Friday, May 11, 2018

Moira's Story....

I speak of Moira Greyland who wrote The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon.” Moira’s story is an important one, one Christians especially need to hear, and it’s not a pleasant story at all, it’s a story of horrific child abuse, psychological, emotional, sexual, that has left lasting scars. It’s an important story because it shatters some myths, demolishes some narratives about the LGBT community and it reveals the downside of tribalism, the way morality can become totally subjective, right or wrong being defined not by what you do, but by who you are.
It is a dark abyss of moral ambiguity, a  really challenging swamp to fight your way out of.
Moira is not alone either, there are literally hundreds of thousands of us who grew up in some really abusive, emotionally devastating situations, situations fueled by the sexual revolution, by narcissistic parents, and by extreme liberalism or by what some would call the far left. The culture we created by throwing out all tradition, all morality, all standards, did some major harm, damaged some real live people and left lasting scars.
I have a memorial to those who did not survive, a number of children whose lives ended in suicide, addiction, or devastating health issues caused by extreme stress, PTSD.
I watch the #Metoo movement, the #churchtoo movement,  one might even say I am well pleased by the Great Shaking going on, but in the back of my mind, or rather burned into my very soul, is this keen awareness that faith does not cause child abuse, that “patriarchy,” is a false flag, that there are thousands of hurting, broken people who barely survived the sexual revolution, feminism, our attempts to redesign society into this utopian vision of sexual freedom.
Moira like me, found the Lord, even in the midst of abuse, of moral ambiguity, of cultural genocide, even in the midst of extreme atheism. Perhaps a better way to say that is, the Lord found us. 
It’s hard to put a positive spin on such darkness, such horrific evil, and there’s this need to make people understand how awful the damage really is, how painful, how it was literally the theft of a child’s mind, body, and spirit, impacting every area of your life. There is no nook or cranny of your very being left untouched.
I don’t want to gloss over that, I don’t want to minimize the harm, but I do want to celebrate a couple of things,  I want to praise the Lord, I want to infuse this darkness with hope, hope that I often see lacking when Moira’s story is being retold. Life is short, there are huge celebrations that should not be missed, a full inheritance from the Lord waiting to be claimed. Chaos, confusion, shame, the remnants of PTSD, need not define you anymore. Jesus Christ came to set the captives free and He restores, He redeems, He replaces what has been stolen, ten times over. But that is a promise that must be claimed. We have not because we ask not.
It’s a message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops until life and life abundant is just pouring into every nook and cranny of every abuse victim anywhere. You are not what has happened to you, you are not your past, your identity need not live there within the dark places anymore. The harm done is real enough, but complete healing can be just as real.
Sometimes I fear that as our culture exposes victimization, toxic secrets, and begins to speak the truth, we often leave out the part about how the Lord can rewrite the whole story, surprise us with His many plot twists, that the broken parts are actually beautful to Him, that they can rise up to Him like fragrant poetry. There is beauty lurking in our suffering, it is part of what makes us human. Our humanness is beautful because we are made in His image and He is beautful. He is more beautful, more powerful than we can even imagine, and we have been fashioned in His likeness.
Today I haven’t got scars, instead I have a melody of poetic praise that lifts His name on high, a flair for the melodramatic, a sharp wit and the strength of some real gallows humor. That is the kind of beauty He can hand us for our ashes. Don’t forget the hope, the hope in Him is real, it has an evidence and a substance that is tangible.
I going to post the entirety of Psalm 91,  and speak life over anyone who fears their scars are too big, who has not yet claimed freedom, claimed their full inheritance of resoration and healing that the Lord promises.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.  A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.  Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.  Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;  There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.  Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.  Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.  He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.  With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

“Jubilee Theonomy”

