Rebuilding Culture: The Edict of Eden

“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth,” Genesis 1: 28b, ESV.

“The scriptural justification for culture building starts with Genesis. At the dawn of creation, the earth is unformed, empty, dark, and undeveloped. Then in a series of steps, God establishes the basic creational distinctives: light and dark, ‘above the expanse’ and ‘below the expanse,’ sea and land, and so on. But then God changes the strategy.

“Until the sixth day, God has done the work of creation directly. But now he creates the first human beings and orders them to carry on where he leaves off: They are to reflect his image and have dominion.” How Now Shall We Live (Colson and Pearcey, 295).

A great battle persists between the forces of nature and the forces of God. The world in nature fights to go back to the void. We are commissioned to bring order to the chaos, to produce fruit from the ground, to continue the work God began in Eden.

Our job is to sustain and progress that work.

Deep in our souls, we yearn for order. Most adults mature beyond the messy bedrooms our mothers pushed us to put in order. Our world grows through family, to our own homes, to our own jobs, to new communities.

We yearn for order and peace within these communities, within ourselves.

God put people in a garden. Man built cities where gardening is often an afterthought. God will eventually take us to a new city.

A city of cultivation?

For now, we experience inflated costs, rising crime, increasing despair.

We are captives in a world leaning into chaos.

When Israel suffered the captivity of the Babylonians, God told the people to continue following His edict from Eden:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease,” Jeremiah 29:5-6, ESV.

Christians all over the world have a sense of exile. Disorder and hostility abound.

God tells us to keep on. And more than that.

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile,” Jeremiah 29:7

 Work for order. Build a house (or fix yours up). Plant a garden–or begin planning one now. Marry. Raise children.

Teach others the skills to carry on this edict from Eden.

Seek peace and prosperity, not just for ourselves, but also for the city of chaos around us.

Cultivate.

While culture falls, let’s build.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Our new website milicomathersreads.com is accepting reviews for middle reader books–especially those written by middle school students. Message me at readgoodbooks@milicomathersreads.com or in the comments below.

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Same War, Different Uniforms

Faithful Christians of different traditions are soldiers in the same army, but our uniforms are different colors. It’s as if we somehow believe it is not a war we are fighting but a game we are playing. And the soldiers with different colored uniforms are players on a team we oppose—a team of bitter rivals—rather than our fellow soldiers who hold to the same creed and battle the same enemy.

Imagine two nations, each warring against the same evil foe. The world is in peril as the evil enemy conquers more and more countries, stealing more and more hearts. The enemy troops are captives. The soldiers who fight the enemy are duty bound volunteers whose mission is to call the enemy’s troops to freedom.

Further imagine the general of one nation trying to discuss battle strategy with a general from the other. The generals do not speak the same language, and no one is present to translate. Some individual soldiers continue to engage in battle—some effectively, some even in concert with allies in different uniforms. Their efforts are small and uncoordinated. 

Other soldiers don’t know what to do, so they do nothing but fret about the war to the soldiers of their own units.

Both nations have the same goals, but they use different strategies. Some work well; others waste time, resources, and energy fighting the same battle here, but sending no soldiers there. The needs are great, but the work is lonely and calls for reinforcement.

Because the nations’ customs and foods are different, they misunderstand each other. These misunderstandings distract both from the crucial battle against the enemy. They imagine their fellow soldiers as the enemy.  The two forces end up fighting each other. 

Many who have not joined either are confused. The enemy succeeds in drawing them outside the battle lines, outside the reality of the war they themselves need to win. The evil enemy takes even more ground, captures even more souls.

The army that fights the enemy has a long history. When its fight began, the army was a small corps of committed fighters; most gave their lives in battle. From the army’s very inception, from its beginning with only twelve generals, the enemy had infiltrated the ranks.

A betrayer was within the ranks of the army’s greatest leaders. For the first 500 years, division happened within the army.

The forces of good were the faithful who battled forces of evil, the corrupted betrayers. Infiltration continues to this day and sparks confusion among those who might otherwise become soldiers. Some people like wearing the uniform but would never actually engage in battle. They are not true soldiers.

Aside from infiltration, the enemy has two main battle strategies. The first is persecution. His intention is to kill as many soldiers as he can—the most typical war strategy. It not only eliminates opposition, but he supposes that it deters new enlistments. This strategy is often faulty. Our army grows in the face of persecution, and our cohesiveness is at its peak when our trials are plenty. The soldiers wearing different colored uniforms work together best during times of persecution.

