Category Archives: Uncategorized

Modern Self-Talk

I want to do this Thing for MYSELF… Not for anybody else.

I know I’m on the right track when I’m having fun.

It’s time to make a change, because I’ve lost touch with ME. It’s important that I put myself first.

Oh, I support hard work and discipline! Sure! I know life is full of challenges, and I don’t expect to get anything for free.

I’m willing to push myself and work for my reward… Sure!… Sure, hard work.

Sure, sure, sure.

But…

This Thing is TOO MUCH work.

It was never supposed to hurt THIS much.

It’s not worth sacrificing my physical and mental health.

I’m not going sacrifice mySELF any more.

I want to do this Thing for myself.

I’ll know I’m on the right track when I’m having fun.

Yes, I’m willing to work hard, but not THAT hard.

I’m doing the hardest thing of all: putting Me First, above everything else.

I’m fighting even harder than people who lose themselves for the sake of others.

I’m fighting for me.

Me.

Me.

Me.

Me.

Me.

Me.

Luca: Activists Disappointed Little Boys Aren’t Queer Enough

Here’s a movie review of Disney Pixar’s film Luca, which you need to know about. The reviewer reflects a dangerous belief system increasingly open about their sexualization of children and apparently unashamed of it.

Writing for Insider, Jacob Sarkisian says:

While the implications of queerness are there, particularly in the friendship between [main characters] Luca and Alberto, it’s disappointing that Disney’s Pixar wasn’t brave enough to fully commit to its first queer animated tale.”

And later:

“[The boys] are casually physical with each other, sleeping side by side under a star-filled sky, wrapping their arms around each other’s waists, and watching the sunset together. In fact, they spend a lot of the film embracing each other…”

It’s important to pause here and explain:

Luca is supposed to be 13-years-old.

And Alberto is 14-years-old.

They are young boys, with childish voices and smooth chins and chests. Have I been clear enough yet?

They’re babies. Small pups. Young’uns. Little ones.

I’m guessing this is why Enrico Casarosa, director of Luca, explicitly said: “…it truly goes without saying that we willfully went for a pre-pubescent story. This is all about platonic friendships.”

With emphasis on the word “pre-pubescent,” Casarosa isn’t stupid! Clearly, he doesn’t want his screenplay about middle-school boys to become a gay fantasy flick. So he tried to nip speculation in the bud.

They’re little kids, everyone! Can we just let them put their arms around each other and go camping, without looking for signs of sexual desire?

But, no, the Queer Activists can’t let it go.

Again, in the Insider review, Sarkisian writes:

“Alberto chases after Luca’s train, and it becomes clear, to this writer at least, that the movie is about that dreamy, youthful first love. The comparisons to “Call Me By Your Name,” a film in which two young men fall in love, are well earned…”

If you’re not already familiar with the 2017 Italian film “Call Me By Your Name,” you need to understand something right up front: it’s not about “young men” falling in love. It’s about a 24-year-old man preying on a naive 17-year-old adolescent, including getting him drunk and taking advantage of his inexperience.

While many people have tried to downplay the exploitative and dangerous nature of the movie, by throwing around the word “love,” it’s absolutely an example of grooming behavior common when a more powerful man wants to have sex with an immature boy.

…and many movie reviewers, like Sarkisian, are telling you point-blank they are “disappointed” when there isn’t MORE of this.

Making Luca and Alberto explicitly gay or queer wouldn’t have felt contrived. It would have been a meaningful confirmation of what is already a story rich in gay subtext.”

Adolescent boys. We’re talking about adolescent boys.

Queer kids will still feel comforted by this story because the scene plays out like an allegory for coming out and being gay, even if Casarosa said it isn’t.

Adolescent boys, remember???

What would have made it even more powerful, though, is if the movie explicitly embraced the undeniable queer subtext through dialogue.”

They want the adolecent boys to be explicitly say queer things, because that’s how to “represent the LGBT Community.”

You can read the rest of the review HERE if you want to see for yourself.

But, believe me, they’re literally complaining that “queer audiences have been robbed of a golden opportunity for tangible representation,” because finding and obsessing about romantic “love” between 13-year-olds is an immutable part of Queer Culture.

There can be no confusion.