“Jubilee theonomy,” I totally snagged that from Pastor Wilson, a timely phrase indeed because I was just thinking of writing about jubilee and what I call the Great Divide between alleged liberals and conservatives.
Jubilee for those who don’t know is, “a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. In the Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year  is mentioned to occur every fiftieth year, during which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.”
Now in my way of thinking we are living in perpetual jubilee, Jesus Christ is our jubilee. As prisoners we have been set free, no longer slaves to fear, our debts forgiven, and the mercies of God are now particularly manifest. Praise the Lord!
Why then do we not relate to one another in this same spirit? Why are we still taking hostages, making wage slaves out of people, and burdening them with excessive debt? Why are we living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and yet the top 3% hold all the wealth? Why do we as conservative Christians so often dismiss the poor as lazy, ignore the cries of women who have been abused, and mock those who try to speak of racism?
Why are we so blind to the fact that all things are not equal, that people do not all have the same opportunity, and that toilet water tends to always flow downhill? That is to say,  government policies often create poverty. Drugs for example, never enter a community without permission from somebody’s corrupt or incompetent leadership. Look at Indian reservations, some of the poorest place in the country. That’s what excessive Gov often creates.
Why then do we blame the poor? If a man doesn’t work he shouldn’t eat. Guess those people, unlike me, just made really bad life choices. Too bad you don’t have the Lord’s favor like I do with my private jet and prosperity ministry…..funded off the backs of lonely widow’s social security checks.
Theonomy for those who don’t know,  “posits that the Biblical Law is applicable to civil law, and theonomists propose Biblical law as the standard by which the laws of nations may be measured, and to which they ought to be conformed.”
That’s all very well and good, but traditionally evangelists, fundamentalists, conservatives, have been quick to condemn sexual sin, especially the sexual sins of the little people, because when it comes to their own, they have nasty habit of denying it, justifying it, or covering it up. Why do we not apply our theonomy to other sins like usury? Theft? Abuse? Corruption? Racism? Pharmakeia?
Seriously, inquiring minds want to know, why? I mean, all in good humor here, but I myself would much prefer to speak of sexual sin too, rather than Mexican drug cartels, predatory lending, organized crime, and the staggering number of women who have been abused in the churchian world and not heard or protected. The horrific number of raped children, both boys and girls, the desperation that can send people running towards both homosexuality and abortion.
Yes, that’s some ugly stuff! Taking responsibility as Christian conservatives for the collective misery we have enabled and created in the world ain’t so easy. You have to humble yourself, lean into grace, realize you aren’t perfect. No plea bargains either, like trying to declare the other side is worse. Flat out, they often are! This boondoggle they created between Obamacare, pharmaceutical companies, and the opioid crisis, the biggest public health threat to hit us in a hundred years, is quite a sight to behold.
A sight to behold. A totally preventable, completely predictable, tragedy of epic proportions.
Believe it or not, I tend to lean very conservative in my politics, opinions, my theonomy. However, my loyalty, my heart, is not to a political party or an ideology, it is actually resides with those at the bottom of the food chain, those Jesus Christ would call the “least of these.” Yes indeed, there are some issues there, too. Sin does not curve around victims of abuse, drug addicts, the homeless, placing them in this magical zone of sin-lessness. People at the bottom of the swamp aren’t all fuzzy kittens of purity and grace.
However, they are often victims of grave injustices, of the unacknowledged sin of all that toilet water that came downhill and washed them right off the beaten path.
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. “
Excuse me for stating the obvious here, but the world is plumb full of law breakers who failed to love and the collateral damage of that truth is strewn all over the place. To sit up all high and mighty, as many do, weilding a little sword of truth, claiming to be in possession of biblical thenomy with a giant log in our own eye, just doesn’t cut it for me. It smells like axe body spray, I mean hypocrisy.
As I have written before, my heart is with the least of these, it always has been, likely it always will be. The reason why I like many conservative ideas and ideals is becasue I can see the benefit many of those ideas bring down to those who struggle.
So why than are conservatives, especially conservative Christians, not leading the way when it comes to social justice? Why have conservatives so often ignored the cries of those who are hurting? Why are we not leading the anti poverty initatives, the racial reconciliation, the #Metoo movement?
The undeniable truth to me is that far too often the theonomy of the conservative heart is built around pride, predjudice, and privilege. Jubilee for me and not for thee.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Church shootings-Domestic Violence

