Tuesday, June 23, 2009



This is Bruce Harkins, husband to Terri, father to three adult children, whom you have met 5 or 6 times on Saturday night at Knob Hill. Without a doubt, I have enjoyed our short exchanges. We would need to have some serious time together to have a comfortable knowledge of who each is at our core, but until that happens, I have some ideas to run past you.

I think Terri and I have some special skills and natural proclivities to brace the younger in age as to what to pay attention to - and what dividends - what will come if they are diligent in the day to day engagements as a married couple. Some of what we can offer are life experiences, many are spiritual maturity, to a degree it is the intuitive understanding of marriage and family that would make us a resource for the generation behind us - which attend Knob Hill. Now you might think, just get involved and all that stuff will come. Well that is a good boiler plate response but I don't think there is time for me to go this circuitous, and for many, a random route. My story is that I have done this a number of times in the route that God has put me on as to what is to be discarded and to what is to be embraced. I would, if it were possible, like to hurry up this process. In the end, the will of God will be fulfilled in how you digest this idea. Really, you are a man whom God has placed his imprimatur. You count - and have an accountability to God Himself. Therefore I proceed at this conceptual point and tact.

There is such a dire need for mentoring of older couples to be a help to younger ones, not from a clinical viewpoint but from two entwined souls who have worked through many issues already. 35 years for the record. To be candid in this idea; it is to be able to share the 50,000 ft. aerial view of what the future will look like for a couple under 5 or ten years of marriage. For, what I am thinking is, that monthly casual connection. For each to share where they are. We have worked very hard over the years in our Christian life. Some of the results are prudence, apologetic skills, listening abilities, savvy at what legalism is, what the will of God is, time management, how busyness can harm intimacy, and so many other aspects.

What would be covered, potentially? We can talk of politics, history, Greek philosophy, environmental geo-science, real estate, reformation theology, American exceptionalism, Natural Theology, Pauline epistemology, women in ministry, music, hymns, syllogisms, constitutional law, rational ethics, the autographs, movies, contemporary art, Hamlet or Macbeth, Kant and Aquinas, the law of non-contradiction, irreducible complexity, child rearing, happiness, original sin, Moby Dick the best American novel, hermeneutics, Biola, Fuller, Westminster, Wheaton, Ligonier, sex, child rearing, North Korea, the Presidents, and so forth.

Now, how would I desire a response from you? Well, either: 1) that won't work around here, 2) we already have enough smart couples who want to spend time with other couples, 3) that would be lovely and I want to talk this over with you in detail, 4) their are rigid requirements that you must fulfill, first, to be able to do this sort of thing at Mosaic. In so many words, you must take your own sweet time, Please go slowly. Don't you see the yellow cones to your left and right or finally, 5) you two are too dawgone smart and wise and this would bring too much beauty of Spirit to the body of Christ.

Where could this be transacted and made perfectl? Hmmm, well, we have a backyard that has chairs and a rustic fireplace: hummingbirds, fescue and sagebrush; a mall, a coffee house, the pier, our business on PCH, the cove, the Whale Center, you get my drift, where one is comfortable.

I could of spent 3x the space developing this idea but wanted to make it as brief as possible, so I hope you get the breadth and depth of this,

Thanks for you consideration, and the logic that must proceed it, ...see you Saturday..., and I know you must be thinking this by now: who would send me this kind of letter... well, I would,

Bruce Harkins

Women's issues


Thanks for calling yesterday. I like it when you do things like that.

I've been thinking about that subject that must always come up when one has a score in which your opponent gets two sets before you. Here are a couple of my thoughts that I would like to contrast between your mother and me. You can correct me if she doesn't use this term.

So here goes:
1. Where your mom says that, you have to love yourself more - and immediately at that. While I say, that self-respect (maybe synonymous with love) is built up over periods of time. Sometimes a lifetime. I'll give you an ancient but relevant example. I think it a problem that more women of today can't get their hands around the antiquity of Sarah and not find the modern relevance of this women from Ur. (Bad analysis, thinking and a lack of savvy, I suspect.)

Here is a short snippet:

