Nothing Shocking

To whom it may concern:

Not everyone grew up listening to Janes Addiction…”Who is that,” you might be asking! But enough Southern Cal music culture (circa 1989) references. But what I cannot understand is when Christian writers/speakers use the word “shocking” to describe the sexual behavior of conservative leaders, Pastors, or laypeople. It is really shocking that they might desire to view pornography to you? Does it shock you to know that there are human beings that have faith in Jesus, yet also desire to act in non-Christian sexual ways? If so, we just can’t seem to figure out what Bible you are reading!

The Bible makes it clear that we are incapable of following a perfect God perfectly. Can you? Yet this is the standard to be with a Holy God. “Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Some think they do this…kind of. But if we take a spectrum and say, Jesus, and his perfection is at 100; where do you think you are on the spectrum? 50? 70? Just thinking you are on the spectrum is probably a sure sign of hell for you. Do you really think you are close to Jesus in your thoughts and actions? Ever heard of the rich young ruler? He thought he was.

If we happen to make it on the spectrum at all, we couldn’t even boast we’d made it, for it was Him all along working in us to will and do according to His good pleasure. We are working, but His grace all the more. So thinking your on the spectrum is a sure way of admitting you are not on it at all! If you and I were on the spectrum, we wouldn’t have a inclination that we were. It just would be. A tax collector went up to the temple to pray…He stood afar off and felt ashamed to even pray to God. Yet he was the one in the right. The religious man stood in the temple area and thanked God for his good behavior. His righteousness. His holiness. Sound familiar? The tax collector had no clue he was in the right with God. He just was.

The Bible also tells us in detail of the men of faith (Hebrews 11) that struggled mightily with there sexual conduct. These are the people we teach little kids about in Sunday school. “The sword of Gideon!” Yet Gideon was a polygamist and had many concubines. Both would be considered quite wrong for a Pastor today.

The Bible tells us that the greatest missionary(Paul) struggled with lust/covetousness, and by the end of his life he called himself, “the chief of sinners.” It seems the more he aged, the more he realized the greatness of sin within his members. Charles H. Spurgeon understood this:
“I believe a Christian on his death-bed will more bitterly repent than ever he did before. It is a thing to be done all your life long. Sinning and repenting—sinning and repenting, make up a Christian’s life. Repenting and believing in Jesus—repenting and believing in Jesus, make up the consummation of his happiness. You must not expect that you will be perfect in “repentance” before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. “Repentance” is a grace. “

The Bible also tells in sexually graphic detail of the spiritual departure from the worship of Yahweh by the Israelite’s. The book of Ezekiel and Hosea are great books on this subject. But be warned, they are graphic and Ezekiel is even considered pornographic in some circles. (Yes, there are those that believe the Bible is very erotic should be banned.)

The Bible also has in it erotic poetry which describes the passionate desires and behaviors of lovers. Yet the one who wrote it could not contain his lust for many other women. The Song of Solomon is the ideal for mankind, but certainly was and is not the real. Most human beings are like Solomon in that they have had sexual thoughts about more than one person during there life.

The Bible also has the most highest of moral standards. Why? Because it is written by men, moved by the “holy” Spirit. Can you do them perfectly? For instance the word fornication occurs in only four classical authors in the Greek and Roman era, “by contrast the word occurs nearly for hundred times in Jewish and Christian literature before 200 C.E. and over eighteen hundred times between 200 and 600 C.E.” (Footnote 1). I think we get the picture that sexual conduct (holiness) is serious to God. He demands perfection in our sexuality, sex and sensuality. Have you achieved this?

The ramifications of those in the Christian community that consistently use the old paradigm of being shocked are living in a world that does not exist, and quite frankly, never has sense the garden. Sex and sexual behavior of all kinds has always existed. Firm Monogamy has not been the standard or norm of human sexual history. Sexual variety has been the norm for human beings. Most people have had more than one sexual partner in there lifetime. To be shocked that people of all ages like to view sexual images is actually shocking! We have always been into images whether on walls or on a computer screen. Throughout history men have used women for sex, as concubines, slaves, harems, prostitutes, mistresses, call girls, escorts. Are you shocked by this?