His second strategy is more subtle and more insidious. He lavishes our established, well-entrenched forces with wealth, comfort, and divisiveness. The divisiveness is often thinly veiled self-righteousness. We make judgments about each other based on those who wear their uniforms lightly or even deceptively, or we accept someone’s misinterpretation of another’s worship language. For Satan, this second strategy has been his most effective throughout history.

The primary battlefield of this war is within people’s hearts. Here is the battlefield we have most neglected. Here is the front where we must win.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

It’s something my mother quoted to me more than once while I was growing up:

“The hand that rocks the cradle/ Is the hand that rules the world.” William Ross Wallace

Maybe not the world, but definitely the nation. And the battle is ongoing for power over who will wield that hand.

Because now the US government wants to gain more control sooner over the cradle.

Mary Szoch of the Family Research Council explains what the current administration’s proposal (which the FRC says will cost $2.5 trillion over the next seven years) will do. The American Families’ Plan, would be “the replacement of parents by a government-approved agency.”

“[The plan is] trying to fix a problem America has with fatherlessness by creating a culture that promotes motherless as well,” Szoch says.

The president’s plan would provide free preschool for 3- to 4-year-olds and lower-cost daycare through “approved” agencies. The plan makes no mention of faith-based organizations.

And while it offers tax credits for most parents putting their children in daycare, it offers no such break for mothers giving up income to care for their own children–thereby saving the government money.

The program would dictate that caregivers earn at least $15 per hour (they currently earn $12.24 on average). And “those with comparable qualifications would receive compensation commensurate with that of kindergarten teachers.”

 Being required to pay such wages in order to continue to offer subsidized care might put most churches already participating in the current program out of the daycare business.

I went back to work in the late 1980s when my two youngest children were of pre-school age. The daycare was subsidized. I paid $5.00 per week for the care of both children. That included their meals.

Even with a pro-rated increase to account for inflation and the passage of time, such care would still qualify as affordable for any employed person–even the single mother I once was.

When government officials propose plans like the current one, they must assume most people aren’t aware that there is already a service in place to address the problem.

And if that program is underfunded, as some assert, why not increase funding instead of creating a new bureaucracy?

What could be the motivation for making a new program where one already exists? And why exclude faith agencies where some workers might even choose to work on a volunteer basis?

The primary question is not so much whether mothers of young children should work. Many have to. It’s a question about how much say these mothers should have over whether the care their children receive while they work will reflect their own values and beliefs.

Ministries offer the best opportunity for parents to seek childcare that will match the message they work to instill in their children.

While our national government proposes to provide care for low- and middle-income families, many headed by single parents, legislators in one state propose to roll back legislation that has resulted in more single-parent families–liberalized divorce laws.

The state of Texas is proposing to end one-sided, no-fault divorce.

State Representative Matt Krause says, “There needs to be some type of due process. There needs to be some kind of mechanism to where that other spouse has a defense.”

In Restoring the Shattered, I wrote:

“Instead of a liberating cure-all the feminists of that day presented, divorce has wreaked havoc on our society. Throughout the decade of the 1970s, no-fault divorce laws swept across most of the country. In their aftermath, divorce rates nearly doubled. . . .

“[In 2006] NOW—which had led the vanguard in promoting lenient divorce legislation and unrestricted abortion for decades—was protesting the liberalization of New York’s divorce statute. At that time, New York was the lone holdout on no-fault divorce. The proposed divorce bill provided a unique opportunity for NOW to partner with the Catholic Church against allowing one spouse to dissolve a marriage unilaterally. Unfortunately, in 2010, New York finally became the fiftieth state to enact a no-fault divorce law.[ii]

“We don’t have to think hard to understand why the Catholic Church opposed no-fault divorce. But for liberal feminists to turn on a foundational plank of their platform is astonishing. Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, a catalyst for the women’s movement, had called marriage a “comfortable concentration camp.” She cheered the passage of the first no-fault law in California in 1970. Twenty-seven years later, Friedan—and NOW—realized that the new laws had harmed women instead of helping them.

“Often, men can use custody of the children as a weapon against women. In a perverse game of mental manipulation, the man will agree to forgo a custody battle if the woman agrees to a smaller financial settlement, leaving the woman torn between seeing her children or supporting her children.