The activists want little boys to cuddle and kiss and call themselves “queer.” They want to see more stories like “Call Me By Your Name.”

I predict the only possible criticism I will get from Gay Allies will be that I’m a prude who won’t accept that middle-schoolers are already having sex. What else could they possibly say?

When LGBT activists openly ask for more stories depicting pre-pubescent boys in light of sexual themes, they either need to admit they have an unhealthy fetish…or they have to frame people like ME as the sticks in the mud whose archaic beliefs are raining on their Pride Parade…

Well, so be it. Bring on the criticism.

I will not participate in the Grooming Machine.

Jesus Gets A Letter From Judas’ Mother

If Judas Iscariot was a troubled youth today, his mother would blame Jesus for letting him “fall through the cracks.”

People like Judas need special emotional support, which Jesus would have been unable to provide without being educated (by Judas’ mother) about how to love him properly.

I’ve worked in special education, and I have been a member of Mommy Support Groups since I had my first child a decade ago. So, I feel pretty certain about how the “educational” letter to Jesus would be written…

Allow me to demonstrate:

Dear Rabbi,

Ever since he was a very small boy, Judas has been difficult. I readily admit he’s not easy to love. Judas is very self-focused and obsessed with material gain. He has struggled with the impulse to steal money for as long as I can remember. I’m writing because I want you to know I SEE THE PROBLEMS, just as you do. But I want to help you understand the CAUSE of Judas’ acting out, so that you can be a more effective Support Person in his life.

Judas’ mind works differently from your other disciples. And his heart/conscience is muuuuuch more sensitive than the tax collectors or fishermen you’re used to teaching. If you’re not careful with Judas, you can break his spirit easily.

Deep down, he isn’t a bad kid. He just wants love and acceptance more than anything else.

I’ve heard through the grape vine that you’ve used some triggering language when Judas is within ear shot. You’ve said to the group of disciples “there’s a devil among you,” and “not ALL of you are clean like Peter,” which make Judas feel singled out and Broken.

I want to be clear that I’m not angry, I think you’re a great teacher, and it’s likely you didn’t know your words were harmful! But I’m explaining some of Judas’ specific trauma with you so you can be more empathetic. I know you don’t want to damage one of your beloved students by Other-ing them.

Judas’ father (Simon) is a very hard man, and he doesn’t show much affection. All his life, Judas has been trying to gain approval from his father–but there’s a void there. I have always prayed that God would send a male role model who will nurture my son in a way that I approve… And that’s why I believe you’re a blessing straight from Heaven, Rabbi!

Judas truly loves walking with you! And I’m confident that we can come up with a teaching plan moving forward so that he always feels safe and loved among his peers.

I’ve seen other troubled youth end up in prison….or–God forbid–taking their own life. And I KNOW that’s not what either of us wants for my little Judas. I’m sure we both see the gaps in the system, and we don’t want Judas to fall through them. I thank you in advance for working with me to speak Judas’ language and constantly grow in our understanding of Trauma Informed Care.

Sincerely,

Karen Iscariot


If you know the end of the story, you will already be aware that Judas DID end up “falling through the cracks” and taking his own life.

Jesus never told Judas how much he loved and wanted him around. He never used “we” language or reminded Judas how important he was for the whole team. In fact, he referred to Judas as a “Devil” and told him to “go” when it was time for the betrayal.

Thankfully, in modern society, we have psychologists, counselors, and bottles of medication to save the troubled youth with behavior disorders. We understand the way trauma impacts a person’s free will and culpability. So, we plan our parenting and educational strategies accordingly.

It may have been too late for Judas; but, today, no person ever has to endure hearing a teacher call them a “devil” ever, ever again!

Second-Wave Anti-Amandism

I’m always happy to raise awareness on important cultural issues. TODAY’S cultural issue is: the problem of systemic Amandism.

—–
Racism is bad. Sexism is bad. Ethnocentrism is bad. And Amandism is bad.

That’s pretty straight-forward, right?

Our goal as a society is to stop hating people just for their race or gender–and, most near to our hearts on this blog, we fight to stop the hate based solely on Amanda-status.

I’m proud to say, we’ve come a long way in the fight against Amandism. Nobody has said anything to make me feel agitated or uncomfortable for several weeks, and I must attribute that to the footwork being done by loyal Amanda-Activists from all corners of my living room.