I really appreciated this article in Christianity Today,
A Top Reason for Church Shootings: Domestic Abuse

“Year after year, domestic abuse spillover—when a fight at home comes to church—is one of the three most common killers at faith-based organizations.”
Yep. Year after year.
I get so frustrated, year after year, decade after decade, and it’s like no one ever wants to address it. Well, women just lie about abuse. Well, our church doesn’t have a problem. And than another incident  happens and another and it’s like, I don’t know what the world is coming to, this is just a sign of the times, a sign of religious persecution.
No. It is not. This is predictable. This is preventable. This what happens when people put their head in the sand and refuse to address domestic violence and toxic masculinity in our culture because nobody wants to feel uncomfortable, nobody wants to take responsibility, nobody wants to make decent men feel bad, and nobody wants to assign blame.

Joy Juice

Somebody on the intertoobz said, “the Holy Spirit is not joy juice.” It kind of ticked me off. Who sez He isn’t? “God didn’t put you here to be happy,” is another one that sticks in my craw. That’s all wrongheaded.
It’s also often used as justification for people staying stuck in whatever situation they are in that is making them miserable. “Oh well, God didn’t put you here to be happy.”  “It’s my cross to bear.” “Maybe if I just stay trapped in this horrible place, the Lord will see how much I suffer for Him.” Rubbish! 95% of our own suffering is self inflicted. God did not create us to be miserable.
When did joy and happiness become perceived as a sin? I am of the mindset that salvation should put an extra skip in your step, a smile on your face. “Rejoice,” Paul says, “and again I say, rejoice,” in case we missed it the first time. It’s a commandment. Rejoice, be of good cheer, love one another.
3 John 1:12 declares the Father’s heart for us,  “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
So let me state flat out, as someone who is often bitter, cynical, sarcastic, and prone to melancholy, but the Holy Spirit is indeed, “joy juice.” If we are not feeling the joy the error is totally on our end. We often create our own misery, like the way I often land myself in a patch of bitter Christians who seem to perceive joy and happiness as sinful things. And then they proceed to share.
God does not do that to me, I do that to me.
Imagine if I did it and than said, yep, God just wants me to suffer. Yep, the Holy Spirit isn’t joy juice.  Alas, in the world you’ll have tribulation. Someday we’ll escape this vale of tears. I’ll never see joy this side of heaven.Reminds me of Eeyore from Winnie the Poo. Let’s all have a big pity party……and claim it’s just our lot in life. Worse, it’s allegedly what God wants for us. Nonsense.
So, there’s a wide range of emotions in the world, different circumstances call for a different response, nobody is called to be a ball of sunshine 24/7, and in the world we will have tribulation. Just the same, the Holy Spirit really is “joy juice” and some people are in desperate need of an infusion.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Making Sandwiches