Did you expect the Christian to not be tempted or tried? Do you expect them not to give in? Do you expect them to be different from those in the scriptures themselves? Are we so blind as to not see our own personal sexual failures? Are you also shocked by how many large people there are in Church or at the pulpit? Are you shocked by how much pride Pastors and Leaders have? There we are like the rich young ruler…sharing with Christ that we able to keep the law again? Are you shocked that Pastors are learning to crucify the flesh as well? Or are they suppose to already have that down like you do?

The ramifications of this old paradigm is to keep the Church perpetually in panic over sex; desires, wishes and wants; or even thoughts. It makes counseling people unbearable as know-one knows how to discuss our sexualized culture without being fearful, offended or afraid God will send them to hell; or already has. This paradigm, as practiced by the Pharisees, keeps people who do not struggle (or think they struggle) in control of those that do. They might struggle in other things, but at least they don’t (or so they think) in sexual conduct. They are “pure.” This is a extremely saddened paradigm that continues to rule. But it is perpetuated over and over again. It is a part of our corruption.

Speaking to Israel, the Apostle says,”The Lord is blasphemed because of you!” Have we ever thought that maybe this could be the Churches fate as well as Israel? Are we any better? Would we not too Crucify the Lord of Glory? Will the Church not fall away as well?

Why can we not share the highest of moral code, and have the wherewithal to admit we cannot not achieve this without divine intervention of the most serious in nature. We need to die. Literally. But until then, we will be having to renew our minds to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ, over and over and over again. As Spurgeon said, “sin-repent, sin-repent…” May God send the helper to help us.

There is a misinterpretation of Jesus teachings that is happening again. Peter and I (Beau) are working through this in our discussions. Stay tuned to our Better Pleasure Podcast as we no doubt will hope to be discussing this misinterpretation and it’s ramifications.

May God help us all. The shocking thing…really…is that God has shown us his love and commitment to us in Christ. Without Jesus, all hope to commune with the Almighty is lost.

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:27

  • Footnote 1 – Harper: Porneia – The Making of a Christian Sexual Norm

The “Old Ways,” Are actually New Ways?

By: B.J. Ouellette

What is called traditional or old ways, when it comes to the sexual conduct, rules, and formats are not really old or traditional at all. What is really old is what in today’s culture is considered new! It’s actually quite the opposite of what we have been told over and over again. Have you ever thought about that? Don’t believe the hype. Read Sex In History by Reay Tannahill or any book on the history of Sex at all for that matter and you will come to find out that the sexual ways of humans have been normally non “traditional.”

When we use the term traditional or old ways, we are, more than not, referring to a monogamy format in relationship (Leave It To Beaver like). But not just monogamy, but the belief in strict monogamy. What I mean by strict monogamy is one man and one woman staying together without sexual relations with any other human being as long as they both shall be alive on this planet. But is this the norm?

For instance…in the ancient middle eastern cultures men had many sexual partners. Lamech is recorded of having multiple wives very early on in the history of mankind according to the Bible. And after the fall of Adam and Eve (no not the porn company Adam & Eve), strict monogamy was never the norm. In the Bible it is clear that the norm was anything but. And if monogamy was adhered to, the kind of patriarchy that was in effect (or happening) meant men did divorce their wife for practically any reason. Divorce breaks strict monogamy. If you have been divorced, you might have been in strict monogamy, but though you might be in another monogamous marriage, the first is broken. Strict monogamy is one man and one woman for life. The end. To say that the Jews followed strict monogamy is like saying people drive the posted speed limit. Liberties were taken. So much so that by the time Jesus is in dialog with the religious leaders of his day, he has to explain to them that from the creation of mankind, divorce was not a part of what was called “good.” Divorce is iniquity; a bending of what was straight.