Girl power! etc. etc.

But, as society shifts and meets my demands, it’s necessary to shift my ideology along with it.

It occurs to me that people named Scott or Jessica or Logan may need somebody in their corner as well… And, though the first crusaders who spoke out against Amandism were primarily concerned with–uh–ME, there’s room in our group for anybody who feels oppressed!

We are the Activists! We fight for equality!

Whether you’ve been victimized as an “Amanda” or a “George” or a “Humphrey.”

Second-Wave Anti-Amandism isn’t just for Amanda. We want equality for EVERYBODY–not just those people with my DNA.

(Who can possibly be against that?)

Do you believe all humans should be treated with dignity and kindness? Congratulations, you’re an Anti-Amandist.

Do you believe__________? See? You’re an Anti-Amandist, too!

Do you believe icecream is delicious and puppies are cute? Well, that makes you an Amanda-Activist like me.

In fact, if you think you’re NOT an Amanda Activist, you really just don’t understand what the definition of Anti-Amandism is. (Maybe you’ve been exposed to bad stereotypes?…)

But TRUST ME. You’re one of us.

EVERY decent human being is one of us!!!

The only reason you could possibly NOT be one of us is if you’re a hateful jerk, which means you are proving how much more work we have to do before we achieve Equality, you bigot.

—-

Welcome to the movement!

-Amanda

Why We Love Daddy

Hey, Guys!  This is “The Peaches” speaking.  And I want to tell you a story that comes from an era almost 30 years ago–when the only person in the whole world who called me “The Peaches” was John Branyan, my dad…

I was probably in First Grade.  Maybe Second?  And that would mean my little brother, Tim, was in Kindergarten.  (The other two Branyan siblings hadn’t made their debuts yet.) 

At that time, there was nothing we liked more than our special juice boxes (especially frozen, so we could eat them with a spoon!)…and playing with the Forbidden White Board tucked in a corner of the office.

You see, our parents joined a certain Multi-Level Marketing company during the rise of the MLMs in the early 90s.  It wasn’t Pampered Chef or Longaberger… But you might be able to guess the name as I continue telling this tale.

My little brother and I were not allowed to touch the white board and dry erase markers, because “daddy needs them for work.”  Whenever we’d ask for specifics about exactly what type of work Daddy was doing to be afforded such enviable tools of the trade, we were told, “he teaches people” or “he shows people how things work.”     

But these explanations never really satisfied our curiosity.

Finally, perhaps in exasperation, my mom told Tim and I: “Your dad is the Marker Man!” 

And, suddenly, it was perfectly clear why HE was allowed to use The Markers, while the two of us were not.  We finally accepted we needed to stay away from the sacred white board, until such time as we could become Marker People, like him…

Now, I’ve since learned the term “Marker Man” was not unique with my parents.

In fact, the title is the intellectual property of the marketing strategy organization hired by the MLM my parents joined, to teach their independent consultants how to run a business.   I’m throwing that in here because I’m not trying to get slapped with a lawsuit for copyright infringement.  I only want to describe an actual memory I have from my actual childhood.

Continuing on…

One day, my mom told us she had a project to surprise Dad on Father’s Day. We were going to make a special book for him—filled with all the reasons we loved him.    

In a stroke of poetic genius, we decided to title it, “The Why We Love Daddy Book.”

I don’t remember each reason word-for-word.  But I think one of them said “because he plays catch with us,” with a rudimentary illustration of a ball and bat.   One page said, “…because he wears a tie.”  (I mean, what’s not to love about a guy like that?) 

Near the end of our brainstorming session, Tim shouted out: “We love him because he’s THE MARKER MAN!”   (He was pleased with himself, knowing this would make Dad laugh—which was always a main goal of ours.)

—–

Why am I telling you this today?  Why was I even THINKING about this random piece of my past?

Well, because…

I’ve been working as the Event Coordinator for my dad’s comedy career more than 7 years–and I’ve suddenly realized:

I still love that he’s the Marker Man.

He still goes to work and helps people understand things more clearly.

Slowly, slowly, we’ve been scheduling fewer stand-up gigs, and replacing them with consulting opportunities.  My dad literally wrote a book about how to be funny.  He can take any speech, sermon, or blog post and find the humor buried in them. 

