An Apology Letter Your Pastor Can Use

It seems pastors and leaders everywhere are being asked to apologize for participating in systemic racism.  If they don’t repent (and, often, even when they DO repent) they will be “cancelled.”

If you are a white Christian, or if you are a black Christian who values biblical unity above racial tribalism, then you WILL be asked to apologize for vague grievances eventually.  Perhaps you have been asked already.

You cannot be Progressive and compassionate and careful enough.   Eventually, you will be accosted by a group of people who have embraced religious, “Anti-Racist” doctrine, deeply rooted in Critical Theory.  (See this 3-part documentary about the riots at a Liberal Arts college which led to the hunting of a Progressive professor: Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3)

I’m not going to examine the problems with Critical Theory in this blog post.   You can read my declaration that I’m STILL Not a Feminist for some resources to get you started.  But, here, I’m simply going to give one important piece of advice for when (not if, but WHEN) you are told to apologize for offending the Anti-Racist religion.

Do. Not. Give. In. 

Be careful not to grow angry and bitter, of course.   In fact, I highly recommend this Important Letter to White People (note: it’s not what you may think!).  This is good advice to be careful not to “take the bait” of reacting with defensiveness and Reactionary Racism because growing bitter in return won’t help anyone.

But–DO NOT APOLOGIZE TO THE MOB, EITHER.

Instead, if you simply MUST say “sorry” for something, I have drafted a letter you can feel free to borrow and share as needed, for a ready response to the Cancel Culture mob.

—-

Dear Reconciliation Activists:

As a follower of Christ and a lover of Justice, I am truly, deeply sorry for several things which I would like to list here…

#1.   I am sorry if I have ever indicated a person’s skin color matters more than their relationship with God.

#2.   I am sorry that you are struggling with negative feelings toward me and/or my ministry.

#3.   I am sorry that you have been led to believe my ministry exists to make you feel a certain way.

Let me be clear:  I am not interested in a pop-psych or pop-sociological explanation about how the world works.   I want to glorify God, by seeking his objective Truth and applying his holy Word to every part of my life.

If you’re not speaking the Truth of God, I don’t want to hear from you.  And if you DO want to make a Truth claim, then you will be asked to back it up with evidence and logic and consistency.   (I’m sorry if you think these things were “invented by white people,” and that it would automatically be a bad thing, if they were.)

In my church/ministry, we appeal to a Higher Authority, and–I’m sorry to say–it isn’t your Lived Experience. 

If you would like to come and learn what I believe about God and Scripture and Sin and True Justice, then individuals of all beliefs and ethnic backgrounds are welcome to dialog with me.

But if you would like to come and dismantle the Unity in Christ that Christians have spent centuries working toward, then…I’m sorry, you are going to be disappointed.

ALL human prejudice must be left at the foot of the cross, including YOUR prejudice against white people. This is for your own good AND for the good of the people in the Church who are eagerly awaiting to become your Brothers and Sisters. Your bitterness and divisive Theology will destroy all of us.

This is not about you.

It’s about Jesus.

I’m truly, deeply, overwhelmingly sorry that you have ever been told it’s YOU who fully understands, defines, and executes “justice.”

With love and allegiance to the Living Savior,

—Amanda McKinney

Discernment Practice: How Should Christians Respond to THIS?

Imagine you are a church leader, and one of the members of your congregation tells you this story:

“I never kept a journal, but over a ten-year period, I realized that Benjamin’s moods occurred in six-week cycles. It went like this: Explosive, violent raging that lasted from ten minutes to several hours, then Silence that lasted for two to five days, then Friendly/cheerful/affectionate behavior that would last three or four days. (When things were going well, Benjamin would apologize and even ask me to find out what might be causing his “crazy behavior.”) But then there would be a long deterioration that lasted four to ten weeks. Ben would become increasingly more critical, condemning, and short-tempered. He would deny his earlier apologetic remarks. Finally, there would be an angry explosion, and the cycle would repeat anew. Once I recognized the patterns, I knew what to expect. This made things feel more manageable for me.”

–From the book “Stop Walking on Eggshells”

This sounds like pretty obvious abuse, right?

But what if I told you this story was actually written by a man–about his wife, Barbara–and I changed the genders?

Does it feel a little weirder now, calling Barbara “abusive” when you don’t know her?  Are you wondering whether there is more to the story? (If Barbara has a different perspective on their marriage relationship, would it be difficult to decide who to trust?) 

These are just a few of the questions we should be asking ourselves as we strive to be discerning Christians and wise spiritual counselors.  

Oh, I know, we don’t always think about our role as counselors. We like to think it’s only a job for licensed professionals with nameplates on their door and paying clientele.

But, the truth is, every single person in the world has been called to give “advice” at one time or another, and we are even more regular Counselors with the people who are closest to us:  our spouses, our children, our sisters/brothers, and our best friends.

At some point, we all need to acknowledge how difficult it can be to know WHAT’S TRUE, when we’re faced with a He-Said/She-Said situation and being asked for our counsel.  

Here’s another case study–this time borrowed from the Biblical Counseling Coalition website.  It says:

“After listening to each girl express her thoughts and questions, I asked them: “What would you want to say to your mother?” One of the girls said she wanted to know why her mother was acting contrary to what she had taught them in the past. (The child referred to Mom as a “liar” a lot.) Then her sister, a precocious child who knew the Bible well, replied that she was pretty sure Leviticus had something to say about how wives should stay with their husbands. Inwardly, I was both surprised by her response and impressed with her biblical knowledge.

In my interactions with the girls that day and in the previous sessions, it was clear…the girls are confused by their mother’s actions, but they love her. It hurts them that Mommy claims not to love Daddy anymore. The girls feel confused because their mother has become a very different person from the person in their earlier memories. She used to tell the children that her marriage vows were important.

Throughout their earlier childhood, their mother would sing Bible songs and teach them Scripture verses. She was their care-giver and nurterer, but now she had deserted the family. Now, she still quotes Scripture, but uses texts to justify her sinful decisions… People who know this mother are shocked by what has happened, but it is a reminder that all of us are prone to wander. This woman’s wayward life could happen to anyone. It is by God’s grace that believers are in Christ (Eph 2:8, 1 Cor 15:10). People could try to make sense of the situation, learning what happened in this woman’s life, discovering what went wrong, but, in the end, sin never makes sense…”

Does this story seem even less reliable, or is that just my opinion?

