It’s Only By Challenging Ourselves to Do More…

Perhaps you’ve seen the new ad for Gillette, which “challenges men to do more” in order to “get closer to their best.”

As someone who really loves to issue challenges and hold people accountable to rise and meet higher standards, I LOVE the “no excuses” message.

That’s why I’ve taken the liberty of fleshing out the ad for Venus razors which should be the obvious follow-up to Gillette’s empowering campaign:

VIDEO BEGINS

(Somber music)

(Flashes to female faces, young and old, looking at themselves in mirrors.)

*Voiceovers saying things like: “Bullying!”  “Out-of-wedlock births.” “Blame the Patriarchy…”

*Young girl’s voice yells: “You’re not my friend!”

(Jump-cut to a Venus commercial from the 90’s.)

Female Narrator:  Have we revealed the “goddess” in ourselves?

(Young girls break through the screen on which the Venus commercial is playing, shrieking like animals…)

Female Narrator:  Is this how the Divine behave?

(Jump to text messages appearing on the screen, such as:  “Freak!” “You’re ugly.” “Nobody likes you.”)

Female Narrator: We can’t hide forever…it has been going on too long.

(Quick jumps to news clips: women fighting, women pole-dancing, Miley Cyrus flipping off the camera, etc.)

(Cut to young girls sitting in a classroom as a nun writes “modesty” on the chalkboard. The girls’ mothers break down the door and throw wadded up papers and spit balls at the nun.)

Female Narrator:  We can’t “resist” evil, unless we purge it from within us. 

(Jump to women wearing pink hats, holding “resist” signs.  One woman hands a sign to a very young girl which says “F&$% Trump.”)

Female Narrator: …We keep making the same old excuses…

(Cut to scene where a woman is shouting at her husband: “I don’t get ANY HELP around here!”)

First Woman:  Girls just want to be loved. 

Second Woman: Girls just want to be loved.

Dozens of Women, robotically: We only want to be loved.

(Jump to teen girls grinding on their boyfriends at prom.) 

Female Narrator:  What will it take for US to change?

(Jump to young girl holding her mother’s hand while she’s lying on a hospital table.)

*Voiceover:  “Over 700,000 abortions per year.” “Babies born alive…” “It’s about MY needs…”

(Cut to news coverage of Kermit Gosnell: “accused of leaving babies to die after late-term abortion attempts…” Then jump to dozens of reporters covering the same story.)

Female Narrator:  When will WE take responsibility, too?

(Cut back to the women looking in the mirrors.)

Female Narrator: Because we….we believe the power of God is available to women.

Conservative Christian Spokesperson on TV saying: “We need to hold our sisters accountable!”

(Music rises)

(Cut to scene of an older woman stopping the nagging wife from yelling.)

(Cut to scene with the Nun in school, where one of the paper-throwing mothers snaps out of her rage and looks pained with guilt.)

Female Narrator:  Becoming a godly woman means helping each other learn to say the right thing and act the right way…

(Jump to women in a pregnancy center, teaching a pregnant woman to change a diaper…)

 Female Narrator: Some of us are already doing it!…in ways big and small.

(Split-screen: woman surrounded by orphans in Africa and a woman holding a single, adopted child.)

(Music continues to build.) 

(Jump to: one of the women who was chanting “Women just want to be loved” breaks away from the group and rushes to stop the girl dancing provacatively on her boyfriend…)

Female Narrator: But some is not enough…

(Cut to: a woman takes the ‘F&%$ Trump’ sign from the little girl and tells her mother, “That’s not okay.”)

Female Narrator: Because the girls watching us today will be the godly women of tomorrow.

(Rapid jump cuts to the cherubic faces of a dozen little girls, well on their way to being “goddesses.”)

TEXT APPEARS OVER THE LAST LITTLE GIRL’S FACE:  “Reveal the Goddess in You.”

…”It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more that we can get closer to being goddesses.”

END VIDEO

Well?

So, who wants to partner with me to make this happen?   😀

Seriously, I don’t want the only ones improving themselves to be MEN!

Let’s empower the women, too!  

Or–if anyone wants to argue that this video isn’t empowering–(because it’s shaming or condescending or whatever)–then I’d love to hear your opinion of the original Gillette commercial as well.  How is it different?

As far as I’m concerned, either both of these commercials are uplifting or they’re both insulting… but no more double-standards, please.