People who make their living in performance arts are calling him WEEKLY to pick his brain and regain their sense of purpose. And, though Dad doesn’t use literal markers much anymore, he has a way of drawing pictures with his words to bring clarity to a situation.

Daddy teaches people. 

He shows people how things work.

And—guys—he even pays me to be a fellow Marker Person on his behalf!    (No kidding. I have a complete set of assorted colors.)

Years ago, my brother and I didn’t know what it meant to “go to work” and “help people learn stuff.” But I understand much better now.    As an adult, I can see my dad is thoughtful and creative and a gifted communicator.  It’s a joy to glean wisdom from him, when he shares pointers about things he has spent decades studying himself.

Dad doesn’t sell JUICE BOXES anymore. But he understands the philosophy of Funny Stuff better than he ever understood food service.  

And, when you contact John Branyan Comedy, I can go on and on about all there is to love about him.

Do you want to consult with John about how to use humor to make your life better? Give me a call:  888-203-0372 or email amanda@johnbranyan.com .  

If you book him as a speaker (whether it’s a workshop or fundraiser or Date Night Event, etc.) I know you’re going to love my dad, too…  

…And, if you ask, he might even wear one of his ties.

Motherhood is NOT Humbling

I had an epiphany at 3:30am, after changing my toddler’s wet sheets and tucking him back in bed. I was thinking about how deeply grouchy I get toward the middle of January every year…

During those barren, icy weeks, when the Christmas stuff has been returned to the boxes and it seems our motivation to tackle schoolwork was packed up with it–that’s when everything feels like such A JOYLESS CHORE.

I do a lot of yelling and feeling sorry for myself during this S.A.D. season.

“Why can’t you guys __________?”

“Ugh, of COURSE something like this would happen today!”

“You know, I have better things to do than _________.”

The dishes never stay washed. The toys never stay picked up. The homework never gets finished. And the Mother never has anything nice to say.

And it finally occurred to me in the wee hours of this morning:

Doing a bunch of humble tasks every day does NOT necessarily lead to humility; it can also lead to bitterness.

Is that shocking to think about, considering how often women are praised for their “humble role” and their seeming ability to “do it all?” Is it weird to call the problem “bitterness” when the world usually calls it “overworked” and “underappreciated” and “deserving a break?”

I think we talk about the “humble” role of motherhood all the time, without stopping to wonder whether we’re actually mothering humbly.

And, the truth is, I have found myself caught in a Pride Cycle, which many other mothers may recognize, if they stop to think about it with me:

#1. The kids do or say something legitimately ridiculous, rude, or self-serving, which we must correct. They make messes–we correct it. They fight–we correct them. And the repetition begins to establish itself. (So far, so good.)

#2. Then we start to keep a running tally of how much work we’re doing, and it occurs to us that not many people could handle the same stuff we’re juggling 24/7…

#3. Eventually, everything we do seems like an ‘A’ effort, while everything the rest of the family does is an ‘F.’ Our standards become the All-Encompassing Standard of Righteousness for everyone else, and no one measures up…

#4. Everyone, especially Mom, gets grumpier and grumpier, because it’s exhausting being a perfect Paragon of Servant Leadership, surrounded by failures.

What was especially jarring to me was how quickly I was tempted to DEFEND my pride–almost immediately after I noticed it. I jumped right back up to step #1 and clung to the fact that my kids genuinely make bad choices constantly, and somebody has to lay down the law.

It’s actually hard NOT to feeling a bit superior, when the people closest to you are regularly using their beds as toilets. It would be false humility to pretend I’m not better than that, I reasoned.

So maybe it bears repeating that–yes–our children do things all the time that are objectively, honestly NOT GOOD, and part of our role is to set standards with consistent enforcement. (Sometimes our husbands and parents and siblings and friends at church do things that are objectively, honestly NOT GOOD, too.)

But, there’s a difference between having godly expectations for our whole family and having an ugly, Prideful attitude accompanying it.

How can we know when that line has been crossed?

Well, for me, it’s when I start spiraling in misery and barking at everyone nearby, as if my emotional and spiritual well-being depends on their cooperation.