How does it feel to hear two little girls talk critically about their mother?

Do you wonder whether they have been swayed or coached at all?

Would your impressions change if I told you I switched the genders on THIS story, too?…

Yes, if you click on that link above and read the original case study, it’s about a man who abandons his wife.  The girls repeatedly refer to him as a liar, and everyone in the community is shocked by the way his sin has transformed him from a Bible-quoting leader into a Bible-quoting monster.

Read it again.

Does it seem to make more sense when the man is doing the sinning and the woman is the one being abandoned?

—-

Maybe your answers to these questions are different than mine.

This is just a little thought experiment to learn about ourselves and our own possible blind spots or biases.

Being an impartial judge is HARD. (It’s so hard, in fact, that only God Himself gets it exactly right all of the time.) 

But, may we all continue to strive toward impartiality, so that we can be wise servants of God and seekers of Truth.   Not if–but when–we are called upon to offer godly counsel, may we seek the help of the Holy Counselor, to help us sort out these messes.

Update: I’m STILL Not a Feminist

Awhile ago, I believed that Feminism was the most fearsome False Religion facing the Church.  (This was before I learned the term “Critical Theory.”)  I could see the similarities between Feminism and Black Power movements and LGBT activism–but I didn’t know there was a word to unify all of those beliefs into a single worldview…

I only knew that I was a woman who could NOT agree with the religious nature of Feminism, and so I wrote about it a lot. 

The last couple weeks, we’ve heard much about being “Anti-Racist,” which is basically the race version of Feminism.  (We probably agree that another name for Feminism could be “Anti-Misogyny,” right?) To become an Anti-Racist assumes all light-skinned people have to “unlearn” racism, just as Feminism assumes all males need to “unlearn” their bias against women.

Men have more hegemonic power than women.

Whites have more hegemonic power than Blacks.

Heterosexuals have more hegemonic power than people who are sexually attracted to members of the same gender…
etc.

These core beliefs provide the foundation of Critical Theory.

And, on top of those fundamentals, the Critical Theorists have constructed many Commandments and customs:

#1.  Don’t “whitesplain” or “mansplain.”  Do not explain racism/sexism to an Oppressed Person. Do not explain how the microaggression which bothers them was actually just someone being nice. Do not explain how a particular injustice isn’t about race or gender. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but you can avoid it by maintaining a posture of active listening.
#2. Don’t equate impact with intent. Yes, we all know your heart was in the right place and you meant well. But your words or behavior had a negative impact on those around you, and that’s what matters. Apologize and do better next time.
#3. Don’t demand proof of an Oppressed Person’s lived experience or try to counter their narrative with the experience of another Oppressed Person. Systemic, institutional racism/sexism exists, no matter what anyone else says.
#4. Do not chastise Oppressed People (or dismiss their message) because they express their grief, fear, or anger in ways you deem “inappropriate.” Understand that historically, we Powerful People have silenced voices of dissent with our cultural idol of “niceness.” Provide space for POCs to wail, cuss, or even yell at you. Jesus didn’t hold back when he saw hypocrisy and oppression; so women shouldn’t have to either.

#5. Don’t get defensive when you are called out for any of the above. When a POC or a woman says that your words/tone/behavior are racist/oppressive/triggering, you stop. Don’t try to explain yourself. Don’t become passive-aggressive or sarcastic. Don’t leave in a huff. (It may be helpful, however, to inconspicuously step outside/go to the restroom and take a deep breath.) Remain cognizant of the dynamics of white fragility and toxic masculinity, and take note of how it usually shows up in you.

I didn’t write these Commandments, so please don’t think I’m exagerrating or trying to make this Other Religion sound more extreme than it is.

I took these warnings directly from a public note about “Whiteness 101,” posted on the “Be the Bridge” group on Facebook, and then I added the references to women and Feminism.  (Again: Anti-Racism and Feminism are basically two denominations of the same religion.)

If you’d like to read more about “Be The Bridge” specifically, you can start with this review by Neil Shenvi.

But I hope what you’ve seen from these “rules” is enough to help you understand why I’m grossed out by the cult of Critical Theory.

For me, seeing the way Feminists start with the wrong diagnosis and then try to correct supposed injustice in the culture by adopting EQUALLY SEXIST/ABUSIVE techniques was enough to convince me I AM NOT A FEMINIST.

And, I do my part to call out the Tribalism whenever I see it, by telling anyone who claims to be a Feminist that they don’t speak for me.   A woman who believes that systemic sexism exists may certainly share her opinions wherever she wants.

But don’t assume that she and I are on the “same team” just because the word “female” is buried in her religion’s name.

I don’t want there to be any confusion between the Feminist’s values and my Christian ones.

Thus, as the ugly fruit of Critical Theory begins to grow on the trees of its faithful, I’m only more convinced than ever that Feminism is a religion with nothing of value to offer me. 

We’re Okay Because…

First, I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of prayers and understanding, after my last blog post sharing some of the hellish events my family has endured recently.

Unfortunately, due to the length of the post, I didn’t have much room to celebrate the positive and uplifting things God is doing in our lives, despite the suffering.

I wrote to many of you directly and insisted that we really are doing “okay”–and that we’ve found the peace that surpasses understanding has come through in a supernatural way.

But I’ve been meaning to turn those feelings of gratitude into a fleshed-out blogpost for awhile. So here we go…

#1.  We’re “okay” because this isn’t the first time we’ve dealt with something really, really hard. When my second child was born, I struggled with crushing insomnia and suicidal thoughts as a result of postpartum anxiety/depression. At the time, I thought I’d never get through it.  I couldn’t imagine anything worse.  But–now–I can see God’s hand at work through the whole thing.  He led me through a deep darkness which I never would have chosen for myself, but it taught me some lessons (about control and submission and idolatry and faith) that I may not have been willing to learn without the pain.  Looking back, I’m exceedingly grateful for the losses I’ve had to endure, which have helped to prepare me for future suffering.