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We’ve Kissed Relevance Goodbye

Why is the Church always 20-30 years behind the culture?

Why do we struggle to call out the shameful heretics WHILE THEY ARE TEACHING, and we prefer to focus on supposedly bad leadership of the past instead?

Recently (on the podcast) we discussed the statue being crafted out of melted purity rings into a golden vagina, courtesy of the Feminist Harm-Doer, Nadia Bolz-Weber.

I call her a “harm-doer” because I want to be very clear about the situation NOW, so that Millennials might be willing to call her out in 20-30 more years.

Right now, they’re too busy feeling sorry for themselves because Josh Harris wrote a book in the 90’s and told teens that God wants them to save sex for marriage.

Most of them didn’t take his advice.

And then they felt bad.

And now they’re accepting Josh’s apology for a bunch of stuff he never said about how God only loves virgins.

(You can click on that link to read Josh’s full statement, or you can read my paraphrase: “I said some stuff when I was a kid that I would nuance differently today.  But I don’t want to be too specific. My book helped people. Yet, I’d like to apologize to anyone who struggled with things they imagined I said. My publisher will stop selling this dangerous book, right after we finish selling the ones we’ve already printed, so we don’t lose money. It’s the same as recalling an automobile.”  (*insert Amanda rolling her eyes)

The fact that a straight, white, Christian man is apologizing for some vague group of people’s vague feelings isn’t even news anymore…  

Yet–here we are–in the comment thread of an article about Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Golden, Self-Glorifying stunt, sidetracked by Josh Harris’ book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” instead:

12.22.18 Stuck in the 90's (1) (edit)

12.22.18 Stuck in the 90's (3) (edit)

12.22.18 Stuck in the 90's (4) (edit)

I’ll admit, I was offended when Purple threw in her comment about “Christians who met and married their spouses early.”   I don’t appreciate being dismissed by people who think my young marriage was a matter of luck. 

First of all, an emphasis on pure living wasn’t simply “harmless” for me. It influenced me and actually saved me from a bunch of problems, as all cases of resisting sin tend to do. In fact, avoiding certain sexual pitfalls helped me so much that it apparently looked like I had it very easy, from the outside perspective of those who did NOT wait to have sex.  I want to assure those who are confused: waiting to have sex was the right thing to do, but it wasn’t easy.

So, although it may SEEM like I managed to avoid the harm of a rotten Purity Message, simply by being lucky enough to land a husband early, it’s out-of-touch to suggest that those of us who saved our virginity “enjoyed” the process of controlling ourselves until our wedding nights.  Furthermore, there was nothing “simple” or “black-and-white” about the WORK two young Christians did (and continue to do) in striving to make wise sexual choices.

I know, I know, Purple didn’t SAY “you had it easy.”  But that’s the impression I’m getting…  And Josh Harris didn’t SAY, “If you are an entirely pure, good little virgin, God will place the perfect husband right on your doorstep,” but the only thing that matters is what I hear, right?

12.22.18 Stuck in the 90's (5) (edit)

I wonder if Purple and other members of the Anti-Purity-Movement-Movement will issue an apology someday, to those of us who married young.   Perhaps we’ll see in 20-30 years.

But that brings me back to my point:

There’s virtually no reason to be talking about Josh Harris (and his supposed “movement”) from the 90’s, except that Christians tend to struggle with the evil that’s right under their noses IN 2018!

When we’re absorbed with grievances from our own youth, we’re willing to defend the anti-God teaching which is damaging the youth of today.

Wake up, Church!

Don’t be so self-focused that you give your own children’s Bad Teachers a pass because you sense they are allies in your holy war against “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.”

There’s nothing WRONG with saying, “God designed sex for marriage.”  (It’s true, actually.) There’s nothing wrong with teaching young people to be conscious of what drives them… Are they God-centered or physical-grativication-centered?

Yet, it’s foundationally wrong to say, “Sometimes I can be an asshole, but it’s almost as though I can hear Jesus saying ‘uh, that’s okay, it’s not that I love you and claim you despite that. I love you and claim you because of that.’”

It’s foundationally wrong to teach people they are “already holy.”

(These are both direct quotes from Bolz-Weber, by the way. I didn’t just get the impression that she’s teaching those things…)

Do you think Ol’ Nadia will ever come around to admitting that she’s hurting people with her bad theology? In 20-30 years, will she ask her publishers to stop printing Pastrix and Shameless?