Yes, it’s hard not to become wise in our own eyes, when little people are coming to us constantly for the solution to problems. (And, I mean, they are really eeeeeasy problems to solve.) But if we’re falling apart over something as easy as putting sheets in the washer, are we really that much more mature?

Who’s acting childish here?

—–

The point is, I have been feeling very discontented lately. And I want to confess that publicly, because I finally realize the ugly sin which is hiding at the root of my bad attitude.

It’s pride.
No excuses.

Our culture’s response when a mom starts confessing like this is to pile on encouragement to reassure the mom that she meant well.

“Yes, you DO work hard.”

“Yes, it IS frustrating when no one obeys your good laws.”

“Yes, your kids and husband SHOULD appreciate you more.”

But, this only serves to feed the sense of Superiority, so it ultimately leaves us feeling worse…

Our discontentment grows as we feel trapped in an unfair situation where everyone knows we deserve better, but they just can’t give it to us because they’re SINNERS. So the best we can do is try to forgive them for failing to make Motherhood as fun as it could feel, if everyone worked harder.

The only way to stop the pride cycle is to call it what it is and ask God for help keeping it in check.

Again, completing a long list of humble jobs every day won’t automatically lead to godly humility. Sometimes it leads to bitterness and self-righteousness, when we spend all our time meditating on how much better our lives would be, if we didn’t have to deal with OTHER PEOPLE’S sins.

Lord, help me let go of my Superiority and be lowly in spirit.

Help me recognize all the ways I’ve let pride take over my subconscious, especially when the culture likes to insist there’s such a thing as good/healthy/necessary pride. Weed out my self-righteousness and replace it with godly humility, to set my household free of this monster.

Set us free from the Tyranny of my Flesh.

Lord, you are infinitely more deserving of the recognition than I am. (Look at what an angry, graceless god I become, over the smallest stuff!) Please forgive my arrogance and give me another chance to be HUMBLED by my role, rather than continuing to spin in the cycle of pride and bitterness.

On Repenting for Careless Words

How many MILLIONS of careless words are spoken every, single day? And when was the last time you bothered to think about all the toxic goop flowing out of your friends’ mouths, rather than absentmindedly joining the Vomit Fest?

I first started thinking about this when I was only a kid, meditating on cliched phrases like “God bless you” and “In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” I wondered if God ever got tired of looking up from his book, saying, “Yes? You called?” only to discover his children weren’t actually calling Him at all. They were brainlessly going through the motions again.

In fourth grade, I had a sunday school teacher who explained to my class that the Third Commandment regarding taking the Lord’s Name in vain referred to basically ANY word uttered in frustration, without thought.

He told us not to say “darn” or “heck” or “shoot,” because those are just substitute words designed to help us get as close to swearing as possible without getting in trouble. And he said not to say “Oh my,” because that’s just one breath away from “Oh my God.” (Texting didn’t exist at the time, but I’m absolutely certain he wouldn’t approve of the abbreviated “OMG,” even if you changed it to “OMGosh.” …because ‘gosh’ was another Substitute Word.)

Say what you will about that level of Legalism…

…at least it taught his students to CONSIDER their speech before letting it fly, even if they eventually determined (as I did) that ‘shoot’ isn’t a bad word… and, honestly, ‘shit’ isn’t automatically bad, either. (Fastforward about ten years to the first time I read “pisseth against the wall,” in the King James Bible and felt cheated out of important information!)

(I digress.)

Now that my fellow sunday school attendees are all grown up, I think we are faaaaaaar more concerned with calling out old-fashioned, pharisaical, Fundies like our old teachers than with asking ourselves whether God is pleased by our word choices.

It’s as if we’d rather swing to the OTHER extreme of slandering ourselves constantly–rather than risk being as conscientious and principled as our grandparents were. (Ugh, moral standards. How terrible.)

What do I mean?

Am I talking about the word “shit?”

No, I mean the fact that it has been less than a year since thousands of Christians were declaring a 2-year-old WOULD RISE FROM THE DEAD, because God was GOING TO WORK A MIRACLE and the grave was GOING TO RELEASE HER BACK TO HER PARENTS.

For four days, Christians sang songs and wrote social media comments and prophesied with enthusiastic heresies–and how many of them repented for taking the Lord’s name in vain, when their prophecies didn’t come true?

