Thoughts from multiple discussions over the last week:

Most of the time, when people come to tell you that they’re frustrated or upset with you (be it your spouse, a friend, a church member, etc), what they’re looking for first of all isn’t a solution to the problem; what they first want is to be heard. Down deep they know that you love them and want the best for them, but if you go immediately into problem-solving mode without having first stopped to really listen, instead of helping the situation you end up reinforcing their unhappiness.

It’s hard to just keep your mouth closed, listen, and not immediately be defensive, but quiet listening and acceptance (not necessarily accepting the fault, but accepting that the hurts are real) will accomplish much.

I still have plenty to learn in this regard.

Links for 2008-10-06

Things I’ve linked recently:

Book review: For Young Men Only

For Young Men Only coverNext up in the blog book review series, courtesy of Mulnomah Publishing: For Young Men Only: A Guy’s Guide to the Alien Gender, by Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice. (Usual standard disclaimer: Mulnomah sent me a free copy, I agreed to review it.)

Apparently For Young Men Only (we’ll just call it FYMO for the rest of this review) is the fourth book in the For… …Only series; the authors have already written For Men Only, For Women Only, and For Young Women Only. Each book professes to unlock the mysteries of the opposite gender to the target audience. FYMO, then is targeted at teenage boys, I’d say probably in the Junior High to High School age range. In chapter one, the authors lay out the purpose for the book:

…we want to help teen guys understand, talk to, listen to, get to know, learn from, care for, enjoy…maybe even impress a girl. Sure, it’s not quite as lofty a goal is stopping terrorism or bringing back the glaciers. But it’s something smart guys care about – and smart girls too. Understanding how girls think can make a huge difference in your happiness now and in the future. even better, a crash course in Girl 101 can put you way ahead of most other guys, who will spend the rest of their lives being totally confused.

In the book you’re holding, enlightment starts with you. You bring your legendary genius. We bring our shocking data. Pretty soon you can get inside her head.

The remaining chapters of this short (150 5″x7″ pages) book are filled with topics like these: “Why ordinary guys have a real chance with great girls”; “A code breaker’s guide to baffling female behavior”; “Why girls go from ‘love’ to ‘get lost’ so fast – and how to keep from getting crushed”; “How to talk and listen to a girl without looking like an idiot”, and, last but not least, “The truth about girls, guys, and sex”. Frankly, I’m a bit too far past high school to remember if this stuff would’ve been helpful or not, but it’s all reasonable advice. Be yourself. Listen. Be sensitive. Don’t have sex before marriage. Let her see the “real” you.

Where I run into difficulty with FYMO is in figuring out who I’d recommend it to. It’s purposefully not a “christian” book. No scripture is referenced. All the arguments driving the “what to do” and “what not to do” are based on surveys of what girls like and want, and on lots of basic psychology. It feels a lot like what you might read in a normal magazine targeted toward highschoolers. Which is fine, as far as it goes. But if I ever have a son, by the time he’s old enough to be reading this book, he should be thinking over these things with some spiritual depth that is nowhere to be found in this book.

My other big difficulty with FYMO is that the authors assume, and appear to view as perfectly fine, a fairly broad range of physical intimacy among their teenage audience. Call me out of touch with modern times, but I don’t want my 9th grader who is reading this book to assume that having a series of dating relationships in high school in which he is snuggling, kissing, and “making out” with girls is the right thing to do. As a Christian father, I would assume (and expect) a higher standard.

I can imagine that teenage boys could learn a thing or two from this book if they were willing to sit down and read it. And what they would learn would be helpful, as far as it goes. My hope, though, is that Christian parents would provide enough training and guidance to their sons that the sons would be able to pick out the helpful insights while recognizing that the authors’ worldview is some distance from what it should be.

[For Young Men Only can be purchased at Find out more about the book at]

We’re all growed up…

I am the oldest of five children. We span nearly ten and one-half years from oldest to youngest, four boys and then a rather special little sister. Today we reach something of a milestone: that youngest of the Hubbs children, our sister Rebecca, turns 21. To honor her on her birthday, I thought I’d pull out some photos. Unfortunately, I don’t have any really OLD ones to post. 🙁

(She’s the one in the middle in this picture, with my wife Becky on the right and Aaron’s fiancee Emily on the left.)



At Andrew’s wedding this summer, with her oldest brother:


She’s HOW old?


Happy birthday, sis! We love you lots!