“One study found that only 37 percent of women retained ownership of the family home under no-fault divorce, versus 82 percent under fault divorce. . . .

“Under no-fault divorce laws, women tend to come up short in battles over finances and property, and they are more likely to lose their health insurance coverage. Today, divorce places 22 percent of divorced women in poverty as opposed to 11 percent of divorced men.

“Friedan now admits that feminists ‘made a mistake with no-fault divorce.’”[iii]

We often can’t see the results of public decisions until years later. The results of turning young children over to state-controlled daycare won’t manifest themselves for years.

The results of no-fault divorce are already in.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


[i] New York Times editors, “Is New York Ready for No-Fault Divorce?,” June 15, 2010, https://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/is-new-york-ready-for-no-fault-divorce.

[ii] Ashley McGuire, “The Feminist, Pro-Father, and Pro-Child Case against No-Fault Divorce,” Public Discourse, May 7, 2013, http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/05/10031.

[iii] Nicholas Wolfinger, Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages, as cited by Stephanie Chen, “Children of Divorce Vow to Break Cycle, Create Enduring Marriages,” CNN, September 22, 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/09/22/divorced.parents.children.marriage/index.html.

A Fellow Writer’s Endorsement

A big thank you to Melinda V. Inman for sharing this piece:

@nancyehead is a truth-telling #writer who pens facts that reveal the dark side of issues about which we may have covered our eyes. Her writing is candid, bracing, intellectual & informative, both blogging and published work.… https://melindainman.com/?p=27847 via @MelindaVInman

NANCY E. HEAD

No description available.

Nancy E. Head is an author, teacher, and activist who has also run for political office. She is staunchly pro-life and often writes on this topic as well as the moral condition of America and how we are losing many of the values that were common in the past.

Learn more about Nancy here: www.nancyehead.com.

Nancy blogs weekly. Over several years of reading her work, I’ve found her to be one of the most candid authors I’ve ever encountered. Her wealth of experiences give her a candor and yet kindness toward those in difficult situations, and her strength of character produces writing directed at those difficulties in ways that are straightforward and frank. I learn much from her weekly blog about where our nation is headed morally and ethically.

Boldly, she writes of the ugly side of the abortion issue, euthanasia, and the pressure on those who attempt to intervene. Her writing presents truth fearlessly, with no hiding of the details about which we may have covered our eyes. Bracing, intellectual, and informative — these descriptors encapsulate her work.@nancyehead is a truth-telling #writer who pens facts that reveal the dark side of issues about which we may have covered our eyes. Her writing is candid, bracing, intellectual & informative, both blogging and published work.…CLICK TO TWEET

Take a look at Nancy’s blog. This is one of her latest featured posts.

HEADLINES: THE IMPORTANCE OF MEANING

Published in the Mustard Seed Sentinel, June 27, 2020.

“In the 1950s kids lost their innocence . . . In the 1960s, kids lost their authority [the means of direction]. . . In the 1970s, kids lost their love. It was the decade of me-ism dominated by hyphenated words beginning with self. . . Self-image, Self-esteem, Self-assertion… It made for a lonely world. . . In the 1980s, kids lost their hope. . . In the 1990s, kids lost their power to reason. . . In the new millennium, kids woke up and found out that in the midst of all this change, they had lost their imagination,” Ravi Zacharias.

Innocence, authority, love, hope, reason, imagination, all are necessary elements of a functioning people in a functioning society.

Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in 1950—back when there was still innocence, hope, and imagination. The book is about a society that can no longer find itself. The people have no books, no imagination, and no sense of purpose and meaning.

Bradbury depicts these losses in one of the most chilling moments in literature. A man comes home from work to find his wife passed out—overdosed on sleeping pills. He calls for help assuming the 1950s practice that a doctor will actually come to the house to set her right.

Instead, help comes in the form of two cigarette smoking technicians with a snakelike vacuum cleaner of sorts. They sweep out the woman’s system. She’ll be fine in the morning. It’s no big deal, they say; it’s common. So common, in fact, that they get nine or ten calls a night. Every night. . . .

Find the rest of Nancy’s blog HERE.

Nancy is the author of Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord. Currently, she is working on a middle reader children’s book, Jude and the Magic Birds (Working title).

RESTORING THE SHATTERED

Find Nancy book HERE on Amazon.

Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ's Love Through the Church in One Accord by [Nancy E. Head]

Written in an easy-to-understand, conversational style, Restoring the Shattered is an account of Nancy E. Head’s journey through single-motherhood and poverty. The permanent divide between her and her husband led to a shattering of their family as the children settled into separate camps.

The story begins when Nancy and her children have little to eat. Through a miraculous intervention, God provides—and leads them along their way. Other interventions and more guidance came from people of different denominations, illustrating Christ’s love through the larger Church.

When one of Nancy’s grown children became Catholic, she became more aware of the ways her own evangelical tradition often dismisses Catholic believers and misinterprets many of their doctrines. While doctrines may differ, so many essential beliefs are the same. Restoring the Shattered looks at the causes of the Reformation and other schisms, and how the original schism in Christianity happened because of a mistranslation.

Misunderstanding others’ faith languages feeds so much separation today. Nancy encourages pursuing accord among evangelical, Catholic, and Christian Orthodox communities in order to lead the Church to the kind of ministry that helped Nancy’s family so much and rebuild the ruins of society through obedience to Christ’s call for Christian accord.

During our years of need, Christians encouraged her as she earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Penn State and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Encouragement continued as she embarked on a career in journalism and later turned to a career in teaching, which has included two summers in China. She earned my master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Currently, Nancy is an instructor at Penn State Altoona and Great Commission Schools. When not teaching or writing, she restores antique quilts, craft projects for her grandchildren, and helps her husband lead a small group at their church devoted to ministering to the needy in their community.

Find Nancy E. Head on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

To Avoid Shattered Marriage

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”

—Song of Solomon 6:3

Husband and wife did not need to speak words to one another, not just from the old habit of living together but because in that one long-ago instant … they had touched and become as God when they voluntarily and in advance forgave one another for all that each knew the other could never be.

—William Faulkner


A few years ago, I attended a Russian Baptist wedding. The bride had been a student of mine, one I had mentored in a small group. A remarkable student with a deep and intelligent faith, she worked hard and read voraciously.

She made a big impression on me one day during her sophomore year when our group was having lunch. She asked that we pray for her friend’s mother. The woman had been helping with our school lunch that day but had become ill. After prayer, my student asked permission to go outside to sit with the sick woman who was waiting for her husband to pick her up.

Sometimes the student disciples the teacher.

During another of our gatherings when she was a senior, she told me about her fiancé. “He’s already talked with my father,” she glowed. She continued in animated excitement. Her father had told the young man that they would have to wait two years before marrying. Young men in this small community usually do not wait two years for a bride, but this young man would.

At the end of two years, the bride’s father, a pastor, conducted the ceremony. The service was in Russian, but the church provided electronic translators for the English speakers among us. What unfolded was a beautiful ceremony much like other weddings—until after the bride and groom said their vows. At that point, they both got down on their knees and prayed aloud. Each asked God to “help me keep the vow I just made”—an extra step to reinforce the seriousness of the day.

A fellow teacher and I were among a group of individuals who would speak on behalf of the bride at the reception—another departure from typical weddings. After an amazing meal, I followed along in the program as several others took their turns speaking to the bride and groom. Much of that was in Russian (no translators here). Aunts, uncles, and grandparents, one by one, came forward to give the bride and groom words of wisdom for their life together. Then came my turn to speak.

When I began, the bride stood up. I talked about how impressed I had been with the character of this young woman and related the story of her care for the sick woman in our school cafeteria. I mentioned the radiance I saw in her eyes when she was with her fiancé. When I mentioned the groom, he stood up.

The couple had been up and down throughout the reception. At no point did either of them heave a sigh or roll their eyes. The seriousness
they exhibited at the church carried over to the celebration afterward.

They would carry it into their lives where they now parent two children.

As we left the reception, I thought of how this joining of two lives had differed from so many others I had witnessed. The mood was just as celebratory—just as joyful. The couple listened respectfully to every speaker. That looked like work to me, and I thought that, at the end of the
day, they must have been very tired.

Considering the factors that contribute to divorce, this couple seemed to be at risk. They were young. He did not plan to go to college.
She was taking online classes mainly because she wanted to homeschool her children capably, not to enhance her earning capability or empower herself. But consider what they have going for them. They had waited two years as she studied, and he honed and applied his skills as an electrician, increasing his value in the workplace. In the interim, their relationship with each other and extended family continued to develop. Surrounded by family who cared enough to encourage them, whose approval they sought, and whose guidelines they followed, they were part of a close-knit
community who witnessed their vows. And they have deep and abiding faith in God.