Did any of them?

Those warnings about keeping a tight rein on our tongues don’t apply in the New Covenant, I guess?

I’m talking about the fact that Paula White and other members of President Trump’s team declared that Trump WOULD WIN A VICTORY and that it WOULD BE A LANDSLIDE and that he’s NOT GOING ANYWHERE because he HIS GOD’S CHOSEN INSTRUMENT. Even after President Trump exhausted his legal efforts and announced there would be a change of administration (“peacefully”), some of his fans continued to exclaim that it’s NOT OVER, and Trump is STILL GOING TO PULL OUT A VICTORY…

Has anyone asked them how they’re going to react if all of that is just wishful thinking?

I’m talking about the fact that you will hear endless, unholy words just walking down the street if you start paying attention.

“I hate all this traffic.”

“I’ve never been so hungry.”

“If I have to wait in that line, I’ll scream.”

“I can’t take any more of this.”

“God bless you!”

Even in my house, you will regularly hear me say things like YOU KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY and I NEVER GET ANYTHING ACCOMPLISHED and I NEED A VACATION and dozens of other favorite swear words, which I don’t really mean and hardly hear myself say.

When I say things out of sadness or fear or frustration, I’m usually just emoting, selfishly and without thinking about what’s true.

That is to say: when I don’t care enough to watch my words, everything coming out of my mouth is saying “Truth be damned.”

No, I’m not talking about banishing the word “gosh” from your vocabulary.

But maybe we can make an effort to stop perjuring ourselves so often?

Maybe we can try saying what we really mean:

“If the Lord wills it, He will work a miracle.”

“I really, really want Trump to win the election because I think Joe Biden will make a bad President.

“I feel like saying angry words right now.”

(Or, more specifically in my case: “I’m so frustrated right now that I want to blame everyone else in the house for this mess, even though I know deep down it won’t make me feel much better.”)

True, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue as quickly and smoothly as, “Y’all are driving me crazy!” But maybe that’s the point.

Maybe that’s why James told his readers to be “slow to speak” and the writer of Proverbs said “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life.”

I know how tempting it is to unload the first thing that pops into our head when we feel Big Feelings. But, for the love of God, can we try to get a grip on our careless declarations? (See what I did there? I intentionally chose a forceful phrase that included God’s name. Isn’t that clever?)

THINK about what you’re typing and talking about today.


“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak …” Matthew 12:3

A Humble Plea to Be More Like Me

Hello, fellow Christians.

I am a Millenial woman, here to tell you that I USED to be an extremist (like you)–but then I became more moderate (like Jesus is), and you should do that, too.

Let me explain.

I noticed that you are currently disagreeing with somebody over something, and it reminds me of a time when I used to disagree with people, too. But, now that I’m walking more closely with Jesus, disagreement makes me uncomfortable. You see, back when I used to do what you’re currently doing, I was wrong.

When I realized that disagreeing with people made me unpopular, I stopped disagreeing as much as possible and started taking the Middle-Of-The-Road instead! What does it mean to take the middle of the road? Well, it means you can always count on me to play the referee every time there’s a Theological argument. I will butt in and remind everyone that what you’re saying may be TRUE–but the TONE is what matters most…

My battle cry is “Love, love, love, love, love.” This may not seem very helpful in the midst of a conversation about the moral consequences of killing babies or the rise of racism in the black church or whether it’s okay for Christians to send money to corporations distributing child pornography.

But, trust me, these issues are not as important as you Extremists think they are.

Therefore, YOU NEED TO COME TO THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD WITH ME! If you just stop worrying about those human troubles and start focusing on “love” instead, it will make the world a better place. If we all become referees, there will be no one left to wrestle. See?

Wouldn’t that be amazing?!

Look at all the fighting out there! Look at the way iron is rubbing against iron! Look at all of those SPARKS! (You know, the unchurched people of the world can see our sparks, and they’re not very impressed.)

Again, I hope you can hear the LOVE in my voice, as I plead with you to lay down your weapons. Out of love for the poor and love for the marginalize and love for the Church and love for animals–out of love for jazz music and pumpkin spice and puppies and Jesus: I bid you to join me here, in the Holy Center.