Thinking through the presidential politics

I’ve had an easy time deciding who to support for president for pretty much every election cycle since I turned 18. This year, though, the choices are not so easy. I’m a life-long conservative with a distrust for Democrats but a growing distaste for the Republicans. Which makes this next sentence a very difficult one for me to say: unless something drastic changes between now and November 4, I’m voting for Obama.

Now, let me work out some of the reasoning behind this, for my own mind if nothing else. Let’s group it around three broad areas: economy/domestic policy, war/foreign policy, for lack of a better term, “morality” issues, and, finally, general personality issues.

Economic/Domestic Policies

  • I have a huge distaste for the tax-cut promise pandering. Both sides think that they’ll get me to vote for them by promising me more money (i.e. “tax cuts”). I’d rather they told me why they need to spend my money, and then we’ll figure out if I can pay a little less.
  • I’m not much of an economist, but it’s clear that things are pretty hosed up right now. That’s probably the fault of both the Bush administration and the Clinton administration before that. I don’t think anybody has a magic bullet to fix it right now.
  • Short conclusion: this area doesn’t really make me favor either candidate over the other.

War/Foreign policy

  • As far as the war goes: I think both candidates will have to more or less do the same thing – slowly withdraw troops as Iraq becomes more stable. Both sides know that leaving immediately would cause big trouble in Iraq, so they won’t do it. So they try to recriminate each other to score political points. Ick.
  • Maybe I’m foolish here, but I think an Obama win would force the rest of the world, Europe especially, to take a long, hard look at themselves. It’s been too easy for the past decade to just blame George W. Bush’s America for all the world’s ills. When the European’s darling is in the White House and there are still problems in the world, they’ll have to start looking further for how to fix problems. (Or, they’ll just still blame GWB for everything… )

“Morality” Issues

  • The biggie here is abortion. I have a real difficulty wanting to support anyone who is in favor of legalized abortion. But we have to look practically at it, too. Aside from appointing Supreme Court justices, there’s not a lot the president can do about abortion law. I may need to just hold my nose here.
  • And about those Supreme Court justices. The traditional right-wing position is that a liberal president will get to make several appointments, thus turning the Court to the left. But let’s look at who’s likely to retire from the USSC: Stevens, Rehnquist, maybe Breyer? Liberals all. Which means even if Obama replaces them with liberals, the Court’s ideological balance won’t change much. The conservatives Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito are comparatively young and healthy, unlikely to leave their seats any time soon. So, I see this as a non-issue.
  • Another thing I want to lump into the “morality” bit: health care. This is one place where I’m increasingly convinced the hard Right has gotten it wrong for a while. We have a moral obligation to provide health care for those who can’t afford it. Now, I’m skeptical about the effectiveness of government-run health care, and I don’t think the USA will end up with a fully-socialized system akin to the Canadian or British ones for a while yet, but we should find a way to make sure people are cared for. i think Obama will have a better focus in that regard.


  • The VP candidates: the debate last night cemented it for me. Palin isn’t totally incompetent, but she isn’t ready for the number 2 position, either. Let’s put it this way: if something happened to Obama, I wouldn’t be afraid for my country to have Biden in the White House. If something happened to McCain, I’m not sure I could say the same thing. I like Sarah Palin, I like the idea that someone like her could make it to this point, but the hopes that she was the great savior of the Republican party have been dashed over the past few weeks. If she wants a political future, I propose this: get that corrupt Senator Stevens out of office and let Palin replace him. Give her some time to get used to the national limelight and bone up on the issues. Then let her come back in 4 or 8 years.
  • John McCain. I respect his years of service to the country, but I’m not really sure that we’d get anything different from him than we’ve had from the previous administration. All the talk of “reforming” is great for the stump speech, but much harder to do when you’re in office, especially if you’re dealing with a Congress controlled by the opposition party.
  • Barack Obama. For whatever it’s worth, I like the idea that America could elect a non-WASP to be president. I like his notion of change, though again I’m skeptical of just how much of it will translate from the stump to the office. I don’t think for a second that he’s the messianic non-politician that some want to make him out to be (can anything non-corrupt come out of Illinois politics?), but I think he’s different than the Harry Reid-Nanci Pelosi school of Democrats we’ve been afflicted with for lo these many years.

In conclusion: most of it’s a wash. Obama takes it just based on health care, VP, and general “change”. So, that’s my ramble. I’m sure this will greatly please some friends and family and greatly shock others. Feel free to agree, disagree, argue, whatever. I’m just hoping that next time around there’s a candidate I’m actually enthusiastic about voting for.