#2. We’re “okay” because we know that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against unseen forces in the spiritual realm…  and we’re not the Commanders in charge.    All we need to do is obey orders–making one choice to glorify God at a time–and He handles the bulk of the strategizing and mobilizing.   When we get overwhelmed or depressed or angry or defeated, we simply need to repent of trying to do God’s job and get back into formation.   We are being used BY HIM; not the other way around.  The only time we need to panic is when we start (wrongly) believing God needs us to strategize and mobilize HIM.

#3. We’re “okay” because God has graciously surrounded us with like-minded brothers/sisters, to remind us that WE ARE NOT ALONE.  Just when we’re tempted to believe the entire world has gone insane, God gives us a Present in the form of Soul Mates…

I’m not talking about romantic lovers or someone we find physically attractive.

I’m talking about people who speak our spiritual language and already hold the same values/beliefs we do, without having to start at the beginning and explain ourselves in a tedious and exhausting kind of way.  These are people with whom the conversation is easy because they just “get” us.  Or, they write something and share it at the perfect time, bringing instant relief, because it sums up everything we’ve been trying to say ourselves.

The number of Soul Mates God has revealed to me the last few weeks has been incredible, and I can’t even begin to highlight all of them.

But I’ll collect just a teeny, tiny list of articles, interviews, and videos which have encouraged me lately. They have reminded me that there are still intelligent, Justice-minded, Truth-loving humans of all colors, shapes, ages, and backgrounds fighting the same fight:

-Darrel B. Harrison and Virgil Walker (of the Just Thinking podcast).  This is an interview conducted by George Lawson, discussing the Reformed view of Race, Justice, and the Gospel.  (Spoiler:  The video features three black men agreeing that “race” is a pseudo-scientific construct, and people should find a more biblical way to discuss “racism.”)

-Center for Biblical Unity.  This new group was brought to my attention by Alisa Childers (who also deserves recognition as a Soul Mate).   The Center for Biblical Unity strives to bring the conversation of Justice back to Christ, in whom we find our only hope of true reconciliation.

Peter Heck has been a good friend of my family’s for a long time, and you should follow his column on Disrn.  He has written a lot of good things lately, but I especially appreciated this article “A Humble Request For Those of Us Who Believe Black Lives Matter.

Rochadd Hendrix and Samuel Sey are two brothers in Christ whose Facebook pages I found thanks to their interaction on Darrel B. Harrison’s page (see above). You can see an example of one of Rochadd’s posts by clicking here.  And one of Samuel’s is highlighted here.

Anonymous Berkeley professor. Apparently I don’t need to know a person’s name, age, or gender to resonate with their message.   Let’s be honest, we don’t even know if the author of this post REALLY IS a professor in the history department at Berkeley.  But doesn’t matter very much to me. This is still the best thing I’ve read in a long time:   Click Here for the Open Letter.

Matt Walsh’s article, We are Not United.     In this article, Matt talks about the huge divide between various groups within the United States, which doesn’t sound encouraging at first. But it’s actually nice to hear someone else is noticing this problem, and it makes me feel better about intentionally focusing on MY TRIBE and wasting less time trying to build bridges toward people who aren’t interested.  Just because someone is a fellow citizen of the United States does not mean I must subject myself to their evil philosophies and marinate in any selfish, backward religious practices. Feminists and Critical Theorists and Activists and Leftists might as well live on another planet. Thus, I agree with Matt that I will not be an ally of anyone who believes gender is a construct and monuments should be destroyed and healthcare involves women killing their preborn babies, etc…

Natasha Crain:     This article warning Christians of the ways Critical Theory is taking over the Church was originally published on Natasha’s website. But it has been down for several days, and her IT personnel suspects a cyber attack. If you want to read it–and I highly recommend it–you can find the text in this Facebook note.

A Huge Number of Personal Friends/Family, who have engaged with me in much-needed Soul Conversations recently.   I don’t want to embarass anyone. But I’ve been blessed lately by Jason and Lisa, Chris, Bethany, Tabby/Megan/Marla (my sisters in Christ and in flesh!), Kyrsti, the elders at my church, Grandma Turbo, Pkarlgh (and all of his many personas/pseudonyms), and of course my dad, John, and my husband, Luke.   All of you have been there to offer just a little bit of understanding when being understood is what I craved the most.

You’re loved!

——-

It’s because of all these people and all these Truths that I can honestly say: I’m okay!  Not that I will be okay someday, when this or that works out the way I want… But I am okay RIGHT NOW, to the glory of God.

A wish a sincere thanks to everyone who is allowing the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and has therefore become an indispensable part of my Community…my Tribe…the Body of Christ…the Family of God…

All honor and praise and power be His!

Our Fears Reveal Who Our Savior Is

This was hard to write.  I have been wanting to explain my long hiatus, but it has been difficult to decide what to include and what to leave out.  God–just help me tell the Truth and TRUST YOU to do the rest…  Help me rest in the knowledge that my clarity of thought and having things figured out doesn’t save me.  YOU do. 

————–

My hair is falling out in clumps right now.   That’s not a metaphor or some other figure of speech.  I mean: I just got out of the shower, and everytime I try to shampoo or condition, I pull away clumps of my own hair.  The tub drain is full of it.

After drying off, I draped a T-shirt and sweatpants over my body, like sheets hanging on a clothes line.  I’m swimming in my Pajama Uniform because my loss of appetite combined with intermittent diarrhea leads to drastic weight loss.

This is how my body handles emotional fatigue and anxiety.  

So, why have I been so worked up?

Well, by most standards, the last couple months have been a series of nightmares–and, unfortunately, I’m not JUST talking about novel viruses and locusts and sacrificing the family business on the altar of Government hysteria. I have written almost nothing about the personal Hell I have been facing, while the Doomsday News continues to feed Fears in the background.  

It started with online threats against my loved ones–which is becoming increasingly normal for people who write about the culture on the internet…

In this case, my dad endured a solid two weeks of baseless claims and proud death wishes, which spilled onto me because I’m one of the administrators of his Facebook page.   There’s no way to give the background succinctly or to convey the depth and breadth of the vitriol, but here’s just a taste of what was directed at me: 

5.14.20 Please God Take This Family (EDIT)

5.14.20 CPS Call

It went on and on and on…  via email and private messages and even a couple calls to the business phone.