In ancient eastern culture sexual ideas revolved around their ideas of enlightenment, like Tao. “If in one night he can have intercourse with more than ten women it is best,” (Sex In History, Tannahill, pg. 164). Sex was a exchange of not just a physical pleasure but a energy transaction. This is not strict monogamy.

In ancient greece, young boys were often used as sexual partners for men of power. “The bloom of a twelve-year old boy, ” said Straton, “is desirable, but at thirteen he is much more delightful,” (Sex IN History, Tannahill, pg. 85). Another telling quote is; “We have hetairai for our pleasure, concubines for our daily needs, and wives to give us legitimate children and look after the housekeeping.”

There is also the famous lustful behavior of the Greek pantheons. Cronus the god of earth and sea cut off the testicles of his own father and threw them into the sea! His father’s seamen gave birth to Aphrodite! As the gods are, so are the heroes of Greek myth. Heracles was said to have 5 virgins in one night!

There have always been many kinds of sexual relationships defined in our world: Concubines, prostitutes, escorts, mistress etc…All had different roles in the lives of men. And there were few cultures where women had the sexual freedom to enjoy their own desires (See Wednesday Martin’s book, Untrue).

We read a good short paragraph on wikipedia concerning general non-strict monogamy:

“While forms of long-term sexual relationships and co-habitation short of marriage have become increasingly common in the Western world, these are generally not described as concubinage. The terms concubinage and concubine are used today primarily when referring to non-marital partnerships of earlier eras. In modern usage, a non-marital domestic relationship is commonly referred to as co-habitation (or similar terms), and the woman in such a relationship is generally referred to as a girlfriendmistressfiancée, lover or life partner.”

What is being described in that brief paragraph is something that has been in our world for ever. But what is new is the idea of a better world through strict monogamy without divorce. The world has experienced for far longer the old way of ‘everything you desire,’ man driven, sexual behavior. The Christian way was clear. Jesus said, “have you not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female. And for this reason a man shall leave mother and father and be joined to his wife. And the two shall become one.” From that point on for the believer in Jesus, strict monogamy was the way to go. This is what was intended, and Jesus would not bend to accept another way. He already declared this monogamy good, why would he succumb to another order?

To drive the point further, Jesus says that if you marry a divorced woman (speaking to men) you make her an adulteress! Why? Because she will likely marry again while her first husband is alive. It was not so from the the very, very beginning. No divorce. Jesus and Paul never talk about remarriage to another while your wife is still living. Why? Because the bar is set real high in God’s view of marriage. One man and one woman for life. Everything else…everything else is a distortion.

Some certainly will argue that you can divorce your spouse for sexual immorality. But this does not help us. It still does not tell us a person can remarry after the divorce. Another interesting thought is that trying to figure out when is a proper time to divorce and remarry (what is meant by the term, sexual immorality, in Matthew) could very well be moving us right into the same mind frame that the Pharisee’s had when asking Jesus the question about divorce! “When can a person remarry Jesus?” “Can you divorce for lust, self gratification, pornography, an emotional affair?” All these questions could very well be answered by Jesus the same way he did with the religious of his day. “Have you not read, He that made them from the beginning made them male and female.”

Divorce, no matter under any conditions is a distortion. If you think this is the narrow road, you are right! Is is the path least taken. How many really want to remain single after a divorce? Maybe our bickering over divorce and remarriage is a avenue to feel better about ourselves. Who wants to think they have disobeyed God? Yet we do. All do. Sorry if you thought you were the exception.

Most of us have a pagan tradition! Pagan was a term that was used by early Christians to show disgust for the worship and lifestyles of opposing cultures. It is a derogatory word, and one I am not sure should have been used so much (not convinced it helps in reaching out). When Jesus was discussing who really worships the right way with a woman of Jericho, he said, “We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” It was clear to Jesus that Samaritans and other cultures influenced by opposing ideas on God from the Jews were wrong. But he did not use a term like pagan to describe them. He used the word Gentile.

