Twenty years ago on Christmas of the year 2000, my future wife read a book by Eric and Leslie Ludy called When God Writes Your Love Story. She was a freshman at college, and just got around to reading the book over the holiday, which had been given her by a High School guidance counselor as a graduation gift. Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated 19 years of marriage.
The gist of the book was simple, and in the vein of Joshua Harris’ more popular I Kissed Dating Goodbye (that story did not turn out so well). But not only did the book convince my wife to stop dating, it convinced her to receive Christ. Six months later (to the day) we went on our first
date outing. Fourteen days later we were engaged.
After proposing, which was more unceremonious than you can possibly imagine, we went to tell our pastor of the news. He was my boss (I was on staff) and with her father recently dying in a tragic accident, Pastor Clements served as a surrogate father of sorts for her. And we happily explained our plans that upon graduating college – 2 years later – we would wed. What followed was an awkward conversation.
I said, “Brother Jerry, we are getting married.”
He did not know we were involved but nodded approvingly and said, “This pleases God.”
Then I explained our plans for a lengthy engagement.
Pastor Clements responded, “No. That will not be allowed.”
He could tell my bewilderment at the seeming counter-intuitiveness and contradiction of his comments and explained in loving, pastoral terms that the dangers of carnal temptation could not allow him in good conscience to permit a long engagement.
Pastor Clements is a genius and that was Gospel-level truth. It was the best
advice command I ever received. We married several months later with his blessing. And I’ll always remember his firm hand when my future brother-in-law attempted an intervention with Pastor Clements to forbid such a quick relational transaction and I smiled internally as the aged pastor masterfully answered back each objection with Scripture and stopped the mouth of the med school student who thought conventional wisdom could contradict pastorly counsel.
But as I returned to Bible College that Fall, my professors attempted their own intervention and informed me that it was foolish to become engaged if you “date” for less than a year and it was foolish to marry with less than a year-long engagement. I, of course, hovered under the covering of my dear pastor whose authority outweighed that of seminary graduates who should have stayed in their lane.
When we got off our honeymoon, we had $8.23 to our name (I made a mental note to remember that to tell our grandchildren). I made a whopping $125 per week. We lived in student housing and ate Ramen while watching professional wrestling on Monday and Thursday evenings. We counted change to buy gas. And every single night I went to bed with my beautiful wife and woke up beside her, I thought about how abjectly stupid my professors and acquaintances were for warning me against it.
I still do hold their advice in derision. They were idiots.
And a couple years and a newborn later, I had no time for pointless entertainment in the evening. I had no money for hobbies. And I had no luxury for spare moments. I had to work to put food on the table, pay the bills, and provide for my baby.
We were “kids” (by all current standards) who had a kid. And by being a kid with a kid, I became a man. I learned to work, to scrap, to save, to fight for every dollar made and every penny saved. As a husband at barely 20 and a father at 21, I could not even shave yet (literally; I didn’t even own a razor).
But with God as my witness, those years were phenomenal. The aged, scraggly-bearded me looks back with fondness.
Nineteen years later, I have started and lost businesses. I have made and forfeited fortunes. In our first seven years of marriage we moved 14 times, started businesses in 4 states, and earned three college degrees. We’ve now been settled into our forever-home in Montana where I’ve pastored a Gospel-centered church for 13 years and had four more children. Three of those came after hearing Voddie Baucham preach on family and having to unsnip a few things that were snipped back when I worldily (I just made up a word) thought two kids were a complete set.
And now, I’m about to retire from my life as a full-time agitator and rule-breaker. Having to “make tents” to provide for seven people on a pastor’s salary led me to a career in publishing in alternative Christian and conservative news. Some of my publications have broken worldwide stories, some provide a living for my employees and others are a labor of love. And all of them preach the Gospel. My polemics flagship was the #3 Christian News site in the United States before the Technocrats throttled it (but it’s still up there). My political news flagship is the #1 online news source in Montana. And I have a think-tank, the Gideon Knox Group, that serves as clients some of the most influential humans in Christian and Conservative media. And to God, of course, be the glory.
But you see, I’m about to give all that up as my contribution outside the home to help saltize (I made up another word) the world with a Christian worldview. Heck…I don’t know what more I could do anyhow and still remain in my heaven-on-earth in this paradise known as Eastern Montana.
My daughter is now 17, and we could not manage without her. My youngest son has severe speech difficulties, and so his heroic mother decided with my support to become a speech pathologist. In her absence and distraction, that baby we had when we were still kids now manages much of my home as her mom is busy with school. She is a pistol-packing, Jesus-loving, kind-hearted but quick-witted young woman who has been properly trained to hand her dad’s business card to boys who ask for her number. And I have discovered that if you train your daughter right and teach her modesty and the ability to operate an AR-15 you don’t have to stand over her with a shotgun when the deadbeat man-children come sniffing around because she’s fierce enough on her own (although trust me, I will anyway).
Had we not had Reagan Rose when we were kids, there would be little hope to manage the kids God saw fit to give us later in life (my children are spread far apart). I reiterate; those professors were genuine idiots.
As I fade away and manage my little publishing empire from afar using the hands (Montana-speak) I’ve trained over the years to take over, my “Happy Thought” is this: If you thought JD Hall was tough, wait until you meet his kids that are going to be flung out into the world like arrows to their target. And I don’t want to brag, but this bowhunter doesn’t miss his target.
My time, after I hit the big 4-0 in a few months, will henceforth be spent between my church (made possible by the investments I have worked tirelessly to compile) and putting every spare ounce of energy into weaponizing my children to replace me five-fold. As the older ones are preparing to venture out into the world, they will have my influence, my money, my experience, and my direction to actualize their potential as soldiers in the Army of Christ and for the advancement of Western Civilization.
The world will not know what hit them.
That said, Reagan Rose just came back from Florida, where she was accepted to attend SAS, hosted by Turning Point USA. On our way back to the Big Sky State, we listened together to the presentations offered. They consisted of, for the most part, standard conservative red-meat, but of the kind and type that I spend every day already listening to and myself producing.
But there was one talk, which I am conscience bound to share. And that was the speech given by Tucker Carlson who – because alternative newsmen don’t patronize FOX News – had listened to little before. But boy, oh boy…was it phenomenal.
Carlson looked at a room of 1,800 kids (the other 3,200 had to wait outside because the fascist Democrat health board in Palm Beach sabotaged the conference at the last minute) and gave advice I’ve never heard outside of fundamentalist evangelical circles.
Carlson gave the advice (1) get married as young as possible (2) have more babies than you can afford and (3) take a job you’re not qualified to give (this last point was particularly poignant).
So much in that talk was so good (and I looked up Carlson’s religion, which is Episcopalian, by the way). But I will provide an apologetic this way:
If the advice given is that one should wait until after college to marry, it is expressing the idea that college is more important than marriage. That is not Biblical advice.
If the advice given is that careers should be started before having babies, it is expressing the idea that careers are more important than babies. That is not Biblical advice.
If the advice given is that “credentials” should be obtained before getting (or creating) a job, it’s expressing the idea that institutions make men successful and not their work ethic or competence. That is not Capitalist advice. I got degrees. Do you want them? I’ll send them to you in the mail; you can have them because they haven’t made me a single dollar or done me an ounce of good.
But I’ll let Carlson put it in his own words. Watch below (start listening at 2:45.00).