One Mobster went so far as to stalk everyone connected to my dad, spending HOURS going through the Facebook profiles of my husband and sister… I got a text message from Tabby at 10:30pm, freaked out and not knowing what was going on because she had 52 notifications from a complete stranger, “laugh reacting”  baby photos of my niece:

5.14.20 Rebecca Anderson Crazy

 

So, in the middle of this unsettling behavior by countless, unhinged strangers, it was impossible not to be affected spiritually/emotionally by the evil onslaught:

4.22.20 I Hope Im There to See It

5.30.20 Wanna Watch Your Parents Die

While all of this was being drilled into our heads, it become clear that we were in need of a safer place to share our blog posts and memes, because Facebook takes the side of the Violent Troll Hoarde.  Our platform was censored multiple times (and, even as of today, we’re still unable to live stream, because Dad posted a meme with Hitler’s likeness, saying “Mandatory Quarantine is the Reich thing to do.”)   Yep.  We’re being reported to DCS and put in Facebook jail over a picture of Hitler. 

And while trying to figure out what to do when (inevitably) we are permanently banned from our social media platform–the systemic Injustices just kept rolling in…

My family learned first-hand that the social services system is just as broken as Facebook’s “hate speech” algorithms… Our Government’s way of handling problems/reports is just as cold and unreliable as the robots that determine what can and can’t be said on the Internet. 

At the beginning of May, my nephew had been asleep in his infant seat on the countertop, when he woke up, arched his back, and wiggled to the floor.  He appeared to be okay, but I told my sister to call his pediatrician, just in case. And the pediatrician referred her to the ER for an X-Ray and CAT Scan, both of which showed he was fine.  There wasn’t a scratch or a bruise anywhere on the kid’s body.  Buuuut…. Unfortunately, my sister is a young, wiry, soft-spoken white girl who was wearing sweatpants and a messy bun that day.   She came to the hospital without her husband because the COVID restrictions said “only one parent.” So, some anonymous Emergency Room Nurse didn’t even wait to do the X-Ray before calling the Department of Child Services and reporting possible neglect.

Skinny white girl? Rough neighborhood? She’s probably a crack whore who can’t keep her kids safe, right?

When the DCS social worker arrived, she told my sister bluntly, “I don’t know why the hospital called us when he’s not hurt.”  But they still had to come to my house and take pictures. They went to my sister’s house and took pictures.  They took pictures of her older child and an old scab on the baby’s forehead.

And, through internet searches, eventually we discovered that even UNSUBSTANTIATED reports in Indiana would remain in our state’s permanent records for 24 years and could be used against us if another UNSUBSTANTIATED claim was ever made. 

That’s when I first started losing sleep, trying to decide what I would do and who I would trust when Injustice happened to the people I love…

There were hundreds of strangers online telling us we were awful humans who deserved to be punished, so I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if enough of those strangers tried to recruit the State to silence us the way Facebook had.

My sister, understandably, said she will never again feel safe taking one of her children to the ER “just in case.”  She will ALWAYS wonder whether someone will file a false report.

But that wasn’t even the end of our encounters with Government officials this season…

Just a little more than a week after my nephew’s hospital visit, my 9-year-old daughter told us something no parent EVER wants to hear.

As my husband tucked her in for bed on May 8th, Cami suddenly fell apart and sobbed, “Something happened outside, but I don’t want to tell you!!!” 

Alarmed, my husband asked her what was wrong, but it took another minute or two while Cami struggled to find the courage and the right words.

Then our firstborn baby said: “D_____ made me do sex with him.”

D_____ is the 14-year-old neighbor boy. 

I wish I could describe the buzz of racing thoughts and emotion as we tried to figure out what to do next.   Is there a manual or a flow chart for this???

Who’s the first person you should tell, when your daughter says the neighbor lured her out of the yard and shoved his finger inside her?

Ideally, you’re supposed to call “The Authorities” for Justice when you’ve been victimized. But I couldn’t help wondering whether “The Authorities” would blame US for letting the 9-year-old play in the backyard unsupervised.  How would it look, having DCS at my house TWICE in two weeks?  Would our homeschool be investigated? Would we be charged because some family members visited, while our city was still locked down for the Virus? Would we be told that nothing could be done about D_______, because he has diagnosed behavior disorders, so all he needs is more medication?

So many thoughts.

Such a feeling of helplessness no matter which path I took. 

I felt confident we could help Cami understand that she’s not to blame and then counsel her through the fear and embarassment. But, are we allowed to handle her trauma as a family?…or do we HAVE to call “The Authorities” to prove we’re not trying to hide anything?

Within a few minutes, I decided we needed to file a police report because it seemed we were expected to do that…but not really because I felt like it was going to solve any root problems with D_________. 

And then I had to tell my daughter that she needed to find the courage to describe what happened AGAIN—this time speaking to a perfect stranger in a uniform–because (as I explained) they were going to try to help… 

I had to say this to her, even though I’m not convinced myself that the State is able to “help” in any meaningful way. 

—– 

So, the last few weeks, I haven’t known how to condense my many trains of thought into a succinct blog post.  

I’m losing sleep and losing hair and trying to find just a little peace and security in an age where EVERYONE seems to be anxious and angry about everything…

There have been a million different blog topics that have occurred to me lately:  

-The ways we use mental “disorders” to excuse abuse

-The way we create “systems” to solve problems, and end up making them worse

-The way the Church acts as a middle man to call the “Professionals,” but we don’t offer many answers ourselves

-The way the media insists certain people have MORE of a right to feel violated and afraid than my family does

I want to write the words that will unite all of humanity, so we can understand each other perfectly and live in a glorious utopia, free of Bad Feelings, for the rest of eternity.

And I could spend weeks trying. 

But, what I have to ask myself now is: “What am I really afraid of?” ….then I need to be prepared for a hard answer.

Am I afraid that I’ll lose my reputation and lose all my friends?

Yeah–probably. 