The more we live out our commitment to Christ, the more stable our families are. The less our society follows him, the less stable our lives are.
And in America today, family stability continues to unwind.

God’s original plan for the family was stability in traditional marriage.

Adam was in the garden, and God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, so I will create a companion for him, a perfectly suited partner.”

And God made woman.

Christian marriage is a reflection of the image of the window. The husband represents Christ; the wife represents Christ’s bride—the church.

Within Christian orthodoxy, marriage is the union of one man and one woman. All of Christian orthodoxy affirms that God intends the husband and wife to remain faithful to each other for life.

Modern society has been bashing these ideas for several decades now.

But most people aspire to be married. And it’s reasonable to assume that they hope, at least at the onset, that their marriages will last a lifetime.

To some, however, marriage seems outdated. But we forget that in the first century, the idea of Christian marriage was revolutionary.

Changing the nature of marriage was a big part of how Christianity turned the Roman world upside down. “In pagan times, a family was a
man—the paterfamilias, or father of the family—and his property” (Aquilina). The mere existence of everyone else in the family depended on the whim of the father. He ruled his personal realm. Wife and children were there for his benefit. If they were not a benefit, they were not there.

Abortion was common. And female infanticide was pervasive, claiming the lives of “most” girls. Adultery, especially on the part of men, was customary and assumed.

In contrast, God had established marriage and declared that the man and the woman “shall become one flesh.” In the New Testament,
Jesus reiterated that “the two shall become one flesh.” Christian marriage presented everyone in the family as a sacred, immortal soul. It wasn’t just the father who mattered. The wife mattered. The children mattered.

Baby girls mattered. To pagan Romans, such thoughts seemed crazy.

Just as crazy was the idea that marriage would be more than an economic arrangement for the man, who in Roman culture was free to
engage in sex with anyone (of any age and either gender) at any time (Aquilina).

The Christian view of marriage was an exclusive one for both parties.

Saint Pope John Paul II explained that marriage is a gift from the Holy Spirit that helps a couple “progress towards an ever richer union with each other on all levels … [T]he plan of God which was revealed from the beginning … [supports] the equal personal dignity of men and women who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive” (Saint Pope). Equal personal dignity. Unique and exclusive.

These ideas had never been considered before outside of Judaism. Today all of Christian orthodoxy views marriage this way. Christian marriage is designed to help both parties in the marriage, and by extension, the children. The Orthodox view states: “Becoming ‘one flesh’ in a blessed marriage is an act of … selfless giving of one to the other; a self-emptying … in a manner like Christ when He took on human flesh and assumed human nature” (Morelli).

Excerpted from Restoring the Shattered. Photo Credit: Morgan James Publishing–updated cover image.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Notes:

William Faulkner, “The Fire and the Hearth,” Go Down, Moses (New York: Vintage, 1942, 1994), 104.

Genesis 2:18, The Voice.

Frank Newport and Joy Wilke, “Most in U.S. Want Marriage, but Its Importance Has Dropped,” Gallup, August 2, 2013, http://news.gallup.com/poll/163802/marriage-importance-dropped.aspx.

Mike Aquilina and James L. Papandrea, Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again (New York: Image, 2015), 55, 60, 61.

Ibid., 61.

Saint Pope John Paul II, “The Indivisible Unity of Conjugal Communion,” excerpted from Familiaris Consortio, 1981, accessed August 2, 2016, http://www.fathersforgood.org/ffg/en/month/archive/dec08/unity.html.

Fr. George Morelli, “Good Marriage XIII: The Theology of Sexuality and Marriage,” Antiochian Christian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, 2014, accessed August 2, 2016, http://ww1.antiochian.org/node/17964.

Restoring the Shattered: Reviewed in The Altoona Mirror

I’m grateful to Linda Gracey for writing this gracious article about Restoring the Shattered. Republished from The Altoona Mirror–June 7, 2019~

Local Author Likens Life to Glass

In her book, “Restoring the Shattered,” Nancy E. Head of Altoona looks at several facets of life that are like broken glass, but can be restored to a beautiful and colorful stained glass window in God’s hands.

Her original goal in writing the book was to encourage Christian unity, but she also writes about broken pieces in her life as well as in society.