Maybe.

Or maybe we’ll have to wait to discuss Nadia Bolz-Weber until our children can speak for themselves and can tell us, point blank, how damaging the Feminist Movement has been…

“When I was growing up in the 2010’s, The Feminist Movement turned sex into a giant, ridiculous, shining beacon of an idol. Popular teachers made me think that God’s main goal was to ‘free’ me to explore any and all sexual impulses.”

For Heaven’s sake, Millennials, we want to talk about “relevance” all the time, but we’re still reeling over the fact that our youth pastors told us not to screw around?  We’re still looking for ways to argue that the message was the problem, instead of recognizing it was our failure to take the good advice which damaged us?

Don’t worry, there’s forgiveness available for everyone who sleeps around, before and after they get married.  And, despite any impressions some 90’s babies may have gotten, Josh Harris never said otherwise.

But the things which are being taught by popular “pastors” TODAY fly in the face of very basic Gospel doctrine. 

Maybe we’ll find the motivation to be concerned about that as soon as we figure out what year it is…

Maybe, when we stop blaming the “Purity Movement” for the guilt we feel over our sins, then we’ll stop teaming up with the Harm-Doers in the Feminist Movement of this decade.

As for Those Agitators…

Not everyone knows that Paul became so frustrated with his Christian brothers who were bickering about circumcision that he finally wished the Foreskin-Fundies would cut their penises off.

Yeah, he threw his hands up in exasperation and said, “Just casterate yourselves!”

At first he tried explaining that circumcision was an outward symbol of an INTERNAL covenant with God.  He insisted over and over that “Circumcision of the heart” matters most.

But many of the disciples were hung-up on the places where The Law seemed to indicate that all men of God needed to be circumsized, even the foreigners who came to live in Israel.  In their culture, the physical ritual had become synonymous with “belonging to God.”

So, as non-Jewish men became interested in receiving Christ’s gift of salvation, it’s understandable that the Old Covenant Jews thought it should be business as usual:

“Let’s have a ceremony!” they probably said.

“Let’s wash in a sacred bowl and burn some doves, maybe?” another one might have suggested.

“Well, at THE VERY LEAST, we expect our new brothers to put the Mark of God on their privates!”  many agreed.

Yeah–obviously!

Definitely that.

“Scripture is clear in that regard!” they would assure each other.

Put Paul kept trying to help them through a paradigm shift.

He said: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love… Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?”

I can picture the Galatians reading that part and scratching their heads like, “What is Paul talking about? WE ARE obeying the truth! We’re following what THE SCRIPTURE CLEARLY SAYS…”

“This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.  For the generations to come… Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.”  –Genesis 17

How was God unclear that EVERY MALE AMONG YOU shall be circumcised?

What part of “EVERYLASTING” was vague?

This interpretation of The Law was drilled into the minds of God’s Children for hundreds of years–so Paul was fighting a difficult battle to move them to a new understanding of the purpose behind their tradition.

On the one hand, I sympathize with the Jewish early-Christians who viewed Paul as the heretic for twisting God’s holy word.

But I also sympathize with anyone, like Paul, trying to introduce a new concept to a rigid Fundy…

Paul believes that we should be patient and full of grace with our “weaker brothers” whose consciences are determined.

However, we must speak up if those “weaker brothers” begin trying to impose their Legalism on new converts and causing stumbling blocks to OTHER weaker brothers.

(Side note: Weaker brothers are constantly tripping over each other.  I tend to refer to it at the “Clash of the Fundamentalists.” But I digress.)

Paul’s frustration with the “GOD REQUIRES CIRCUMCISION” crowd is very similar to my annoyance with certain individuals who insist that GOD REQUIRES BELIEF IN A YOUNG EARTH.

I wrote about the hoops which (some) Young Earth Creationists expect everyone to jump through here.

I believe Christians should be free to explore the topic of origins and to conclude whatever makes the most sense to them about how and when The Creator brought forth life. But please don’t pretend that God’s word is “clear” about something that is pretty obviously confusing.

And please–please, please–stop telling Atheists and Weaker Brothers that they must believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old or they will compromise the entire Christian faith. 

Oh–I understand WHY a person would think God cares about the creation timeline.  And I also understand that some beloved Christians struggle with respecting figurative or symbolic Covenants because it’s hard to see those intangible ideas as being equally REAL and TRUE and DIVINE as a literal piece of cut flesh.