Am I afraid I’ll be the victim of an Unjust system that punishes good parents and makes excuses for terrible ones?

Definitely–for sure. 

Do I worry that I’ll be misunderstood by everyone–including the people I THOUGHT were part of my “tribe”–and no amount of careful blog-writing and truth-telling will save me from that pain?

Yeah–apparently I am. 

…So, maybe I’ve been depending on friends and the State and my Writing Skills to be my Saviors from trouble, instead of submitting to God’s will?

Ouch.

Maybe my fears are revealing where my Fallen Idols have been? 

I need to be honest about why I’m so worried about saying things “exactly the right way.” Is it because I want to glorify God with the gift of communication He has given me and be used as a small part of His big plan?

I wish.

But, in truth, I’ve been trying to write the words that will GUARANTEE to protect my family from Injustice, because I don’t trust that God will be enough for us when we suffer. 

Do I want to have a “tribe” of loyal friends because I want to be a blessing to them and encourage them in the Truth?  No…   

To be honest, I want friends for the sheer numbers, to make me feel more powerful because it’s hard to walk onto the battlefield of life without a giant, visible army. 

Am I helping anybody by worrying about being misunderstood, or worrying about being stalked/threatened, or worrying about being deplatformed, or worrying that my kids won’t get a hashtag and national attention when they encounter Injustice because nobody feels like rioting for a no-name, homeschooled white girl?

No. 

And shame on me for putting my hope in “national attention” anyway. 

I confess that I’ve been sinning at the root of my fears.  I’ve been binging Scary, Negative News and letting myself be carried by “what ifs” and inspired by the anger of equally-anxious mothers all around me.

I’ve been tempted to believe there’s something I can do to fix “the System” all by myself, if I correct enough Bad Reasoning on Facebook. 

I haven’t been trusting that God has a plan for me and my loved ones, whether I’m enjoying the privilege of a beach vacation with my perfectly healthy children…or whether the FBI forces their way in and burns all of us alive, and then the whole thing is lied about by the media. 

It’s not my world to control–and nothing I do will change that. Activism cannot save me. 

God’s love and his Providence is where I choose to place my hope.  


I need to lay off the stories about homeschoolers having their children taken away and white boys being shot by police and smalltown Christians having their small businesses closed by false accusations from godless heathens…. 

Or, at the very least, I need to recognize the ways these stories have led me to build IDOLS in the hope of protecting myself. 

 So how about you?   

Have you been watching too many violent videos and seeing your son’s face on them lately?   Are you feeling kind of hopeless and out-of-control, in a world where everyone is a conspiracy theorist and it’s hard to know what’s true? (Are you losing a little hair and still can’t turn off the Doomsday Documenataries, like me?)   

I’d like to suggest, humbly, that you should pay attention to those emotions because they reveal who we think is In Charge. 

Who are we trusting to sort out the messes in our lives? 

Who are we trusting to bring about Justice?  (And if it doesn’t happen on our time table or in the manner we expect, are we going to fall apart?  Riot in the street?  Blame Facebook?   DO SOMETHING to FIX IT?)

I understand the temptation completely… 

Let’s both repent of turning to saviors that make our flesh feel better (temporarily), but cannot save our souls.


P.S. Since this post is already VERY LONG, I’m stopping it here. 🙂  But I want everyone to know that I’m open to questions and comments about the many things I’ve had to leave out.   One thing I want my kids to understand is that the Truth sets us free.  That’s why I’m proud of Cami for finding the courage to tell us the truth about what happened to her.  We told the truth to the nurses at the hospital and to the police officer in our living room and to the elders at our church.   We don’t regret telling the truth, even when the result doesn’t seem fair. 

…And we are happy to share the truth with whoever asks.   That is, as long as the social media algorithms allow us. 😉 

The Government is a Controlling Husband, and Christians are Defending Him…

I’ve gotten myself in trouble many times when discussing sacrifice and submission in the context of Christian marriages.

I’m told that quoting Scripture only “perpetuates abuse,” because countless men have used the Bible to keep their wives enslaved.

Apparently, we shouldn’t encourage Christian women to assume the best of their husbands and to cooperate with their husbands. We should NOT use the word “selfish” to describe a woman’s feelings, even if it appears her husband is only trying to balance what’s best for the whole family, with no respect in return.

Yet, when it comes to our Collective, Federal Husband–(that is to say, the U.S. Government)–suddenly the Bible verses about Submission are coming back into style.

Themes like “learning obedience through suffering” and “submitting to governing authorities” and being “content in all circumstances” are getting passed around on social media as if we didn’t have a ready excuse for ignoring all of them, like, a year ago, when we attended the Women’s March.

If the same people who are trying to liberate women from their husband’s yolk could ALSO speak out against the Domineering Governors taking away Americans’ rights, that would be great.

I don’t see the point of dismantling Christian Authoritarianism just to promote the State version. 

Oh, I know there are people being abused worse than Americans currently are. But why does that make the Controlling Behavior okay?

And I know Governors are abusing multiple thousands of people all at once, rather than a single wife… But doesn’t that actually make it WORSE?

Yes–I know the government leaders claim they have good intentions and that they need to tighten their grip because their beloved citizens are too stupid to take care of themselves, so it’s our fault they have to get mad.    …But, haven’t we learned how to see through the argument “I control you because I love you,” by now?

It’s maddening.

Some of the same people who chirp about how religion creates passive victims are suddenly embracing that strategy!

Now they’re the ones saying, “It’s not for us to resist those God has put over us, for our protection.”

It’s as if they don’t hate oppression in general…they only hate when it comes from a certain source… When a priest burdens us with crushing laws, he’s a “Pharisee.” But when politicians take over, praise God!

Unfortunately, many American Christians only have experience fighting power in very specific circumstances.

When a husband is making his wife feel bad:  THAT’S ABUSE!  (And when anyone encourages the wife to read the Bible and bring her feelings into submission, that’s even more abuse.)

But, when the Government plays the role of the Overbearing Husband, we sure do bend over backwards to explain why it’s not the same…

Here’s what I hope we all can agree on eventually (if we take a break from preaching about “contentment” for two seconds):

It’s wrong for a man to elevate himself to a place of unchecked power–eroding his wife’s God-given rights and Lording his will over her.