This term had at first not the slightest connection with religion. Derived from the Latin pagus, the country, a paganus denoted a peasant or villager. Removed from the refinement of the cities such a one had, of course, very little acquaintance with the complicated system of Roman mythology. On this account only could it be said that those who remained unconverted to Christianity were Pagans. .

Interesting for sure…What does it mean? Whether we use the term pagan or another, we can be sure that our great, great, great…etc…grandparents were into all kinds of sexual practices that go against strict monogamy. But not just that. Most of our Christian ancestors did not uphold a strict monogamy as well. Christians throughout the ages divorced for many reasons. The strict monogamy way is certainly the new compared to the normal way of sexual relationships. It is so super difficult to live this way that it might be just a very few that never deviate.

“more than 83% of human societies were preferentially polygamous, and that polygamy was also prominent in the ancient Near East from which that presumed Western move to monogamy originated. So my question for now is: Why did such a large segment of human society switch from polygamy to monogamy? And my first answer is: at present, we don’t know.” David P. Barash Ph.D.

The reason today’s culture see’s the ‘old way’ of pagan behavior as ‘new,’ is because all it has known is the new prosperous way of stricter monogamy as a dominant structure in society. The reason I say prosperous is because I am not convinced the women’s liberation movement could thrive in any other circumstance than in a monogamous culture. Could it have progressed in a commonly oppressive polygamous one? It didn’t. It was a monogamous culture that gave way for women rights, and for the husband (one man) to think once again about how he treated his spouse.

Though this structure has been in place due to the strong influence of Christianity, we now are finally realizing that maybe we don’t want the Christian way dominating our lives? Maybe the old way of doing things was better, or at least we can do it better today with our more civilized way of treating women and children. Today’s version of humanity will do better. But this logic if taken as true presumes that the past society’s version of humanism also believed it was doing better than the one before. This becomes a infinite regression of thinking we are doing it better, but if that’s the case, we can’t say we are doing it better, as a future generation is sure to think our way is unorthodox or even destructive. It is normal for us to think we have it down better. This was atheist Christopher Hitchens argument. We can do it better. Humanism has improved. But when one says, ” this is better,” there must be a best, and ideal. And who’s to say what that is?

But in a supposed civilized society which we all like to think we are in, there is the constant de–humanizing and objectification of one another through the various forms of entertainment we have around us. Our music, games, movies, etc…all portray ill behaviors that do not benefit the other. This is just a reflection of us, is it not? Are we really becoming more civilized or just greater pharisees? I’m reminded of a great quote by Blaze Pascal at the moment (but I’ll spare you).

There is a three year rule we see in the Bible. It’s found in the book of Judges. After three generations the people of Israel go right back to there old ways of following hard after other gods. They forgot the “I AM,” altogether. The book of Deuteronomy Chapters 4 and 6 focus on remembering God and what would happen when they would’t. Maybe the reason King David told His own soul to bless the lord was that he knew how prone he was to forget.

Christianity says that there is an objective way to determine was is best. It is not what we think, but what God has revealed. Can Christianity be true? If there is just a tiny bit of possibility that it could be, then all current judgements should be measured by the surety of what could be after we die. As Pascal once said, “Death is eternal…no matter what state it is in.” If we see a lack of evidence for God, it could be that He does not exist, or it could also indicate that we are that bad, to be unworthy of such a God.

It’s easy in any generation to forget what has been! Our human condition thinks we are inventing the new. But is there anything really new under the sun? I tend to think we are in a game of chess. We can move positions, but we still are on the board. Humans can only play according the rules of human nature. We have always, only been able to do that.

So in a way, what we call traditional marriage today isn’t really traditional. We have it all backwards! The liberal view of sexual relationships is actually the traditional way that has dominated the globe. It is the strict monogamous peeps that are wanting to do the “new thing!”

Many times we read things like the below quote, “We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goals consist solely of one’s own ego and desires.” From a homily given by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

This is the way of mankind. It always has been. Selfishness is the norm, we are woefully given over to it! A super natural grace is needed to pull us out of such a place. This is where the words of Jesus penetrate the most! If you being evil know how to give gifts to your children, how much more will my Father give you the Holy Spirit! And isn’t that what is needed; Something new…really new!