Here, in the middle, you will find the answers I didn’t have before, back when I believed some things were worth fighting for. Here, in the middle, our Lord sits squarely on a fence gently calling you to do the same. Here, in the middle, there is a comfort zone of lukewarm pacifism, which is about a million times more spiritually beneficial than the FIRES you keep starting out there in Extremist Land.

Just look at the fires, people! I don’t know about you, but my faith is more precious than gold, and it just can’t handle all that fire…

So, in closing, please think of people like me before you decide to engage in a heated disagreement, which could easily become a fire. We don’t like it. It breaks our hearts. And I’m pretty sure it breaks Jesus’ heart, too, because his feelings almost always match mine.

I love you, and I love poor people, and I love the police, and I love people who distribute child porn, and I love racists, and I love EVERYONE.

So, share this post with all of your loving friends, and together, we will show the world the proper way to be Christian… the Good Way… the Middle Way…

Love, love, love!

-Amanda

———–

For more on a similar topic, check out this podcast episode about the Idol of “Centrism” and needing to be viewed as “middle-of-the-road.” (That part of the discussion is just after the 34:00 mark.) https://branyancomedy.libsyn.com/war-on-drugs-is-not-racist-and-the-sin-of-centrism

Vote for Rape; Reduce Rapes

It has been over three years since I wrote THIS blog post unpacking a conversation I had with my militant Atheist troll (“Ark”). Over the course of a couple days, I tried to help Ark understand that merely reducing the overall number of abortions is NOT a Christian’s goal.

Our goal is to tell the truth about sin and immorality, and then let the chips fall where they may.

To help him wrap his mind around the problem with LEGALIZING something we know to be immoral, I asked him this question, repeatedly:

Would you “decriminalize” (legalize) rape, if it caused the numbers of rapes to go down?

As you can imagine, that question made him very uncomfortable, and he never really answered it. (You can click on the link above to read the dialog–which continued into the comment section.)

Unfortunately, it turns out that angry, God-hating Atheists are not the only ones who think it’s okay to support murder. Even some Christians believe the end-justifies-the-means.

Their reasoning goes like this: if the raw number of abortions goes down when a Democrat is in the Oval Office, then I should vote for the Pro-Abortion party in order to slow the occurrences of abortion!

If you see this type of justification from Pragmatic Christians, you can try using my question on them, too.

Ask Christians if they would vote for the Pro-Rape Party, if someone convinced them it would statistically reduce the number of reported rapes.

Perhaps you will see this cluster of statistics making it’s way around the internet…

Sorry it’s blurry. This is a screenshot of a photo.

If someone explains that they’re voting for Democrats because the best way to reduce abortions is by supporting abortions, then you can have this conversation:

Start with this question…
Wait for “Red” to respond, like she did here.
I rephrased my question, and then Red turned it around again.
Just keep repeating the question to find out whether these Pro-Choicers will take their reasoning to the logical conclusion…

Now, it bears mentioning the misleading nature of the original statistics. You can’t calculate effects of abortion policy from looking at how many total abortions occurred during each party’s occupation of the White House. You have to look at State and local government make-up. You have to look at which policies were actually signed into law. You can to consider whether there was a war or natural disaster, which could effect the economy… and a hundred other variables!

In fact, even SNOPES (which is a left-leaning website) has debunked the claim that abortions fall during Democratic presidencies and rise during Republican ones.

But the trustworthiness of the numbers doesn’t really matter, if we’re dealing with a bunch of Christians who admit they are willing to tell little “white lies” when they think it’s going to get the result they want. If a Christian believes it’s okay to ally themselves with Death and Rape–then they won’t mind sharing a meme that uses manipulated math, either!

So, first you need to determine whether they care about the truth.

Let’s assume the abortion rate DOES go down, when we make it totally legal to kill your baby. And let’s assume the rate of sexual assault goes down when we make tell men it’s “their body; their choice”…

Does that mean it’s okay to legalize Immorality?


As a quick addendum, I’m concerned that Christians don’t value the Truth as much as they once did. When my sister was getting married, one of the church ladies actually told her, “You can’t tell your husband what you really think! You need to make him believe it’s his idea!”

My sister pushed back by saying, “I’d rather not make things complicated with my husband; I’ll tell him the truth because it’s better than playing mind games.”