And it is also wrong when the “husband” takes the form of Government leaders who claim the authority to “suspend” the God-given rights of their citizens.

We absolutely should push back against any person who uses religious arguments to justify ungodly Power Grabs.   And that goes especially for your friends on Facebook who are armed with dusty Bibles and preaching about “submission” for the first time in their entire lives.

Stop Using Sick Children to Manipulate Your Neighbor

In a minute, I’m going to share with you an article which is gentle and level-headed. The author recognizes that most of the bad decisions being made right now stem from fear–so she does her best to speak compassionately.  But, before I share her careful words of healing, I’m going to tell you how angry I am.

Right now, I’m utterly pissed off.

I’m feeling rage, because children are being used by their parents and politicians to gain control over the fearful masses–and it needs TO STOP. 

This week, the governor of Connecticut announced that the “youngest victim” of Coronavirus was a 7-week-old baby who succumbed to “complications from COVID-19.”

Turns out, she was actually smothered by accident, in the middle of the night. Her parents brought her to the hospital already deceased. Everyone knew what happened. The hospital tested for COVID-19 as part of a routine procedure, but they knew full-well she wasn’t killed by any virus.

Still, the Governor used the heart-breaking tragedy to gain national attention for having the “youngest victim of COVID-19.”   It sure does tug at the heartstrings when we think of an infant dying, doesn’t it?

When you tell a story like that and imagine the parents’ agonizing pain, you can add a warning that everyone should “wash hands” and “stay home” in order to prevent it from happening again… and you’re much more likely to get compliance!

Everyone with a heart is going to lock themselves in the house and never come out again, out of fear they are time bombs just waiting to go off and kill a newborn.

I have no words for how ANGRY this emotional manipulation makes me…

Then it happened again in Lousiana.  Headlines kept repeating that a 1-day-old baby died from Coronavirus and that the infant was the youngest recorded death “linked to COVID-19.”

In the first article I read (which seems to have been taken down), the report didn’t even mention that the baby was born at 22-weeks gestation because her mother was intubated, which caused early labor. I got that information from a comment under the article, and I had to do more research on my own…

Guys–would this have been considered a “Coronavirus death” if the mother had requested a second trimester abortion, for her own mental health/safety while she fought COVID-19?  NO!

But, because the baby was wanted, and because it makes for juicy news, this tiny girl actually gets to be counted as a real human being who was truly alive, though the media would have emphasized the pregnancy was “unviable” six months ago.

I don’t have words to describe how ANGRY this convenient double-think makes me. 

Not only that, but hundreds (maybe thousands?) of children are being used by their own parents to shame their neighbors into staying home, even when the story being shared has almost nothing to do with this pandemic.

It’s like EVERYONE is using this opportunity to say, “Let me tell you about the time I faced death…and THEN you will listen when I order you to stay home.”

There are paramedics and nurses telling us they are “unable” to hug their children until “god knows when.”  (Here, here, and here are just three examples.)

Some are even sharing selfies of tears streaming down their own faces.

Not only healthcare workers, but also “regular” folks are taking pictures (or sharing their friends’ pictures) of sick/coughing kids, to gain credibility… Even if the child is sick with something other than COVID-19, people cannot pass up the opportunity to talk about That Scary Time They Thought a Child Would Die.

And, then with the bait-and-switch, they make some reference to wearing gloves in public, as if it would have prevented something like this:

4.7.20 I will help you stay home (Edit)

THIS IS EVIL.

Just because a baby somewhere was on a ventilator at some point, it doesn’t mean we can suggest that our neighbor is responsible for this when they step out of the house without gloves.

We ought to be ashamed of trying to get people to cooperate with us, using triggering pictures that we know are not at all related to COVID-19. 

It works!  It causes people to feel very scary emotions, which makes them easy to manipulate!

But the end result of keeping people in Quarantine doesn’t justify the means of exploiting children with our homemade propaganda…


Now, I promised to share something with a much different tone.

This woman, Dr. Lissa Rankin, is soft-spoken and kind. She recognizes that fear is a big emotion that makes it extremely difficult to make wise decisions. And so she gives a lot of grace to the reader.

That said–thank God–she also knows that humans need to overcome our fear of death, so we can face Reality with eyes-wide-open, rather than getting swept away with emotional stories.

She understands that it doesn’t matter how many precautions we take or how many of our neighbors we successfully scare into staying locked in their homes, every one of us will be taken to death’s door by something, eventually.

We may feel like we’re saving the world when we urge our friends and loved ones to “stay home,” but we’re still avoiding the Big Questions.

God, give us the courage to confess how shameful we’ve acted in our fear…and give us the courage to face Death with a clear mind rather than allowing ourselves to be traumatized by mental images of babies dying.

Give this article a read: Before You or a Loved One Winds Up on a Ventilator

When the Weird Guy Gets a Whistle

When I was a kid, my family was part of a social group for homeschoolers.  So, I’ve attended my share of carnivals, birthday parties, and fairs, mingling with families from a wide variety of …. (*cough)…. social skills.

If you want to conduct an interesting experiment with a group of people, hand everybody baggies full of cheap, plastic toys and just watch what happens.

Think of the standard party-favors; the kinds you might get from a vendine machine or from a rat in exchange for tickets at a certain Pizza-and-Arcade joint.    Think of tiny coloring books and hand-held mazes with balls in them and those “slider” puzzles in which all of the “slider” pieces are jammed and won’t move.

You know what I’m talking about?

3.29.20 Party Favors

 

But, most of all, I want you to imagine the noise-makers…  Hand clappers or kazoos or those little slide whistles!

Every 6-year-old loves a good slide-whistle, right?  Usually, the little kids get their hands on those things and then procede to drive everyone else crazy.

That’s why I’ll always remember the time I had to watch in horror while a “grown-up” parent ripped into one of those baggies, found a slide-whistle, and played it LOUDLY and incessantly, for the remainder of the party. 

Even as a very young child myself, I could tell there was something WEIRD happening:

No one else seemed to be enjoying the Weird Guy’s whistling as much as the Weird Guy was.   Why didn’t he notice?