sanwichesThere’s a real spiritual war going on within our culture right now that some may be blissfully unaware of, the battle of the sandwiches. I too was unaware of it until it began to encroach upon my life. The meme about “making sandwiches” is about far more than the superficial, it is an outright attack on women, on marriage, on gender relations, a shaming tactic of feminism.
This little meme I’ve posted is a somewhat humorous look at the nature of the problem and the social engineering underway hoping to redesign culture and relationships between men and women.
Suzanne Venker recently wrote an article,  “Are you weak if you make your man a sandwich?” In it she tells the tale of Maddie, an Australian woman who asked a facebook group for ideas about making her husband’s lunch. The internet response was pretty brutal as it often is, everything from accusing her of being “weak” to being “a 1950’s housewife setting women back for generations.” While this is an extreme example, such shaming tactics are a real thing in the world.
Along with an attack against marriage itself, there is also an attack against the nature of women, against our nurturing capabilities, anything feminine being perceived as an affront, an offense and an avid endorsement of all things evil, oppressive, and patriarchal.
At first glance this can appear kind of dumb, just another bit of the world’s stupidity, until you start to  also read 10-15 articles about domestic violence and abuse, articles in which EVERY woman would fit the bill of victimhood, EVERY woman is an abuse victim of her own husband. I realize this is Domestic Violence Awareness month and IB did spend several years working at a shelter, so it is not as if I am not keenly aware that abuse is a real thing in the world.
I must say however, some of these articles I am reading are not designed to raise awareness at all, they are not designed to help women escape dangerous relationships, they are flat out designed to mess with women’s heads. To convince ALL women that they are victims of oppression and abuse simply by the nature of institutional patriarchy, and the very institution of marriage itself. ALL women.
I’m not going to link to all these articles and take them down point by point, perhaps another day when I have more time, but my point being, there is an agenda going on here that is not interested in supporting and empowering women at all, it is interested in attacking marriage, shaming men and women for being men and women, and redesigning culture. It grieves me to see this, and to see it lurking beneath domestic violence awareness is ugly. Women face a lot of emotional and spiritual attacks from the world already, we have targets on our backs so to speak,  and so to bear witness to this farther exploitation is really frustrating.
Ironically, while reading some of this stuff,  I had the thought that what I was reading is actually a form of gaslighting, emotional and psychological abuse, fear mongering designed to cause her to doubt herself, to doubt her perceptions, to distrust her own observations about her own marriage or her relationship. It was flat out abuse under the guise of virtue signaling compassion for the well being of women.
I don’t have a solution really, but the first step is usually raising awareness, shining a light on the nature of the problem and bringing it to people’s attention. One way I can discern the difference between genuine love for women and a self serving agenda, is the heart behind the words. Is she a beautiful creature made in the image of God, powerful, having innate worth and value, or is she a powerless victim who should be ashamed of her “inherent” weakness and robbed of her confidence, her ability to perceive reality hijacked by those who claim to know better?
The moment I see women being shamed for who and what we are as women, I can usually find an agenda lurking beneath the surface, and that goes for the secular world as well as the Christian one.

Not Everyone Should Be Gotten Along With...

lionand lamb“You just need to get along better with people.” Boy, them there are some real trigger words for most victims of abuse, exploitation, or for the people pleasers and co-dependents among us. I’ve heard them a few times in my life too, at very inappropriate times, totally victim blaming and out of context.
They are words devoid of justice, devoid of protection, that reveal a complete lack of awareness over power differentials. Bit like telling the victim of a robbery they just need to learn how to get along with burglars better.
Sometimes very liberal people will say things like, “can’t we all just get along” and Christians will say things like, “we have to love our enemies and turn the other cheek.” While those are sweet words and quite appropriate in context, they are not the answer to  every given conflict. Not all spats are conflicts between equals and not all conflicts are bad. In fact, conflict can be very healthy and necessary.
You probably can’t tell from my blogging, which can sound strident sometimes, but IB was born a co-dependent extraordinaire. That’s no joke, a “lay down in the railroad tracks and die for you” co-dependentA, “sure I’ll be happy to sit in the car and keep the engine going while you run into the bank with a mask on,” co-dependent. A “my very existence is all about you and my only regret is that I now seem to have no self to lay down anymore”co-dependent.
I am extremely lucky to still be alive.  I come from some dark and dangerous places. It took the Lord some 20 years to pry me out of that bondage, to free me of those chains, and He is right there should I ever slip back into those old patterns of behavior.
A co-dependent extraordinaire.
God bless my husband too, he knows me well. He has never suggested I “just need to get along with people better.” All in good humor here, but he has often suggested I need cut some people loose and to punch a few others in the head. He’s almost always right, too. I have come to trust his wisdom and to realize that he sometimes sees things I cannot.
I mention this because I want people to know there is a huge difference between dying to self for the Lord and dying to self for another person. Dying to self for another person is actually a form of idolatry, of people worship. I have seen cultians, New Age spiritualists, and even a handful of Christians, pervert this concept in order to manipulate, abuse, and control people.
It’s a sticky wicket because it can get all convoluted. Basically if anyone ever suggests you need to die to self, change who you are, relinquish yourself in order to be worthy of being friends with them, you got an issue and you need some new friends, stat. Real friends will accept you as you are. Real leaders will always point you to Jesus Christ and not to themselves.
A couple of bible verses that have really helped me, Exodus 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”Including thy drunken uncle, thy dysfunctional relatives, thy abusive spouse, thy exploitative employer.
Luke 9:60, “Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” We have a calling, a job to do. It can be painful to walk away, in fact, I’m really bad at it, but there is a time to just let the dead bury the dead.
Matthew 10:27, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Those are some hard words, some strong meat, but nothing and nobody should ever come before our own relationship with the Lord.
Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” All in good humor here, but that would be HIS cross or YOUR cross and not a cross belonging to someone else. We are not called to forever carry someone else’s cross for them. Jesus is the One who paid their ransom and they can take up His burden, it is light.
I realize there probably are a few people in the world who are not givers, not people pleasers, not co-dependents, people who genuinely need to soften their heart, show a little kindness, exchange some ego for some empathy. However, it’s not arrogance, ego, or pride that suggests I am so rarely one of those people, it is praise for the Lord’s good work, it is rejoicing because He has taught me so well where I end and another begins, it is the sheer delight that comes from having been rescued, redeemed, from being so lovingly led to take the next exit off what could have so clearly been the highway to hell.
It is dying to self for Him, that has left me totally, delightfully, cheerfully imperfect.