But, a person who believes in a stylized Genesis account does NOT have to believe the sacrifice of Jesus was also figurative.  That’s called a Non Sequitur. Even if Moses used parables, it’s possible to believe that Jesus was a real, historic person.

Therefore, representing a YEC worldview as if the whole of Christianity depends on a 6-day understanding of Creation is JUST AS WRONG as asking new converts to LITERALLY cut their bodies and prove their allegiance.  

If you weren’t so over-the-top dogmatic, I would go with the flow.  But if you’re going to set up obstacles for would-be converts and other brothers/sisters, I have to call you out.

Like the Circumcision Gang, you fully, honestly believe you’re carrying a message straight from God’s mouth, while those who disagree (like Paul and Matt Walsh) are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Your perspective makes sense, and I respect your willingness to stand up for what you (incorrectly, but understandbly) feel is indesputably fact.

I only mean to confess that I agree with Paul–your agitating must stop.

I won’t wish that anybody would cut off their body parts, because I think only Paul can get away with that.  🙂

But I will issue this challenge instead: if an individual is so completely sure that God SAID 24-hours and he MEANS 24-hours, why don’t we insist that all Bible translations replace the word “day” with the words “24 hours” in Genesis 1?

Again, if it’s so clear, and there’s not a bit of doubt about what GOD’S WORD intends to convey, then why not help eliminate all confusion for future generations of readers by having Genesis spell out the truth:

“…and there was evening, and there was morning, the first 24 hours.” ?

Are the Agitators willing to go the whole way?

 

In Christian Love,

-Paul and Amanda

A Message To Young Women That It’s Not About You

Recently a woman called Dennis Prager’s radio show and admitted that she’s unhappy with her choice of career over family, even though she pretends to love working.    Part of her testimony is here:

“I want to tell women in their 20s: Do not follow the path that I followed. You are leading yourself to a life of loneliness… You try to do what you can to make your life fulfilling. I have cats and dogs. But it’s lonely when you see your friends having children, going on vacations, planning the lives of their children, and you don’t do anything at night but come home to your cats and dogs. I don’t want other women to do what I have done.”

This woman (who wants to be called “Jennifer”) blames her bitter, divorced, feminist mother for selling her the lie that a career would make her happy.

“…I was brainwashed by my mother into this…

There’s not a good answer for [why I never married] except ‘I was programmed to get into the workforce, compete with men and make money.’ Supposedly, that would be a fulfilling life. But I was taught by a feminist mother who hated her husband…”

I believe Jennifer when she says she was encouraged to climb the corporate ladder by feminists who didn’t want her to be a sad, uneducated doormat of a housewife.

But, I think Conservatives should be careful not to swing too far in the other direction, by suggesting to young women that they will “be happy” if they get married and have babies in their 20’s.

Young ladies:  the problem is that you’re searching for something to make you happy when life isn’t all about you.

I don’t mean for this to sound harsh. But, the truth is, you can find testimonies exactly like Jennifer’s, except in reverse.

“Wah, wah! I was brainwashed by my religious parents that a woman’s role is taking care of the home–and now I’m not haaaaaaaaappy!  Wah!”

I believe these women bought a lie, just like Jennifer.

But, you see, the Feminist Lie and the Conservative Marriage Lie is really the same one:  “Jump through these hoops and check these boxes, and you’ll love everything about your life.”

Unfortunately, neither marriage nor career will satisfy a self-focused young woman.

In fact, I have told many young women (from my best friend to my sisters to my daughters) that they should expect unhappiness, because I don’t want them to be surprised.  I’ve said, point blank,  “Choose whether you’d like to enter the workforce or build a young family–but YOU WILL BE UNHAPPY EITHER WAY!”

I’m not trying to discourage them.   Quite the opposite!

I want young ladies to be encouraged that–just because they’re unhappy sometimes does NOT mean they’ve taken a wrong turn and ruined their lives and now they have to deal with regret until they die.

The biggest reason young women are unhappy, both making money and making babies, is because our culture has lost the art of self-sacrifice. 

We’ve forgotten that the happiest people are those who look for opportunities to pour themselves out–to toil and sweat and SERVE others.  The happiest people don’t feel sorry for themselves for being completely used up and exhausted at the end of every day.

Happy People are thrilled when they’ve spent every bit of energy they have on whatever project they’ve been assigned, because being an instrument of God has been the goal all along!

