that the museum at Kennesaw Mountain, GA has an extensive collection of Civil War weapons. Maybe you could send a photo, and they might match it to what they have. I hope I am not confusing it with the museum on top of Lookout Mountain. They are both under the authority of the Federal government.

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  22. Wesly and I went to the Kennesaw museum several times since my mom was in a rehab and assisted living place for awhile at the base of Kennesaw Mountain. He enjoyed history, and that is how he ended up going to Covenant. We traveled up to Lookout to see Civil War sites for his birthday near the time to select a college. I talked him and Art into touring the college. We visited others after that, but Covenant was the first and best, IMO.

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  23. Our local Civil War museum also has a good number of weapons, I believe they’re not all that rare. I spoke with the former director (have known her through stories we’ve done) and she said at that time they had someone who stopped by weekly or monthly, can’t remember which, who would be able to tell me what kind of rifle I have. She retired about a year ago, maybe I can msg her on FB though — and I’m not sure who the new person is over there. But she suggested I just bring it in when he was going to be there.

    I did find an American eagle stamp on the metal — but it needs polishing up, then I might find some other ID hints. It was used by a Union soldier who was in our family, we have some of his letters.

    He really hated being in the army and disliked his regimen leader rather intensely. 🙂

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  24. But I know nothing about guns — musket, rifle, carbine? They all kind of look the same to me in the photos I’m seeing online. Something new to learn about, antique rifles.

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  25. So this morning I walked in cold to teach something I hadn’t taught in about 4 years. I was told I would be teaching section 2 which I could have stumbled through without anyone being the wiser, but it was section 4 and I didn’t have everything I needed so I had to admit to the class I was unprepared.
    We still managed to get a 3 hour class in. I made them laugh and I made them comfortable. I promised them that Friday I would be better prepared.
    I had fun.

    I had a missed call from Guy at 11:30 and then had to open my email and deal with his business. My entire demeanor changed and a knot formed in my stomach. I am to be paid tomorrow and then he and I will have our discussion. I can’t wait to quit grinding my teeth.

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  26. Roscuro, I asked my husband if he thought it correct to say that the husband represents Christ to his wife, and he immediately said no. But I didn’t mean it in the sense of the husband being the mediator; I meant it in the sense that a father represents God to his children insofar as he shows them what fatherly love looks like, and a husband does likewise to his bride. I feel like I comprehend God’s love in a deeper way since a man has chosen me as his own.

    My sister, though, once when I was single and she was married, referred to her husband as her mediator. I don’t remember whether I said it or only thought it, but my thought was that if her husband was her mediator, then I as a single woman was better off than she, since I had a perfect Mediator and she did not! Further, my Mediator is referred to as the only Mediator between God and man. So no, I don’t mean the husband as priest–I disagree with that Voddie Bacchum concept.

    Four years ago my sister lost her husband, then 46, unexpectedly. (He seems to have died of problems related to surgery he had had a few months before because of a work injury.) She has told me the sorrow is very deep, but that she feels the love of God as never before. God can use any life experience to show us the depths of His love. I have the blessing of a husband; you have the blessing of a father. (My own died when I was a teen. I have since lost a stepfather and my father-in-law, and even the father of my husband’s first wife!) Single women who don’t have a living father, or don’t have a good relationship with their father, may in turn know the love of God in a deeper way because they look only to Him.

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  27. What Civil War museum? How could I know so little about my home town?

    Scanner-to-be’s parents won’t let her work this summer, they need her at home. Back to staring at the stack of boxes beside the computer, sigh.

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  28. Recently read an article about the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout scripture that used the pronoun “she” for the Holy Spirit.

    Did I already mention this? – There was a cartoon thingie on Facebook that showed “Jesus” talking to someone about gender. The cartoon “Jesus” said that he was born to a virgin, therefore he has a Y chromosome, but he “identifies” as male. Then the writer wrote “Boom!” (As in, “Can’t argue with that logic!”)

    I replied that since God could miraculously cause a virgin to give birth, He could also make sure His Son has the correct chromosomes. No reply to that, but someone did “like” my comment.

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  29. I received a letter from church that the final vote on merger will take place in July. 75% of each church body has to vote for it. The two leadership teams have selected the new church name to be Journey Community Church. Y’all are the first in my realm to hear. The two churches are only two miles apart. Each church is around sixty years old. It’s pretty interesting watching it all happen.

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  30. I don’t trust names like Journey Community Church. What denomination is it? What do they believe? Do they have a governing body? Who do they answer to?

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  31. Wonder what Greg Laurie will do with a church name now that their CC has joined with the Southern Baptists.

    Friends and I used to go the Harvest Crusades when they were new (in the early 1990s), they were big events in the LA/OC area back in the day. I suppose they still are but I think the last one I probably attended was in ’96 or so.