How to destroy a marriage?

Living in fear is not recommended. If most of us were honest (seldom we want to be) fear is a strong motivator in a marriage. Fear of divorce, fear of being alone, fear of failure, of poverty, of a reputation in Church, and the list can go on. What I have noticed over the years is that many within the Christian marriage culture would rather live in fear. There is something normal to it all. And there is no doubt that fear is normal or expected in us humans. It is a basic part of what makes us a human being. Animals fear, and we do to.

Fear can give birth to control. Are you are always upset at your spouse because they are not doing what you want them to do? That is a result of not being able to control them. And underlying that is fear. When you desire to have your kids be like you, it usually is out of fear! You fear the unfamiliarity of being different or living a different kind of life. “What if my kids do not attend college?” “What if they get married to young, to old, to the ‘wrong’ person?” We live so much like this we tend to not even understand that we are moving out of fear. Fear is the chief motivator. We can call it God and faith; and we do! I find in my own heart i’d rather believe the illusion that I am a faithful guy. This too is fear. Who wants to be seen as not walking in faith in the Church? Being seen as a sinner is what the Pharisees loathed. We value strong people of faith! And we assume they do not fear or are moved by such a primitive emotion. Jesus lived a different lifestyle than the religious leaders of his day. It made them uncomfortable, and they ridiculed Jesus and his discipleship for it. Just think of some of his sayings and how it flew in the face of the religious norm. Here is an example:

Luke 14:13-23 “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

This fear is no greater than when you have been hurt by the other. Say your spouse committed adultery. After such an action has occurred it would be easy to fear a repeat of the offence (no doubt Hosea did). But what if it was no offence at all? Think about this for a minute or two! Are there cultures where non monogamy has thrived? Wednesday Martin’s book Untrue tells about a few cultures that have a different kind of marital situation than we do, where a wife can be with a man other than her husband, and it is considered normal. There is no fear among those in this kind of arrangement when those rules are being adhered to. Or think of the non monogamy of Mormonism, Islam, and Judaism? Was there great fear among the women in these systems? I’m sure to most of the women, it was simply normal. They might not even have thought there could be a different scenario in there world. Did they fear being a wife of many wives? Did they know of a world where they had the choice to decide for themselves? There expectations were different then yours! Fear plays on rules and expectations. You have no fear of getting a ticket is when there are no rules of speeding.

But even in the alternative living scenarios Wednesday Martin reports on in the tribal lives of couples, there’s a understandings within the martial relationship, of guidelines within the culture to follow. And like our culture, when they are broke trust is broke. Then fear can reign, in both, the victim and the offender. And when that fear takes over a life, all you have is restriction, never liberation. My first insight is this; it’s not the format of the marriage that creates fear, Fear can and will reside in us long before any sort of marriage and it is one of the great motivators. Fear can reside in any kind of relationship. Husband, wife. Husband, son. Daughter, Father. Son, Mother. polygyny, polyandry, polyamory etc… Fear is in us, and it will manifest itself in different ways. Control is one major way. I’ll focus on this paradigm of fear in the blog.

Jesus came to liberate! Remember that. In your Christian marriage you should feel a freedom like no other! Free to love one another. And fear (the fear I’m referring to in this blog) is not a part of God’s kind of love. When we love in our power, we do fear, and in turn want to control. This is the normal way of love to be manifested in human beings. Fear is strongly attached to the kind of love we give.

God’s love contains no fear (1st John 4:18)—indeed fully-developed love expels every particle of fear, for fear always contains some of the torture of feeling guilty. This means that the man who lives in fear has not yet had his love perfected.