Young ladies, decide what is a worthy cause, and then don’t look back as you give every single ounce of yourself to it. 

Hold nothing back.

“This life is an altar, where I want to offer, my soul and my mind and my strength…”

If you’re aiming for self-sacrifice, then you won’t be surprised by fatigue. You won’t be disappointed by frustrations.  You’ll be proud that you’re meeting your goals!

When you look around at your office space and wonder what it would be like to have a family waiting at home, and you feel the weight of the sacrifice that you’ve made by choosing to serve your coworkers and your company, you can mourn what you’ve lost without regretting it.  You can rest in the knowledge that you’re accomplishing your goal of sacrificing wherever you are.

And if the babies are crying and the house is a mess and your ungrateful husband doesn’t understand what it’s like cleaning the same messes and breaking up arguments 24 hours a day–and you feel the weight of the sacrifice that you’ve made by choosing to serve your family–you can mourn what you’ve lost without regretting it.

You will realize, with a mix of sad-happiness, that you’re needed and you’re irreplaceable…

…and you’re accomplishing your goal of sacrificing wherever you are.

—-

If you’re searching for happiness, you’ll rarely find it.  But if you learn to love the process of pouring yourself out, you’ll have the privilege of watching God fill you back up, over and over and over again.

It will be painful, no matter what choices you make.  You won’t always feel happy.

But, since life isn’t all about you, that’s okay.

Whether in the office or in the home, there are ALWAYS opportunities for joy when a person chooses to sacrifice for others.

Is Your Faith a House of Cards?

If even one piece of your understanding of God gets shifted, will everything else you know about Him crumble down?

That’s a House of Cards faith, and I think it’s pretty common.

When I was a student in private, Christian schools, it was briefly mentioned that some (poor, misguided) Christians believe the earth is millions of years old–but I don’t recall being told why anyone would think that way.

I got the impression that any Christian trying to rationalize an Old Earth has “compromised” his/her faith by choosing “secular” scientific theories over the “clear and authoritative” Word of God. 

The disagreement was presented as if Real, Serious Christians were squared against the Godless Heathens… and there were a few spineless religious people, straddling the fence and causing God to want to spew them out of His mouth.

So, I was fairly convinced that the wrong interpretations of Genesis–or any other part of the Bible–would bring everything else down with it.

Today I found a comment on Facebook which perfectly explained where that idea comes from. Please take a deep breath before you dive into this rabbit hole:

“Why is the issue of death and disease as a result of sin so important?

I would propose that the whole foundation of what it means to be saved is found in the first chapters of Genesis. If you believe the first chapters are literal, then you believe that God literally created a world that was truly good. A world without death, disease, destruction and pain. God also created a literal Adam and Eve and these individuals literally sinned. That literally brought the curse of sin upon this earth. An earth that was created “good” was marred, and the death, disease, destruction and pain came as a result of man’s literal sin. God made a promise to this literal Adam and Eve that He would send the seed of the woman to overcome the destruction that had been caused by that sin and that through the seed of the woman the world could be saved. That is essentially the Gospel message found in the first chapters of Genesis.

Now look at what happens when someone decides…that the earth is actually millions of years old: You then believe that God did not create a good world. He created a world in which there was millions of years of death, disease, destruction and pain. He did it that way on purpose. It was his intent to do so. It was not the result of man’s sin who had not even been formed yet. It was simply the way God wanted to design His creation. In fact, there was no real Adam and Eve, so there was no real first sin in this world. God sent His Son. Why (in this set of beliefs) is a little hard to explain. He did not come to redeem His creation from the curse of sin though. Because there was no real curse. It was all part of His design from the beginning.

Do you see the major downfall to not taking the first few chapters of Genesis as literal? It is truly the foundation for the entire Bible and the Gospel message; the foundation of Christianity itself.

Please, please think about this.”

So, there you have it.

If you believe that plants and animals died for millions of years before Adam and Eve came on the scene, then everything else in Christianity is doubtful.

I mean, I don’t have a problem with asking how that can be reconciled, but I didn’t actually get to hear the argument from Old Earth creationists themselves until well into adulthood…

…and, as the Bible says, “The first to present his case seems right, until another comes forward to question him.”

Can you even think of a scientist who talks about the Bible, other than Ken Ham?