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  32. Or Assemblies of God, maybe:

    Journey Church, affiliated with the Assemblies of God USA, founded in 1935, it is a church with locations in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Burlington, Wisconsin. Its lead pastor is Kevin Taylor.[1] The location in Kenosha holds three weekend services with an attendance over 2,600. The location in Burlington holds three weekend services with an attendance of about 150.[2] The Kenosha location livestreams its services through its website.[3] Services are also uploaded to the internet.[4][5]

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  33. In the Atlanta area the PCS churches were first to drop the denomination name from their title. Our nearby PCA is Intown Community Church. Then down the street is a Methodist church that changed its name to something like Still Waters. We will remain Southern Baptist. Anyone who visits or maybe even checks out the website should be able to tell that it is under the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  34. Cheryl, I didn’t think you held the view that the husband was a mediator, which is why I suggested another wording.
    I would say that both my parents have helped me to understand what love is and I would not have learned about all the aspects if I only had my father. My father rarely expresses affection verbally or physically and is noticeably awkward when he does so (one of the many things that makes me wonder if he has undiagnosed Asperger’s); something which I understand because I have difficulty with verbal and physical expressions of affection similarly, though to a lesser degree since I am a woman and thus can pick up on social cues better – giving my father a hug or kiss is a task that both of us approach cautiously and get over with as quickly as possible. He and I, unless we are discussing something of mutual interest, like history or geography, don’t have in depth conversations. We two have shared many long car rides with both of us saying very little, and we are comfortable with that. His love is something I see most clearly looking back, in the unbroken years of faithful provision, service, and a continual sharing of his love of knowledge and curiosity about the world. My mother is the one who provided the majority of the physical and verbal expressions of love, and she is the one I can talk to about anything and everything. If I have learned about the love of God through my parents, it is my mother’s love which encourages me to think that God is approachable, while my father’s love encourages me to think God is always there.

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  35. That is so balanced, Roscuro. You certainly express yourself well in writing.

    My parents were not the huggy and kissy type, but we felt loved in the major ways. I did feel a bit neglected while my father was away in the Navy and my brother got a lot of attention because of his diabetes. I got use to being on the sidelines and not in the spotlight. But I still felt loved.

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  36. I hear grumbling from the darkening sky. It has rained again, and we may get more. My irises never bloomed so I am wondering if it’s just been too wet. I never have dug them up and divided them. Does that keep them from blooming?

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  37. Roscuro – My dad would give hugs, primarily upon arriving & leaving, & could say I love you, but was still rather awkward about those things. But he had a way of looking at me now & then, & his eyes & smile said it all. 🙂 (My eyes are tearing up now, thinking about it. Hard to believe he’s been gone for about 12 & a half years already.)

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  38. I never thought of it in terms of physical affection, but my father did give us physical contact. When we were small, he would jog us up and down on his knee, often in time to the classical music playing on the radio, and, when he came home from work in the evening, we would swarm to the door, “like bees around a honeypot” as my mother would say, shrieking, “Daddy’s home” and he would pick us up and carry us around the house on his shoulders or swing us around in a circle. It was a sad day when each of us in our turn had to be told we were too big for him to pick us up anymore. Thinking about it now, though, it was just as much a physical expression of love as giving a hug or kiss would be.

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  39. My father sometimes has trouble interacting with his older grandsons – Eldest Nephew especially is so much like my father that it is hardly surprising they clash at times. He has confided to my mother that he relates much better to his granddaughters, which is not surprising either, since he had a lot of practice with his own four daughters. However, he never misses an opportunity to carry off one of his infant grandchildren and play with them as he played with us. Right now, he goes one day a week to babysit Tiny Niece while Second Sibling does some part time office work from home. By the way, Tiny Niece will in several months have a younger sibling, which will bring the number of my small relatives [The eldest of those small relatives has attained a decade and a half, while both she and her almost teenage brother tower over me in height] to ten. It remains to be seen whether the boys will lengthen their lead in numbers, or whether the girls will equal the boys in number.

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  40. Roscuro, my own father wasn’t physically affectionate, and I remember my heart sort of sinking when she’d tell us to kiss Dad good night. See, good night kisses consisted of us going to our parents in their recliners and kissing them, and we always kissed Mom but not always Dad. If I recall correctly, she’d tell us and we’d kiss him the next several nights, and then we’d figure we could get away with not doing it for a while. His kisses were wet and we didn’t like kissing him. I don’t remember him ever initiating affection.

    A few years ago I found a photo of our family with me in the missing-front-teeth stage, and I’m cuddled up against Dad with a smile, and I was surprised by the photo.

    But when grandkids came along (the first born when I was 13, and four born by the time he died almost four years later), a playful side of Dad came out that I didn’t remember ever seeing. He would hold the baby and make funny faces and funny noises. Actually, he also liked Halloween. I remember when I was little, watching him answer the door to children, and a child would say, “Trick or treat” and Dad would say, “Show me your trick.” The child would look shocked and uncertain what to do with that response, and Dad would laugh and give out the candy.

    But overall Dad was a hard-working man and a playful or affectionate side of him wasn’t easy to find, at least not in my memory.

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  41. An older friend of mine used to say that as boys get out of the cuddly stage, their dads need to find a way to have some physical contact with them. Her husband & son did so by play-wrestling.

    Little Guy used to love to do that with Hubby, but Hubby’s arthritis makes that difficult now. He will sometimes let Little Guy play with him like that for a bit, but has to end it if it starts to get too rambunctious (which it will). But the other thing Little Guy likes to do with his Papa is to straddle his knee, or stand in front of him (when Hubby is sitting down), & lean back against him.

    That’s similar to how Little Guy “cuddles” with me. He’ll sit next to me & lean into me. He enjoys it when I put my arm around him, or rub his back.

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  42. Roscuro @ 9:37am – Your comment about French using “la Parole”, a feminine word, got me wondering what Spanish uses, since “la Palabra” is also feminine. So I checked my Reina-Valera 1961, and it uses the masculine term for “word”, “el Verbo”, which comes from the Latin word “verbus”. If I remember my Latin, that is also masculine, meaning “word”.

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