And the Church Lady replied, “Oh, honey, I haven’t managed to stay married for more than 35 years by telling the truth!”

I’m concerned that this isn’t being called for what it really is, in Christian circles: this is LYING and MANIPULATION.

This “strategy” of telling your husbands whatever you have to tell them, to control their behavior, is LYING and MANIPULATION.

This “strategy” of telling your children whatever you have to tell them, to control their sexual behavior, is LYING and MANIPULATION.

And the “strategy” of voting for the Pro-Murder party or the Pro-Rape party, because you think you will get the results you want in the end, is LYING and MANIPULATION.

Keep in mind that some Christian women have been getting away with this for decades. It could help explain why they are making a simple thing so complicated in voting for the Pro-Abortion party (while still claiming to be against abortion).

Well, for some of them, their actions haven’t matched their words for over 35 years.

And they believe that’s what Jesus would do!

To the Ladies at My Church

Dear Women of Fairfield,

Nobody asked me to write this.  (And I didn’t ask for permission, either.)  I just felt burdened by something weighing on my mind. And since I’M the one with the burden, I figured I needed to be the one who started the conversation.

Sisters, I’m concerned for the emotional health of our daughters.

I’m concerned that even the ministries which are trying to target the needs of young girls are going about it the wrong way. And I’m concerned that we’re letting young ladies grow up to be women who are controlled by their emotions–instead of giving them resources to bring their emotions under God’s control.

I once heard emotions described as “horses” that God gives us, to serve him.

Used correctly, they can take us where we need to go quickly. (And they can be fun!)

But, without the proper training, they can run off—with us clinging helplessly to their backs!—putting us in danger of hurting ourselves AND everyone around us.

Like horses, feelings are not all “good” or all “bad” by themselves.   Also, we can’t always control when they try to jump or buck or stampede. But, a young Christian girl who wants to grow into a wise WOMAN of God must be taught the skills to strive for emotional maturity and bring those horses into submission.

Usually we recognize there are certain temptations that tend to affect boys. I believe our sons are being taught to guard their eyes from lewd images and to use their God-given muscles to protect, rather than to hurt, their families.

But can we think of “female” sins and temptations to warn our daughters about?

When was the last time you had a conversation among women about the pitfalls WE AND OUR DAUGHTERS must avoid?  Do you know a young woman who feels like she’s going crazy because she’s restless, frustrated, sad, or generally struggling with negative emotions, and none of the “professionals” seem able to help?  (Side note: that was totally ME not very long ago…)

These are the things I want Women of God to begin addressing, and I believe it can start with regular conversations between women at Fairfield.  Paul says that older women must “be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Maybe reading about being busy at home or subject to your husband makes a few of your “horses” try to buck and run.  😉  If so, that’s okay!  I want to open the dialog about how it should look, practically, to be a reverent woman of God in 2020—and how we can keep our cool, have spiritual discernmetn, make our husbands look good, and model self-control for our children and grandchildren…

I’m formally inviting you to my home.

Literally, any time you’re able to drop by, you are welcome to be part of everyday life.   But specifically: every Wednesday, from 10:00am through 5:00pm. And every Sunday, from Noon to 5:00pm.  If you come during these times, you’re almost guaranteed to meet other sisters in Christ here.

These weekly family gatherings are “Open House Style.” My sisters come and go as needed, they bring their children, and we encourage each other to keep the faith. We talk about anything/everything that’s on our minds, while our kids play.  We bring whatever we have in our fridges to share for lunch, and we often end up having dinner together as well because no one wants to leave.

The kids sometimes fight.

Toys and furniture sometimes get broken.

And sometimes we disagree sharply about something and our horses want to run off screaming.  😊

But we are deeply, deeply committed to holding each other accountable and training our children, so that someday they can be leaders rather than victims of their own sin natures.

Does this sound like something you want to be a part of?

Then join us!   Contact me directly for my address.

You don’t have to call. You don’t have to worry that it might be awkward. (It will be, at first, but we’ll work through it…)   If you want to help us rock some cradles and rule the world, then you belong.

Reach out if you don’t have my address.  Let’s reclaim Femininity and show our daughters how real “girl power” can look.

Yours in Christ,

Mandy (Branyan) McKinney