Oops, trick question! Ken Ham isn’t a scientist. 🙂

But, what I mean is–can you think of an organization, other than “Answers in Genesis,” which deals with the science of the Bible?

If you can’t think of a Christian who disagrees with Ham’s conclusions, I think that’s a red flag. We ought to be able to articulate the argument of our critics, and we can’t do that if we can’t even name them!

So, for anyone who needs a non-profit, staffed by brilliant scientists who love Jesus, in order to look into this topic from a new direction, I present Reasons to Believe, found at Reasons.org…

The website is run by:

Dr. Hugh Ross

Dr. Fazale Rana

Kenneth R. Samples, M.A.

Dr. Anjeanette Roberts

Dr. Jeff Zweerink

and dozens of “Guest Writers” from Universities all over the globe.  (Yes, I’m sorry, Flat Earthers, but the world is “a globe”…even though you think I’m compromising Scripture by saying so.)

I firmly believe that God is bigger than our questions, and I am terribly skeptical of anyone who argues that every, single piece of their Theology is necessary, or else you will lose the essence of God Himself.

My faith will not be shaken the slightest bit, if God took his time allowing the earth to evolve for years before breathing souls into a couple of bipedal beasts we call The First Humans.

Christianity is bigger than my interpretation of a few verses in Genesis–and that book is NOT the only place I go to find “answers.”

I’m deeply concerned by some of the comments I’ve read today, including: “The Bible is all the evidence you need”  and “Ken Ham isn’t MAKING AN INTERPRETATION–he’s LETTING THE BIBLE SPEAK FOR ITSELF.” The truth is, Ken has written hundreds of posts and books to help people learn how to read the Bible.  He’s not simply “letting it speak.”

But I’ll deal with that later, I guess.

For now, check out Dr. Gerald Schroeder’s books, or read this article.  Listen to Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project (and Old Earth Creationist).  Or let William Lane Craig explain we read things into the Bible that it doesn’t actually say.  (Example: the Bible doesn’t say that plants/animals die as a result of Adam’s sin.)

If you are letting non-believers think that they can destroy all of Christianity by removing a single chapter in the Bible, your faith is too small and flimsy.

Invite questions and search for Truth.

Regardless of the age of the earth, God can handle it.

Should I Share It? Take This Test…

Today I had an epiphany.

I suddenly realized what’s wrong with half of the stuff posted on social media–and I’ve simplified the problem into a short test we can use to stop it from happening.

The problem: most of us “like” and “share” quotes which we would HATE if we heard them coming from someone we didn’t like.

It’s a problem because good, true things should be good and true no matter who says them. 

For example:  “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

I think that’s good advice, whether Ghandi said it or Hitler.  It’s true either way.  (Pssssst.  Neither Ghandi nor Hitler said that. It was Jesus.  But you get the idea.)

Another quote I like is, “A bad day does not equal a bad life.”

Or what about, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”

I would “like” or “share” these quotes whether I heard them from my best friend or from the girl who egged my house and stole my boyfriend in highschool.

(Psssst.  No one egged my house and stole my boyfriend in highschool. But you get the idea.)

Truth should be true, no matter who says it.  And that’s why I recommend that we STOP and think before sharing a piece of advice,

“Would I still like this quote if an enemy said it?”

Try it!

Let’s test some popular sayings from the Facebook group “Depression and Anxiety quotes”:

“Sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.”

When a friend posts something like this, we’re like, “HECK YES! That’s so empowering!”

But, when someone we don’t like posts it, we have a different opinion.

Go ahead, picture that person on Facebook who drives you crazy.  Maybe “enemy” is a strong word.  But think of the person you don’t usually see eye-to-eye with.   (Yes, even if it’s me! I don’t mind being used as the “person you don’t like” for this test.)

Imagine that irritating person said “sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.”

Hmmm…. does it still sound empowering?

Or does it make you think, “Oh….this is the kind of thing self-absorbed people say when they’re making excuses for cutting others out” ?

It’s not quite as memorable as the Golden Rule, is it?

Here’s another example!

“Do not immitate what is popular, for acceptance.  Practice what is authentic for the sake of your soul.”

When your friend posts it, you’re like, “Yes! You are authentically awesome, so you need to practice more of that!”

Buuuuut….when someone you disagree with posts it, the power wears off.  It doesn’t seem quite as true, for someone who is authentically a pain in the butt…

How about this:

“Your woman becomes a reflection of how you treat her.  If you don’t like how she’s acting, look at how you treat her.”

