Posted by: sojournerscribe | June 27, 2012

Is it Worth It?

In 1 Corinthians 7:7-38 Paul talks about marriage, and talks about celibacy as well. He refers I think in part here to Matthew 19 in this. It is on my heart to share about this because there is so much talk about the virtues of marriage in our culture. In a way a person is not really considered whole if they are not in an intimate relationship. And so that makes me wonder if we as Christians put too much concern upon that.One thing that bothered me a lot on the Christian Forums was that you lost status if you BECAME single–not if you had always been but if that became your state. I had to beg pretty much to be allowed to post in the married men’s forums.

One thing that is rather interesting is that single life, according to Jesus and the Apostle Paul is a calling from God according to the scriptures I mentioned. According to them it allows for the possibility of a life focused on a life in Christ–not necessarily becoming a monk or something but rather that your life can become more focused on God than if you were married. In fact Paul talks about how it is harder for married people to focus on the things of the Lord than it is for a single person, because of the (necessary) distraction of intimate devotion to another person. What I find interesting about this is that neither state of being–that is to be married or to be single–is forced on people. As Jesus says “He is who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

I’m thinking about this because I have for a while been wrestling with the idea of marriage itself. I think about that CF thing–how suddenly I was relegated to being someone in front of whom it was not appropriate to discuss martial matters with, as though I had never experienced them. Suddenly I had nothing of value to contribute, because I wasn’t married. And yet Paul, who was not married, gave advice to married people and those who might be married one day, as did Jesus. And if I do not add to scripture but make it the basis for speaking wisely, am I not being a follower of Christ in that?

I think this is another one of those uncomfortable biblical truths. The Bible seems to be saying that we should not pity those who are not married, nor should we think that there is something wrong with them, but we should see it as a blessed state, potentially, equal with those who are married.

This leads me to see things this way: that if it is better to marry than to burn, it is also probably better to not marry than to marry badly, because of the narrow circumstances under which you can divorce without sin. As we’ve discussed, of course God forgives sins–but sins lead us away from God, and either that is a very serious matter or it is not. That’s perhaps something for another subject, but it strikes me that we should be very very careful about who we marry and even IF we marry at all.

Because it is hard to escape the fact that Paul expresses the belief that it is the preferred position for a Christian not to marry–and that that is opposite to what most churches really teach. Imagine if rather than Purity Balls, vows of celibacy, holiness and all that sort of thing that we simply said that marriage should not be a goal?

Feminism is one of the ways in which the modern culture attacks people where they are very vulnerable. Remove that possibility by stating that men and women don’t need to marry at all but that they do very much need to follow the Lord, and immediately it removes the battleground to one of their choosing to one of our choosing. We don’t need to get along with feminists, or indeed anyone; we merely need to offer them the truth of the Gospel/

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Posted by: sojournerscribe | February 26, 2012

http://exposing…

http://exposingfeminism.wordpress.com/feminist-code-speak/

This is feminist code speak.Men and nonfeminist women who are tempted by the idea of arguing with feminists need to read stuff like this so that they won’t waste their time. Some will anyway, but hopefully they will waste less of their time, and thus be less angry, and say “Oh, right, she’s a feminist! No wonder she’s talking weird!”

Posted by: sojournerscribe | December 16, 2011

Men, It’s Your Fault!

One way or another, responsibility for having a good relationship apparently falls on the shoulders of the man. It doesn’t matter if you are talking to Gamesters, Christians, Feminists–they all agree that it will be a good relationship if the man treats the woman properly. Interestingly this can mean anything from being the Alpha Male to being a Good Christian Man to being an enlightened Feminist Man. All the same thing at the end of the day–do your job right, your woman will love you.

Or will she? I think it is interesting that women are given the same degree of free will as pets or little children according to this formula. Allow me to debunk.

1. Gamesters. Gamesters say that women give you tests and try to see if you are a real man or not. Any man who fails with women must not be an Alpha. This implies that guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Tiger Woods aren’t REALLY Alpha, or they wouldn’t be in a bind with their women. This is bizarrely the same view that the others have. However the fact remains that women make choices. Sometimes they are done purely on the basis of emotional whim that becomes rationalized. Men since the dawn of civilization have had trouble with women–the wiser ones have decided that the trouble is here to stay. You can’t tell me that for instance men during Roman or Greek ancient times actually had a problem with listening to their wives too much. They literally saw their women as possessions. Yet somehow these women had laws against them sleeping around too. Sorry, not convinced.

2. Christians: Christians generally claim that if a man loves his wife as Christ loved the Church, there will be a good marriage. However, people rejected Christ. Christ had a couple of hundred followers at one point–then he told them the truth of his mission and they left him except for 12 guys. Yes, that’s right–it could have been a huge banquet party at the Last Supper, but a couple hundred people had better things to do. So Jesus was REJECTED even though he was hardly a pushover and was definitely godly. Sorry, no.