He was laughing and marching and whistling with reckless abandon. He tried for what seemed like an eternity to master “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Eventually, he invited everyone to gather around and listen while he performed his shrill concert. He seemed completely oblivious to the fact that his noise made other people more and more uncomfortable, the longer it continued…

I was barely 9-years-old, and I was already learning some things about “Tooting My Own Horn.”  Suddenly, I wasn’t interested in playing my own slide-whistle, because I didn’t want to be as annoying as the Weird Guy.

While I tried to process all the “icky” feelings I got from watching a tone-deaf adult make a fool of himself, the biblical warnings against pride and self-focus began to take root in my mind…

Suddenly, I was convicted with a hard truth:

“Even if the little kids are tooting their own horns, the mature people are practicing self-awareness and self-control. I want imitate the mature people.”

—–

These days, social media gives us the chance to see the “Slide-Whistle Experiment” on a huge scale.  We’re constantly inviting each other to come listen to our concerts. “Look at me! Isn’t this GREAT?!”   The situation is ripe for growing some ugly pride.

Look around yourself! I guarantee, there are some Weird Guys at your parties, too. They’re loudly playing their own whistles and having a great time, never stopping to consider how their actions affect others…

Just make sure that YOU aren’t the Weird Guy!

Remember: everyone else has the same baggie of toys.  If you (and the toddlers) are the only ones blowing your whistles, ask yourself why that might be.

Faith and Preparation CAN Co-exist

I saw this quote today, and I really liked it.

“Allowing current events to bring you to fear is not of God. However, don’t let anyone tell you that using precautions is a lack of faith.  Faith and Wisdom CAN coexist.”

I would actually take that idea a step further. I would say Faith and wisdom (which leads to precautions) MUST coexist.

I would say to Christians: your #1 job on earth is to “prepare” continually!  You are commanded to keep preparing your hearts, at all times. You are meant to continue working out your salvation and preparing yourself for the Kingdom of God. 

Now, some of you may feel like I switched horses there, because the quote was clearly talking about physical preparations and I hit you with a spiritual angle. So let me explain how physical preparations can (and should) lead directly into spiritual submission to God.

Yes, we should be aware of whatever calamities are currently threatening the world.

Furthermore, we should weigh what the experts are saying and work to discern what is true and what isn’t.

Finally, we should do whatever we are able to do in order to love our neighbors and lift burdens and live as selfless, compassionate caretakers of our physical worlds.   Yes–yes–we should take “precautions” for tragedies, as far as we’re able, for the sake of our families/communities.

But, as we begin honestly asking ourselves just how much we, as humans, can realistically do to prevent those tragedies and achieve perfect safety/well-being, at some point we ought to come face to face with our own inadequacy. 

At some point, pretty quickly, we ought to confront the inescapable and terrifying reality of just how out-of-control we are. 

Maybe I’m talking about pollution, or maybe I’m talking about the Amazon rainforest being on fire, or maybe I’m talking about a viral disease which has literally captured the attention of EVERYONE on the planet.

We are all constantly at risk of something really awful happening for which (the experts will tell us) we’re not prepared.

We’re spinning on a gigantic mass of dirt and magma, lost somewhere in an impossibly large abyss of Nothingness, and on this planet with us are literally hundreds of thousands of things that are trying to go wrong at all times.  (The experts tell us “Everything tends toward disorder…”)

Of course, usually we don’t stop to really consider that fragility, so we’re able to go to work and school without dealing with an Existential Crisis and Panic Attacks. But, if you don’t feel a little bit of vertigo when you do pause to consider all the things that could catch you off guard–and then destroy life as you know it–are you even a human?

It’s like, everywhere we turn, we’re getting the message that our systems of survival are hanging by a thread. So we put our heads together and come up with strategies for coping, and then we share those helpful tips with our neighbors in effort to “prepare” as much as we can,…but we ought to be uncomfortably aware of just how little those precautions actually accomplish!

There are never many guarantees, except one: you’re guaranteed to die of something eventually.   And the “what if” associated with when and where and how can be overwhelming.

One tiny, little thing (literally, so tiny we can’t even see it) can change life as we know it in an instant… and are any of us ever fully prepared for that reality?

Again, I’m not saying we should give up trying and simply ignore the experts’ recommendations about how to mitigate damage in emergencies.

But, I truly believe our hearts need the most preparation of all right now.  In fact, I truly believe the opportunity to prepare our hearts is the entire purpose of why God allows those scary emergencies to happen.

Every chance to panic is also a chance to go back to the Big Picture and remember Who’s in charge.  Every reminder of our own mortality is a chance to praise God for his Divinity.

Our good deeds are filthy rags.  And ALL of our well-intentioned plans for tomorrow will only actually come to pass if God wills it, too.

Our policies and procedures often turn out to be mere illusions that we can help God keep the world spinning, if we just work hard enough. We not-so-secretly believe that we’ve advanced enough as a society to control our environments, with the right amount of human cooperation.

It’s at this juncture that our “precautions” quickly turn into a Tower of Babel scenario, where we pride ourselves on our collective knowledge, human effort, and good safety plans to get us through the storm.

Who do we turn to first when we’re worried?  (Government?  Healthcare professionals?)  And who do we thank when we manage to survive?   (Fellow Humans?)  Too often we congratulate each other when the threat subsides…

“Thank you, Scientists and Doctors!”

“Oh, no, thank YOU, average citizens! we couldn’t have done it without you following our Commandments…”

“Thank you, Government!”

“Oh, you’re very welcome! We’re here to print money and make promises we aren’t really qualified to keep, whenever you’d like.”

“Yay, us! Go Team! We did great!”

(Oops. Now time to move on to the next Very Serious Threat…stay tuned…)

Unfortunately, there are just too many things trying to kill us all the time to take the level of “precaution” that a non-Christian might want you to take.

There’s no way for all of us to operate at Maximum Preparedness for all possible Threats all the time.

The climate scientists have been warning us about an Ice Age for decades. Astronomers tell us we’re overdue for a devastating asteroid. There was panic about the Amazon rainforest being on fire less than a year ago (It’s actually still on fire, like it always is, but suddenly we’re not “preparing” for that anymore.)