In the verse above, the Apostle John is talking about God and us. Our individual relationship with God should not involve the fear of torture or continued feelings of guilt. God is love towards his Church. He died for her! This guilt that resides in us for our sins can annihilate God’s love in our life. In the flesh, we are guilty individuals. No one living is righteousness before God. Know one? No one! Fear can be a sign of inner guilt that we are not trusting God’s grace to wash over. As if the Living water of Jesus cannot cleanse it. “Though your sins are as starlet, I will make you white as snow!” (Isa 1:18) Do you believe you are forgiven? Many times we say yes, but the fear in us says no way! Being in Church to worship Jesus can be healing, in the way of constant re-affirming of this truth.

It might be good to share here that there is a good fear, and a bad fear. You should fear a big truck coming straight at you! But if every decision is made in your life as if a truck is coming at your face then your decision making will become suspect, full of panic.

More than not, fear is in a marriage from the very beginning. It started when you dated (or courted or whatever you want to call it) and you just never knew it. And when you were married the inner motivation of why you did what you did was fear. Oh, you didn’t think so, of course. But that’s what is amazing about fear; it can percolate without boiling over or showing any steam. It lies undetected. Living a life by fear can be tiresome. You’ve been there before haven’t you!?

  • You have to watch carefully how the other person is acting when you get home, so you can act accordingly.
  • Maybe your told what to wear out of fear you might be to attractive to others. You might stumble someone.
  • There is a inability to talk about things freely in safety.
  • You are consistently thinking of the “what if I do this…” or say that…
  • You are not able to share your thoughts on desires, wishes and wants for sex, money or other “sensitive” topics.

But of course, it usually does not come off that way in a Christian marriage. You usually cannot detect when fear is running the show. In religious marriages usually there are some Bible verses on modesty that will be quoted as to reason for the change of cloths, or how you should avoid evil, or even that you are seeking the good of the other by correcting them. You really have there best interest in mind, or so you say. It’s what religious people do. It’s almost hard to fault anyone. It’s hard to let go and allow people to live in freedom. Can you relate? I think in general we are scared of freedom. It amazes me that God is not. He let’s us go! Radically! If there is any reason for the Tree of Good and Evil. This is it; Freedom. There are consequences to freedom. But just as the devil mocks God’s decisions in creation, so humans do as well. “Why would God create the Tree of Good and Evil?” Have you ever heard someone mock God’s decision to do so by asking a question like that before? Us humans are still mocking God along with the demons on this freedom issue. Though humans are unaware of the blessings of such freedom. Freedom that gives them the ability to mock! It is all so odd isn’t it. A song that struck me as I got older with this theme was Depeche Mode’s, Blasphemous Rumors. The chorus goes like this;

I don’t want to start 
Any blasphemous rumors
But I think that God’s 
Got a sick sense of humor 
And when I die
I expect to find Him laughing

My point being, that God seems to have a higher value on freedom than we do in our relationships.

The Pharisees of Jesus day were the same way as us and fell into the same sort of problems as we do. Can you imagine being married to one of them? They lived a life of control, and so it was important in there mind to make others like themselves. Good people they were. They were religious, and in control. They did it by self discipline & public put downs of those not like them, all the while quoting spiritual writings. It liberated know-one, including themselves. It instead hindered, restricted and diminished those around them. And ultimately, it crucified Jesus! We are told that the peopled feared the Pharisees for fear they would be put out of the synagogues! Even without a word from the religious leaders of Jesus day, the people feared them. And the Pharisees themselves lived in fear. Fear of judgement, fear of reputation etc… We are told this kind of religion actually does nothing for us. It actually just rebuilds the disability we already have. If you don’t believe me, study Colossians Chapter 2.

Can we give our spouse to God? Are we able to give the Lord, Lordship over our spouse, our kids, our fellowships? Or have we simply becomes Lord’s over our flocks? But what if my spouse is going to do that again? That is fear talking. They might do that again for all you know. But that is there sad decision. You need to be free of fear if they do choose that path in order to make loving decisions, that are hard decisions, when you need to. So many stay in a marriage out of fear, when the marriage has really been divorced long, long ago.

