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.

“Humans Love Dogs More Than Other People,”

“Humans Love Dogs More Than Other People,” or so says this study to be found in the New York Post.
This has long been a concern of mine, because once people start perceiving dogs and other animals as superior to ourselves, as having more worth and value than our fellow human beings, we’re on a downhill path to destruction.
This is a very unpopular discussion and often gets me into a great deal of trouble. Don’t even think of suggesting dogs don’t actually have souls and a full range of human emotions and human thought patterns. People will chase you out-of-town with torches and pitchforks for disrespecting the human fur babies.
First off, I love dogs and I am probably one of those very people who would happily live on a planet full of dogs, rather than people. However, I’ve got just enough reason left to recognize there is something immoral about that, something self-centered, something not quite right. Just because I much prefer dogs to most people does not mean I should prefer dogs to most people.
The fact that we are now spending more money on doggy acupuncture, therapy, grooming, dressing, housing than we are on actual human beings who are genuinely suffering, is not a good sign. The fact that we would rather hang out with an animal rather than one another is not a good sign. The fact that we empathize with animals more than people is not a good sign.
This is a path, a trajectory we have been on for a long, long time. Our concern, our modern laws regarding for child abuse, domestic violence victims, actually stemmed from our laws against animal cruelty. Our concern for animals has often superseded our concern for one another. Where I live abortion is legal, protected, and often free, but if you break an eagle’s egg, you are in serious trouble. Federal crime territory, if you live long enough to face charges.
I don’t know what we can do to shift our thinking or to start asking ourselves questions, but I think we should. It is not that dogs are the enemy or anything, it is that we are now turning to our dogs for the things that humans should be giving to one another, but obviously are not. Things like loyalty, companionship, cheerfulness, gratitude, genuine excitement when we see one another. Trust. Affection. Encouragement.
It’s not the fault of dogs, dogs have simply slipped in to fill an emotional and spiritual void within people, but the fact that there is such a void there speaks to our issues around struggling to build an intimate relationship with the Lord, and with one another.

My Lord Katie

I speak of Katharina von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther, the man who sparked the protestant revolution.
I enjoy the quirky stuff, the little known facts, like how it’s always all about the butter, as can be seen in this article,  How Butter Fueled the Protestant Reformation Never underestimate the importance of good butter, the numerous conflicts that can arise when some people can afford a butter indulgence and others cannot. As Martin Luther once wrote, “Eating butter, they say, is a greater sin than to lie, blaspheme, or indulge in impurity.”
I do sometimes intercede for humanity as a whole, praise the Lord for His infinite patience, and thank Him for His Divine sense of humor.
Another fun quirk of the reformation can be found in the relationship between Martin and his wife Katie.  It’s quite the romantic tale, many books have been written about it as this blog recounts, mentioning one I have not yet read, The Christian Lover.
As the story goes, several nuns escaped by hiding in a wagon full of fish barrels, herring I believe, and appealed to Martin Luther for help. He was able to find families to take them in and eventually husbands for all but one, Katie. She apparently had her heart set on Martin Luther himself, in what was rather scandalous at the time since clergy did not often marry. Martin eventually relented with this romantic but quite reluctant declaration, “to please his father, to spite the Pope and the Devil, and to seal his witness before his martyrdom.”
“If I can endure conflict with the devil, sin, and a bad conscience, then I can put up with the irritations of Katy von Bora.”
It’s a bit funny, he’s quite a reluctant husband and declares,  “Suddenly and when my mind was on other matters, the Lord snared me with the yoke of matrimony.” As this blog post clearly demonstrates, their marriage was actually ground breaking, revolutionary, more of an arranged thing born of defiance than born of love. He says, “One wakes up in the morning and finds a pair of pigtails on the pillow that were not there before.”
A match made in heaven perhaps, because it soon grows into a romantic and fruitful union, one well preserved in love letters and journal entries. Soon he is deeply in love,  full of admiration for her, and his pet names begin to pepper his writing. He calls her “Housewife of the Heart,” “Madam Pig-Marketer”and “My Lord Katie.”
“Lord Katie” was an amazing woman in her own right, often to be found running the brewery, the farm, the boarding house for all her husband’s many guests, and a hospital when people fell sick. They had six children together, took in another four orphans, and she became a great spiritual ally and mentor for her husband.
When he died he made the rather unfashionable decision to appoint her his heir, at a time when women were so seldom granted any inheritance rights at all. “I appoint you, Katie, as universal heiress…”