The subtitle, “Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord,” reflects her original reason for writing the book.

Head, who is an instructor at Penn State Altoona and Great Commission Schools, said she wants to make the Christian Church aware of what it has in common, as opposed to allowing differences in traditions and doctrines to keep believers from accepting one another and working together.

When one of her five children converted to Catholicism, some of her evangelical friends had trouble understanding his decision, she said. They seemed to have misconceptions about the Catholic faith, she said, and she wanted them to understand that the Catholic beliefs were not that different from Protestant ones.

“So much division, separation, is based on misunderstandings,” she said.

In her book, Head provides background on the Protestant, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths and examples of how they have worked in unity to spread the gospel. She gives examples of misconceptions and points out how spiritual leaders including Saint John Paul II (pope from 1978-2005), Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Charles Colson encouraged ecumenism.

She also covers legitimate areas where the faiths differ in doctrine and traditions, including concerning communion and baptism.

“Some of our disagreement over communion and baptism is authentic,” she writes in Chapter 10.

“But some is distortion, some is misunderstanding. Determining which is which can help to repair the broken window of our faith communities.”

Whether she is writing about the Christian faith, concerns for societal issues or her own personal life, Head compares the subject to glass in various states. Sometimes it is broken, sometimes it is shattered, sometimes it is scored for a certain purpose. Sometimes she points out how it reflects or transmits light.

Head said the Holy Spirit gave her the idea to use glass, especially stained glass, as a theme throughout the book, but she wasn’t sure how it was going to fit. She knew she was on to something, she said, when she read Ciara Curtin’s article in the Feb. 22, 2007, edition of Scientific American that defines glass as being neither a liquid or a solid, but a state between those two states of matter.

“It’s fluid and flexible,” Head said.

In addition to Christian unity, Head writes about poverty and other societal issues, such as homelessness, abortion and divorce and a need to understand people’s circumstances without being judgmental.

Having known poverty herself, she said, “A lot of people look down on you. You can’t perceive how you ever will become a taxpayer (as opposed to someone who benefits from others’ taxes). You accept the label people put on you.”

Head said, “The church applies labels, too,” adding that that is part of the problem. “The Church needs to look more kindly on people and realize that there but for the grace of God, go I. Instead of judging, we need to learn how to lift them up.”

She gave the example of approaching a homeless man in a church parking lot while others feared him.

“I gave him a gift card (to get a meal at a fast-food restaurant),” she said.

In her own life, it was a divorce in the 1980s that left Head financially challenged. She had to find work to support herself and five children.

In “Restoring the Shattered,” she talks about her struggles and how government programs can be a help and a hindrance. Although she received daycare assistance while she worked, she lost almost all of her subsidized childcare when she decided to attend college. She was able to pursue her goal to acquire a degree, to earn more and get out of poverty, because of Christians who were willing to take on childcare responsibilities.

“We are to encounter the world and meet needs,” she said.

Among those who have read the book are Cindy Updyke, the wife of a former pastor and formerly of Altoona.

Updyke, of North Carolina, said she read the book from the perspective of people who have been wounded and how the body of Christ as a whole has been wounded by suspicion and misconceptions.

“I love how she wove church history into the story … and compared the personal shattering in her life to how the Church was shattered,” she said.

Updyke said the book points out that “We are more effective in healing personal wounds and society’s wounds together rather than when we each stand in our own theological corners. We are more effective in ministering to those who are shattered,” she said.

Updyke said Head is an excellent writer and the history in the book is interesting and relative.

“It’s an easy read,” she said.

Peter A. Joudry, CEO of The Nehemiah Project, said, “Nancy Head is a personal storyteller, a church historian, … and a compassionate believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

He said he read her book while ministering in South America earlier this year and became so excited about what he read that he called her from Bogota, Colombia, to congratulate her.

“She believes that our message is far too important to be hijacked by religious squabbles and personal biases,” he said. “She makes a compelling call to all Christians to unite toward the common objective to be Jesus to our troubled world.”

Local Author Likens Life to Glass by Linda Gracey, Altoona Mirror, June 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Restoring the Shattered

TITLE INFORMATION RESTORING THE SHATTERED Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord Nancy E. Head Morgan James Faith (238 pp.) $15.99 paperback, $9.99 e-book ISBN: 978-1-64279-049-8; January 22, 2019

BOOK REVIEW

Head, a part-time English lecturer at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona, assesses the denominational fissures within Christianity and the possibility of future unity in this debut treatise. The author experienced the sectarianism of Christianity firsthand when she was a young girl: Her father was a Catholic and she attended Catholic school, but her mother was a Methodist and took her to her own church.