At some point, we should be asking ourselves if maybe–just maybe–all of these constant, scary, out-of-control things are here by God’s grace as a reminder that we are mists and then we vanish.

Maybe, we should consider that God is always trying to remind us of our own fragile existence, so that we will be utterly dependant on Him for our hope?

I definitely believe our human preparedness can lead us into Wisdom.

Through our weak attempts at managing this chaotic Planet, we are wise when we seek God and end up resting in HIS Safety Plan.

As we grow in this Wisdom, we can laugh at the days to come, knowing we’ve done everything for which we’re responsible (which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a whole lot)–and yet the God of the Universe makes it enough because He’s here playing His much, much bigger part.

Man, I have so much more to say about this.

But I am responsible to prepare for dinner tonight. And I would be wise not to say, “Meh, I have faith that God is going to meet this need for my family, no matter what I do!”

Let’s keep talking about the overlap of faith and “preparation” in the coming days, okay?

Mom Instincts, Selfishness, and National Emergencies

Let me break it down:  even a really, really mild disease becomes a catastrophe when everybody runs to the doctor to be seen for it.

The problem is, we mothers have been encouraging each other to do exactly that for years now, in the name of being “cautious.”

We regularly tell our friends “trust those Mommy Instincts” when it comes to their sick families. We tell them to go ahead and visit the doctor to get some antibiotics for peace of mind, just in case it could turn into something serious, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

This way of dealing with sickness isn’t sustainable, especially when there’s a national emergency. But nobody wants to talk about the ways our mommy groups are actually contributing to the spread of unnecessary anxiety.

Well, I mean, SOME of us are talking about it.  (*Raises hand*)   A few months ago, I wrote this:

“It’s an age-old tale.

Mother gets creepy feeling.

Mother posts pictures and a scary story on social media and asks everyone to share it.

Thousands of equally-concerned mothers assure each other that embracing their paranoia is a good thing because it’s “better safe than sorry” when it comes to their children…”

We also recorded an episode of the podcast where we discussed the danger that can come from bad Mom Advice telling us to take action and fight to ensure the professionals help solve our imagined problems.     (You can listen by clicking here.)

At the time of my blog post and podcast recording, we were focusing on women who are worried their kids will be snatched and sold into sex slavery.  But it’s an eerily similar situation when too many women think their kids are going to catch a virus. It starts with fear.  Then our peers encourage us to lean into that. Trust it!   And soon, we are taking a trip to have our fears calmed by a doctor who will look in our mouths, tell us to rest, and generally validate our emotions.

(In the case of suspected child abduction, the emotional pay-off comes from calling the police and telling them, “I got a weird feeling about a guy in the produce aisle.”  But, again, same outcome.)

The problem is, there aren’t enough policemen to handle all the reports if everyone simultaneously starts acting like Karen and worrying about every stranger supposedly following them at Walmart. 

And, likewise, there aren’t enough doctors, nurses, and lab technicians to handle a stampede to the hospital, when Karen convinces all of us to go every time we feel sick! 

Karen, let me help you understand:   it isn’t necessary to stare into the eyes of someone wearing a white coat just to hear them say, “Yep. You’re sick.”

There is no cure for your fever. No cure for your cough. No cure for your viral gastrointeritis and your viral pneumonia. The doctor can’t make the symptoms go away any faster, and you can buy non-prescription pain relievers to make you more comfortable while your body fights the germs without his help. 

He can’t fix you. And he’s also too nice and professional to say, “For the love of God, stop bringing your nastiness to my office.”

So just stay home.

When you feel yucky, stay home. Stay home. Stay home.

I know, you feel productive when you go to the hospital, like you’re really taking charge of the situation.

I know there’s something fun about taking pictures of your kid in a gown, with a band on his wrist, so you can post on Facebook asking for prayers.

I know it lends more credibility in your mommy groups, when you can announce, “we went to the doctor and got confirmed: it’s Influenza A!”     But going to the doctor and having a Proper Name for your symptoms doesn’t actually help you recover.

Visiting the doctor does something for your emotions, but not usually your body. 

And even more importantly, when EVERYONE starts behaving that way, it keeps the really sick people from being able to get help. We’re using up antibiotics we don’t need. We’re infecting healthcare workers who have real work to do.

They can tell you “drink liquids and get lots of rest” over the phone. Can you learn to be okay with how boring and unsatisfying that is?

Even when you’re tired of dealing with sickness and looking for something to do, the ER or doctor’s office should not be treated as a way to kill time while YOUR BODY DOES THE HEALING ON ITS OWN.

—–

Now, maybe you’re reading this and you don’t identify as a “Karen.”

Maybe you are content to stay home when you’re sick, without the desperate need for a swab and a selfie to feel like you’ve really completed the “Sick Experience.”

That’s great! Really!

But, if you’re letting all the other Karens get away with promoting anxiety and taking advantage of the medical system when they don’t need it, can I ask you to consider speaking up next time?

When someone on Facebook says, “You should go to the doctor in case that illness turns into something more serious!” can you jump in and say, “No, please, please don’t do that.”

Right now, we’re all laughing at each other for hoarding toilet paper, and that’s a great start!

But now Karen needs to know that we’re also laughing when she takes Johnnie to the doctor for NO REASON.  We’re laughing because, if we don’t, we’ll flat out yell at her for being a self-absorbed drama queen who is taking time and resources away from people who actually need them.

Lots of people blame the Mainstream Media for its role in stoking fear in this culture, and that’s fair.  But, if it weren’t for all the average citizens…all the regular people…all the moms on Facebook praising each other for following their “mom instincts”… then the media wouldn’t have anyone left to control.

Some of the responsibility to stop the viral spread of Fear is ours. Don’t contribute. Don’t share it. Don’t validate it. Don’t tell your friends, “It’s a good thing you went to the doctor, just to be safe.”

Nope. That was a germy lie.

It’s NOT a good thing to treat doctors like our Personal Emotional Problem Solvers.  At best, those visits are totally unecessary. And at worst? That behavior reveals selfishness and irrationality which quickly becomes pandemic.