Friend posts it: “Woo-hoo!”

Psycho woman posts it: “Nah, it’s not his fault you’re a psycho.”

See how great this little test is?

Things that are good and true will be good and true no matter who says them!

So, before I share something that I think everyone needs to hear, I challenge myself to ask whether it’s ALWAYS true…


 

If you think this test of mine is something EVERYONE can use, please feel free to share it.  🙂

When EVERYONE ELSE Is “Selfish”

I read a convicting article recently.

No, it wasn’t from a devotional website or the blog of a famous Evangelist.

God spoke to me through….  (*cough. *)  Psychology Today.

The name of the article is “Why We Need to Stop Throwing the Narcissism Label Around,” by Dr. Craig Malkin.

This is his clincher paragraph:

“Posting one too many selfies, hogging the bathroom mirror, or speaking loudly on a cellphone is not the same as compulsively lying to, insulting, or even screaming at one’s partner— [which are] common habits of the severely narcissistic.

Equating these behaviors … is a bit like comparing a pickpocket to an armed bank robber.

Hurling [the label] ‘narcissist’ at people also makes us blind to our own potentially unhealthy narcissism.”

A friend of Malkin’s, Dr. Jeremy E. Sherman, also wrote an article on the subject,  “The Key to Diagnosing Narcissism Diagnosers.”

In trying to figure out why so many Americans are interested in “How to Diagnose Narcissists,” Dr. Sherman notes:

Mental diagnostics are a double-edged sword.  People use [diagnoses] to cut through nonsense… But we also use them to create nonsense, for example when we ignore other people’s reasons, because after all, they’re just narcissists.

Narcissists are very good at diagnosing narcissism to get what they want.

If you disappoint them, then you must be a narcissist, and it’s all your fault.

Dr. Sherman goes on to say that self-centeredness is like Attention Deficit Disorder, in that both have something to do with the environment we’re all creating for ourselves.

Some of the “symptoms” of both Narcissism and ADD come from our culture’s rapid changing:

“We think of ADD as a mental disorder… But ADD is, to some extent, a product of changing environments. There’s simply vastly more than any of us can pay attention to, much of it extremely stimulating, accessible and distracting.

Narcissism is, to some extent, a cultural phenomenon, too. We live in a society that has come to take its preferences very seriously. Technology has proven increasingly reliable at fulfilling our wishes. When you wish for something, you can bet there’s an app that will deliver it.

People, not so much.

People don’t meet our expectations half as reliably as technology does. We expect more from partnerships than people ever have. We process in relationships, trying to wire them just right, as though they were malfunctioning technology.

If your partnership were a computer, you would have tossed it years ago replacing it with a more efficient model.

Ouch.

But that’s what happens when every, single salesman competing for my money insists that I can have it MY way because it’s all about ME.

Eventually, I begin to take that self-centered philosophy into my relationships as well…

…including, sadly, into my relationship with God.

Just as I was considering this humbling thought, a friend shared a quote by A.W. Tozer, which further pushed my nose in the dirt.

Listen to what Tozer says about using “Machine Age Methods” to buy a convenient taste of God:

“The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. [The work] is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast-flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, …the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul…”  -A. W. Tozer

Ouch again.

Shallow lives…salesmanship methods…and glorifying men…

All of these things happen because we believe “fast” and “easy” is the same as “good.”

If God were a computer, I probably would have tossed him out for a more reliable model years ago. 

In fact, by hopping churches and searching for certain types of books/music and cutting ties with the Christians who disappoint me, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do…

I’m very good at pursuing my own happiness–and I blame other people (those horrible narcissists!) when I don’t get what I want.

But, as Dr. Sherman asks toward the end of his article, “Who is a butthead, except the person I happen to butt heads with?”

He concludes:

“I happen to live in a pocket of the world where we expect a lot, and I’m grateful for it. But it is a bit humbling if I stop to think about it. When I get outraged at some injustice to me, and I’m inclined to diagnose someone as a narcissist for disappointing me, it’s sobering to remember that unlike many worldwide, I think I’m entitled to hot water, stocked grocery stores, and reliable electricity.

My sense of injustice is relative.

If you turn out to be one of those “narcissism diagnosers,” it’s worth keeping all of this in mind.

That is to say, I need to be careful when I look around and think EVERYONE ELSE is “selfish.”