"Red Pill Fallacies"

teapotPam has decided to start a blog called “Red Pill Fallacies-A Christian Woman’s Response.” She welcomes comments and discussion. She too is a Christian woman who has done a great deal of research into the Red Pill, the manosphere, Tomassi, Dalrock, Day, Heartiste, et all. Check it out, her first post is called,  “The wisdom of God’s spirit.”
I struggle sometimes to explain my own interest in the red pill, the compelling need I have to speak up about it, the sadness I feel when people get caught up in it.
What started my excursion into the gamers and pick up artists was actually caring for this guy at the end of his days who had spent his whole life pouring women into the abyss of his soul, never able to have the intimacy he so clearly craved. The guy was so full of regret, grief, bitterness, that he broke my heart. I’d leave him and have to go sit in my car and cry before I could even drive home.
He was all alone, estranged from his kids who resented him, dealing with a slew of ex-wives who had all rejected him, and he had such a torment for relationship, connection, but everything he did drove people away. Once his good looks, wealth, and even his health began to fail him, he had nothing left to “game” anyone with. He longed for intimacy and yet he had exploited everyone, shut everyone out, prided himself on his ability to remain aloof and avoid any vulnerability, always the top dog. He was trapped in this hell of his own making and full of regret.
The guy really needed a relationship with his heavenly Father but he hated God almost as much as he hated himself. There was no happy ending, he simply  died, bitter, angry, and alone, but he left me with a lot of questions, riddles I needed to solve, questions about faith, about men and their struggles with intimacy, about the lure and seduction of cultian ideologies like the red pill, about things that are all wrong with our culture.
God has been faithful in helping me to answer those questions, in guiding and leading me through riddles and deceptions that have confused me. God is good that way, He always puts my mind at ease, answers my questions, and fills me with His peace.
One thing that has been really hard for me in my life is survivor’s guilt, why me? God has been very good to me and yet I have watched so many others I care about completely destroy themselves with this keen awareness of, “but for the grace of God there go I.”
I empathized with my dying pick up artist, I saw aspects of myself reflected in him, I recognized his choices as some of the choices I had faced, and at the end of the day I realized that the only difference between him and I was my saving faith in Jesus Christ.
What makes the red pill so dangerous in my mind, besides the obvious perversions of scripture, is that we all have a hunger for intimacy, a God sized hole in our spirits that calls us to relationship, and the red pills mislead people into severing that connection, into squashing and suppressing that hunger with falsehoods and deceptions. It is like watching people starve to death eating sawdust, having no awareness that the nutrients they need are missing.
Men, even the most manly ones, even the alleged alpha ones, have a desperate need for intimacy and spiritual connection with their heavenly Father, and with the women in their lives, too. The red pill robs them of that and lures them into a false belief system, one that is often cloaked in pseudo-Christianity and promises you the kingdoms of the world.