  • 528. … Before ever he [Abraham] obeyed God, and left his own kindred with Sarah, he put her under bonds to represent herself as merely his sister, to save his own life from all risk (Genesis 12:13)…
    529. Sarah, at this period, lacked self-respect; and Abraham had insufficient respect for her.…
    530. Sarah ought not to have agreed to such an arrangement with Abraham, and she would not have done it later in life,¾if we read her character aright, in its unfolding. But not knowing any better, God protected her,
    537. The legal requirements of King Hammurabi which Sarah obeyed… Par. 144 says: “He shall not take a concubine” if his wife “has given a maid to her husband;” and Par. 146 says, if “she has given a maid to her husband and she has borne him children [and] that maid has made [should make] herself equal with her mistress,” the mistress may reduce her to servitude again, but may not sell her. This is surely wonderful confirmation that Sarah’s treatment of this whole matter, up to the time of Isaac’s weaning, was precisely in accord with the legal provisions and customs by which the country was governed. But when Isaac was weaned, she took another course, and God, by express revelation to Abraham, confirmed her new departure as in the line of His will.
    538. It is worthwhile for us to pause long enough to call attention to these very unjust and humiliating laws, as relates to women, engraven on that stone which records the Code of Hammurabi, …
    539. Sarah did go through the form of asking Abraham to bear a son by Hagar, but the act should be judged by the fact that a man had legal right to divorce a childless wife, and she was now past seventy-five years of age. That Sarah had had reason to fear divorcement seems certain, because when Hagar became arrogant in her treatment of Sarah, the latter accuses Abraham of being himself to blame for Hagar’s conduct, in the words: “My wrong be upon thee.” The Septuagint gives the idea conveyed by the words as, “I am wronged by thee.” Sarah is opening her eyes in new self-respect; she tells Abraham he had no right to have ever brought Hagar the price of her humiliation into the family; and then to have so conducted himself as to have created in her the fear of being divorced, through no fault of her own, but merely because she had not fulfilled for him the promises of God, that he should have a son. This is what we understand by her expression, and she adds: “The Lord judge between me and thee,”
    declaring her confidence that her position was just in God’s sight.
    540. And Abraham yielded, which he would not have done so readily had he not felt she was right.
    545. God cannot always elect, that is, select persons who are ideal, for they cannot be found. He takes faulty ones, but those capable of development. Such was the condition in which he found Abraham and Sarah. It is simply ludicrous to read some of the attempts that have been made by blundering expositors to explain away all the wrong things Abraham did: “Abraham’s venture was not from laxity as to the sanctity of marriage, or as to his duty to protect his wife: it was from a presumptuous confidence in the wonderful assistance of God,”thus speaks Lange’s Commentary. Such men, in their strained efforts to make Abraham appear ideal from the day God called him, leave no place for that most valuable and much-needed lesson, as to the wonderful transformation of character which the grace of God can bring about in the faultiest person who will submit to God’s authority, as Abraham began to do when he left his home in Chaldea.
    546. The character of Abraham changed greatly under the moulding influence of divine grace, but we will not occupy the space to describe this transformation, for the reason that, as women, we are more interested in the character of Sarah, who, we hold, has been greatly belittled by the same commentators who will not admit that Abraham ever had many faults. Her character underwent a transformation quite as wonderful as Abraham’s. Think what she was, as the servile female who went, apparently without protest, into the harems of Pharaoh and Abimelech, not knowing that she could ever come out undefiled; accepting polygamy weakly, if not happily. Like almost any Oriental woman of today, her husband’s wish seemed as law, even when it bade her do that which was immoral, and which she may have utterly detested to do. She makes no complaint, but obeys.
    547. Now study her character a little later, when she wakes up to resent the way she had been treated by Abraham in the matter of Hagar. She accuses Abraham as in the wrong, and appeals to God to judge between them. There were reasons why she might have been very cowardly at this moment, for Hagar was in the ascendancy just then, and was making the most of her position. Sarah might have reasoned: “I must not offend Abraham now, while Hagar seems so much more in his favor because of the boy.” Doubtless Hagar counted on such a compromise. But Sarah was courageous, and met the situation boldly, calling upon Abraham to defend her in refusing Hagar the right to be a concubine, or a second wife, in the family, for Sarah had yielded to the provisions of Hammurabi’s Code on purpose to prevent this.

That is enough to see that you don't necessarily get born with it. It comes as a result of activity, which you are pursuing, that will make it clear that you must go from point A (what you possess now) to point B ( more confidence than you had at point A). That is called development.

When you get to that part of the match where these activities of the mind make your muscles twitch with nervous energy, you will - little by little - learn what to do, or cease to do, better than the last. But never with perfect success.
I know this a bit archaic but Sarah is miscontrued most of time and I would like you to understand her not for what men say she is, but for who she really is.
I cannot know if this will help or not, but it helps me to know that just being told to think a certain way is not all there is to it. (Next time I will state why there is no 'law of attraction' and you don't get something by thinking a certain way.)

I'll leave it there for now,


Code of Hammurabi

Now you are probably going to ask yourself why would I be sending you a tid-bit on one of the 'codes of Hammurabi.' Well you would be right to ask such a thing, for who do you know who would go off on a tangent like this?

The very short answer is that I was doing research on what men have done to effectively and systematically subjugate women. Stuff like that. The Hammurabic Code was in force at the time of Sarah and her husband. She and he lived according to these codex when they were married and left Chaldea. Anyways...

Around a hundred years ago the 'Code' was found in Khuzestan, Iran. A border province close to it's neighbors, Basra, Iraq. Stolen or taken by an Elamite King from this area, then known as Elam.

There are 282 such laws in the Code of Hammurabi, each no more than a sentence or two. The 282 laws are bracketed by a Prologue in which Hammurabi introduces himself, and an Epilogue in which he affirms his authority and sets forth his hopes and prayers for his code of laws

Examples: you may know this, since your a builder for the princes and rulers of this time, but if not I give you example 4 as an early rule of thumb for the 'types of contractors' that you might use for helping you build a project. (also #7 was given 3,800 years ago and applies to even our conversation with Virgie last weekend; and what Alice had to suffer with.)

1. If any one ensnares another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.
2. If any one brings an accusation against a man, and the accused goes to the river and leaps into the river, if he sinks in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river proves that the accused is not guilty, and he escapes unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.
3. If any one brings an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if a capital offense is charged, be put to death.
4. If a Builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
5. If a man give his child to a nurse and the child dies in her hands, but the nurse unbeknown to the father and mother nurses another child, then they shall convict her of having nursed another child without the knowledge of the father and mother and her breasts shall be cut off.
6. If any one steals the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.
7. If a man takes a woman to wife, but has no intercourse with her, this woman is no wife to him.


Sunday, June 14, 2009