Monthly Archives: December 2018

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 in which we’re trying to discuss Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Golden Vagina, but we keep being 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.