3. Feminists. At the end of the day if men are responsible for everything bad in the world, that translates easily to individual men as well–and besides according to feminism women can do whatever they want to and if it wasn’t a good thing to do, she must have had a darned good reason, and it is probably some guy’s fault.

So…no. In fact as far as I’m concerned if I can see women all around me being paramedics, lab techs, bus drivers, cops, dog trainers, business owners, then they’re also capable of being responsible for their part in how a relationship goes, period, end of story.

Posted by: sojournerscribe | May 27, 2010

Josh and Worrying Alot

Josh discouraged his followers from worrying. He said weird things like “aren’t birds pretty? You know there have been really famous rich people who had really fancy clothes, but were any of them more beautiful than birds? You worry too much about your clothes and the stuff you need to have. You have a Father in Heaven who loves you. Don’t worry about what you think you don’t have. You only have to ask and you have it.”

But this runs contrary to what most of us really believe. If we were honest we’d say we believe in savings accounts, thrift, financial planning, budgeting, and so on. We feel more sympathy for what King Solomon has to say about thrift and hard work than what Josh says. Josh sometimes sounds irresponsible.

Or does he? Does it sound blasphemous to admit that sometimes King Solomon sounds jaded, unhappy and uncertain, while Josh sounds absolutely certain, joyous and alive?

Posted by: sojournerscribe | May 27, 2010

Josh

Christianity is like industrially constructed vegetables. It doesn’t really have the real flavour or the real content, it’s a fax of the real thing. I’ve grown very tired of trying to pray, trying to talk about Christ only to find that there is no Christ to talk about. I want things to be fresh, vital and powerful.

Jesus is a corruption of the original name anyway; it’s too…Classical. I’m not a classical scholar though I enjoy the occasional Penguin now and then. So I’m going to talk in a contemporary way about Christ until I really get it. I’m going to talk about Joshua, or Josh as I will call him. I’m not a Christian anymore, at least for now. No more labels. Joshianity. I follow the church of Josh.

Posted by: sojournerscribe | April 15, 2010

Love and War

John and Stasi Eldredge wrote a very interesting book called Love and War. To those familiar with their work one of the underlying themes is the idea that life as a christian is actually one of war against the world Satan lures us with. The book that came out last year is about how to deal with that spiritual war in the context of marriage. It’s very interesting and yet I’m not as pleased with it as I was with the others. Part of why I am not altogether pleased is that the concept that God essentially plans or chooses our mate comes up in it, the idea that ‘you married the person God wanted you to marry.” So incompatibility or whatever is according to this no excuse not to try to make your marriage work.

In a way I can understand this; the book is rather humbly written and the Eldredges make it clear that they are by no means out of the woods; it is extraordinary how many layers of spiritual stronghold there can be in our relationships. So in one sense it is probably a relief to many to hear that these people who have ministered so much compassion and understanding about relationships and about relationship with God in particular struggle still with some of the same things everyone else struggles with.

And I have to admit that it has not easy to admit that I wasn’t satisfied with the chapter that ended on the theme that because there’s no perfect person you just need to somehow bring God’s blessing where you feel the lack of any sense of blessing. Because surely that’s an important part of being a christian, right?

I think that I would like to say this, simply and plainly. I think that contrary to what North Americans are accused of (being lazy and selfish for example) as being the cause of the high rate of divorce, and that they want their spouse to make them happy, I think that that is actually not really true. It’s amazing how any person might be capable of putting up with any manner of hardship if they think it is worth it. I don’t think it’s good enough to imply laziness and selfishness. (not that John and Stasi make that accusation, they tend to stick with broken hearts being the reason for people not trying that hard.)

I think that what people long for in relationships is not even really happiness necessarily but to be listened to, validated, to be cared for and for understanding of them to be sought. I believe that people want compassion and respect. I think that when we don’t get it from someone we are in intimate circumstances with it is actually a crisis.

Posted by: sojournerscribe | March 23, 2010

Forgiveness

It seems there was a king who ruled over many kings. This king’s authority was great, very important. So the king couldn’t be treated lightly, could not be transgressed against. Those who did transgress are punished; if they didn’t want punishment they had to do some kind of penance like knocking their heads against rocks or something.

But you see that king of kings didn’t really want that; in fact if you read the histories about him what he really wanted was to be recognized as a good king. He was like a loving father who simply wanted to lead his people well; the lesser kings however so often just wanted to be independent, not realizing that their father like any good father wanted them to excel, wanted them to be amazing.

So he disguised himself, and went among them, and showed them how they did not have to fight one another or intrigue, that as an amazing but still mortal man he could live entirely by the will and goodness of this king of kings.

One of the reasons for all the evil that was done against the good name of the king of kings was that people really believe that you owe something for something every time. If I push you, you push me. If I hit you, you hit me. If I rob you, I owe you something back. But in one of the king in diguise’s strongest stories he talks about how someone who is a real follower of the king of kings forgives debts.