In this book, Head asserts that the doctrinal separation between Protestants and Catholics need not translate into mutual contempt, as both are bound by profound spiritual commitments. She goes on to furnish a far-reaching discussion of the differences between the two sides, emphasizing the tension between Catholics and evangelicals.

Along the way, she provides admirably clear accounts of doctrinal debates regarding such issues as abortion, homelessness, divorce, and poverty. In the case of the latter two issues, she draws deeply from personal experience; after Head and her husband divorced, she says, she had to raise five kids as a single mother and fell into dire financial straits.

The overarching metaphor of the entire study is an image of shattered glass, which can symbolically represent either disrepair or kaleidoscopic diversity. Head also supplies remarkably balanced histories of various religious culture wars in America and of the split between liberal Christianity and conservative evangelical thought. Ultimately, she counsels a meaningful détente between Christianity’s various subdivisions that doesn’t involve surrendering core principles—cooperation without compromise.

At the heart of the book is a genuine spirit of reconciliation: “In every encounter with those who disagree with us, we are always to act in love, accepting and respecting the sacred humanity of every person. But we are not to crumble under the pressure to endorse actions we cannot deem morally justified.”

A thoughtful introduction to complex cultural and theological issues in the Christian faith. 

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Morgan James Red Carpet Interview

Morgan James Red Carpet Interview about Restoring the Shattered


Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Morgan James

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Get Help; Give Help

The idea is a natural outgrowth of my life.

During the hardest times of my life, the Church was there. A church–the one I attended–but also THE Church–a small piece of it–represented largely in a denomination not my own. The help from those within my worship community and part of other such communities kept my family from being stuck in the poverty trap.

We knew deep need, and the Church stepped up. But we didn’t just get a hand out–or a number of them. We got a hand up.

Christians provided gifts of food, clothing, and money to us. But they also provided childcare so I could go back to school–and advice on how to succeed there and in the workplace. They encouraged. They walked with us.

We did not stay in poverty. And we have those Christians to thank today.

And so is born the idea of the Central Pennsylvania Service Fair–an event to let people in need know where they can get help–or how they can offer help to others.

The idea involves inviting Christian non-profits to participate in the fair. Pregnancy Resources organizations as well as feeding ministries. Children’s, youth, men’s, and women’s ministries. Ministries that provide material needs; ministries for spiritual needs. That’s who we’ve invited to begin.

And then inviting the community–offering fun activities for the family–and a meal. Food is a universal language of fellowship. And we want the day–for a few hours one day next month–to be a day of friendship and fellowship.

–To gather in worship before the event and lift up our community in prayer.

–To let this church over here realize that the church over there is filling a need no one else in the community fills.

–To let people know that someone is there to fill the need that makes them feel all alone in the world.

One church alone cannot lift a community of those in need. It takes individuals and congregations.

Every person who steps up places a brick of support into the wall those in need climb to get out of the hole they inhabit. They have to climb out themselves–but they need the wall of support in order to scale the heights.

A service fair can be a layer of bricks in somebody’s wall to climb out of their hole. The person we help today is valuable to God. And that person receiving help today may be the one giving help tomorrow.

You don’t know the difference your help can make. And you don’t really know the depth of the person you help. What you can know is that no one is beneath the love of Christ. No human being is ordinary.

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”[i] C. S. Lewis

Find a need. Fill it. Lay a brick in someone’s wall. What we do can change eternity.


[i] C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1949), 15. Qtd. in Restoring the Shattered

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash and Wright Place for Kids

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

You’re Invited to a Book Launch Party!

On Thursday, March 7, at 3:00 pm EST, my publisher, Morgan James Publishing, is hosting a free online launch party featuring me along with some other amazing authors. We’ll be giving away links to books to everyone who attends, as well as a bunch of freebies!

Could you do me a favor and register for the party (and hopefully come to it!)? I know everyone is busy so don’t worry if you can’t be there live. Register anyway and you’ll get a recording. Again, all you need to do to be a part of my Virtual Book Launch Party is register right here:  www.MorganJamesBookLaunch.com

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”