Sometimes I think we overthink forgiveness. We make it out to be something that demands that we do not become wary of people who seek to harm or cheat us. Others use it as an excuse to ignore evil. The truth of it is simply this: it is forgiveness of debt.

Our children according to some cultures owe us deference and duty. If we follow the example of our Father in Heaven then they owe us nothing; if they love us they will give us respect and devotion. We gave our lives to them because we loved them. If we are to follow the example of Jesus then we are owed nothing by others because our Father in Heaven gives us everything.

This doesn’t mean being a sucker; we are free within this to confront evil. But how can we be owed anything, we who have everything?

Posted by: sojournerscribe | March 23, 2010

Some Concerns

This is reprinted from a post I did on a forum, but it is a concern of mine regarding a general ignorance within christianity.

1. Christians (in general) seem to be ignorant about any bad history of christianity that exists. That seems to be waved away as though to say “that was those other people.” I should emphasize that I don’t so much want guilt as reflection on how we could do better now.

2. When  the question of gay marriage comes up you will hear some very loud christians claiming that it has nothing to do with equal rights, completely dismissing the argument when in fact generally christianity has been in favour of legally opposing homosexuality–like actually supporting the idea that homosexuals should be arrested.

3. When it comes to women’s rights, christians (generally) act as though there is a)no controversy at all about the roles of women in church among the churches and b)as though christianity in general has ALWAYS supported equal rights for women.

4. When it comes to social justice in the world in general, it seems that the loudest debates are on things like abortion, the role of women in church, the permanency of marriage, etc. The forefront is not occupied by concern for healing people,for bringing the Word to everyone in our communities, or helping the poor. You will hardly see a single church website that places  as the forefront of its concern any of those things.

4. When it comes to discussion of the permanency of marriage, divorce, remarriage, etc, the general tone of the church is not one of compassion but one of legalism. The church does not ‘weep with those who weep’ when dealing with emotional or personal concerns. In a way this is merely an example of how the church generally doesn’t seem to really care about people and their struggles except insofar as it seems to want to control their behavior.

5. It’s tempting to forget this, but the fact is that christian thought and theology have evolved, changed, been strained and challenged over time. What we learn in church and from the books we read about the Bible and so on is often coming to us through the strainer of history. So genuine study, fresh looks at concepts, and I believe always led by prayer and a relationship with God being pursued is really necessary. Assuming that a church rather than Christ is the way, the truth and the light seems to bear bad fruit.

6. One of my biggest concerns is a lack of real understanding of how modern life has affected people’s perspectives, particularly when it comes to things like trust, authority and achieving knowledge.

Posted by: sojournerscribe | March 16, 2010

What’s Important?

Beware of taking the Bible for granted. It is either true or it is one way or another a bunch of nonsense.

It seems that a guy was caught in a flood, and was on top of his house. A rescue boat came by and someone in the boat hollered with a megaphone: “Hey, you on the house! Come on, we’ll take you with us but you have to come right now!” The man on top of the house called back, “I’ll be a little while–I have to have a funeral for my dad!” The guy in the boat answered, “Sorry, we can’t wait! We have lots of other people to rescue! It’s now or never–your dad isn’t gonna get any deader!”

Jesus had a moment with a guy pretty much like that. I think that we can only really know this for sure about it: Jesus came to remind us that our lives are caught up in a terrible conflict for our very souls. It is a desperate thing, it must be a desperate thing, this call from Jesus to follow him. Even the most seemingly important and respectable distractions are what may drag us down.

Posted by: sojournerscribe | March 8, 2010

Veils

When you are talking on the phone, via texting, chatrooms or email it is said to be impersonal. When you see a picture of someone it is not as real as seeing in the flesh it is said. And yet when we are looking at a person and listening to them in real life our physical attributes alone enable us to ‘see’ and ‘hear’. The eyes and ears are organs that are dependent upon outside stimuli and the general functioning of the body to work well, and in any case are the organic versions of cameras and microphones. These bring these stimuli to the brain and our brain interprets them. So how accurately are we seeing based on that?

And then factor in our own experience–have we ‘seen’ or ‘heard’ the person before? What does the stimuli they are sending at us mean in our own minds? The truth is that everything in life is subject to the reception of information and its interpretation.

So add in things that are beyond our experience or understanding. Add in the supernatural elements of dealing with something confounding–like Jesus for instance. Jesus sees differently than those around him. So what is he seeing? One of the legacies he has left behind is our personal contact with the Holy Spirit–the Spirit of Truth.

I think because of the understanding I am struggling with now that it is possible that to see truly is to be freed from the veils that our own normal perceptions, the perceptions that are coloured by our particular experiences, cover our senses and prevent us from seeing the truth about what we deal with. I think that this is part of what Jesus was free from, what we must be free from.

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