For many Christian couples there is no adultery in the marriage. But, there is a control that rules the nest. (We seem to think people are “equally yoked” just because they are Christians, but far from it they are). And for many, the marriage has become unbearable. Trying to live up to another’s standards is quite hard. Have you tried to live up to God’s? Good luck! Instead of trying, the Christian is to die daily and ask for help from the Holy Spirit. Why? Because we cannot live the Christ life, only Christ can through us! That’s why! The Spirit of God can help us from a fear based life to a love based life. Attempting to get a spouse (or kid etc..) to live up to your standards of holiness is not going to help. It will simply kill your marriage. It is a burden that is too much to bear. Trying to please a self righteous Pharisee would have been impossible! Jesus, the Son of God couldn’t! Neither can you. You can’t live to please your controlling spouse. You’ll get tired, depressed, sad & without hope.

When you are working on getting rid of your fear, you will no longer make comments about what they wear, or what they were looking at on there computers or phones. You will not have to quote passages and make your spouse or kids cry or feel stupid. Working on fear is taking out a sheet of paper and writing out what you fear on it. Put your spouses name down. Then write out what you fear about your relationship with them. After you write, you will be able to look at it and see exactly what is motivating you in your relationship. Fear is that powerful! When it is on paper it becomes quite revealing as to why we say what we say in conversations. Many times I have thought my words were out of love. They weren’t! It was fear all along.

If you have kids, great! Do the same with them! Write out what you fear. And then look at why you do what you do with them? Why did you send them to that school or had them go to Church? How come you said this or that to them? Fear is what has moved you to do what you do. Again, we can call it Jesus, but it isn’t Him. There is great fear in thinking you are wrong over and over. But the beautiful thing about the Bible is that this is exactly what it says concerning you! So you have no need to hide it anymore. Christianity starts of with this premise: We are failures. To hide from that underscores the entire Gospel. There can be a nice joy to know you have no need of hiding anymore. You can be free.

Luke 5:8,10 “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” ….
“Do not be afraid,” Jesus said to Simon, “from now on you will catch men.”

Nothing is wrong with quoting scripture to them or to a spouse. Actually quoting a scripture can be most beneficial, as we are told to do. Meditating on the Word, and the ways of God should be something we are in constant exercise of. But just quoting a scripture is something devils do and so do Pharisees. There is something that is that is behind the sharing of scriptures that is most important to God. And all of us need help in this, do we not?

Now ask a question? Is God greater than your fears? Can God, the creator of the heavens and the earth intervene, if it be thy will? Is God able? And if our answer is no, then we will need to act out of fear. It might be a nice Christian religious fear that is moving us all the day, but it is fear. No different of a life from any other religious or secular person. The same fear moves us all.

But I have to believe God offers us something different. A life unmovable by love. Jesus is the example. Though rejected and despised, he did not manipulate out of fear. He did not seek to control. Instead he let go. He shared truth, and trusted the Father with the outcome and the judgement of others. There was no use of force or coercion in his actions to get us to believe in Him. The Father let’s the prodigal son’s and daughter’s go.

When we struggle with fear, we need to write and be aware of what is moving us in our conversations. There will be a lot of apologizing for things said or did. “I’m sorry I said those things to you. It was not because I am concerned for your modesty (I don’t want you dressing like that), it is because I am afraid you will leave me. I believe you are beautiful…too beautiful to be with someone like me. That is what is really moving me.” “I use scriptures to get my way and feed into my fear.” “That’s why I parent the way I do, it’s why I am the kind of person I am.”

Try writing your own out!

As you continue to work on this, you will no doubt notice many things said even within the Church culture are said out of fear. If there is anything C.S. Lewis taught us in the screw tape letters is that our adversary is a pro at distracting us from what is really going on.

We need to die. Die to it all! It’s the only way. Let Go and Let God is about dying to the thing…the it!

Galatians 6:14 “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

The Serenity Prayer

An excerpt from the workbook by Peter Martin. From the Chapter on Anxiety!

This is why I love the Serenity Prayer so much:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
It is so awesome to me how this prayer focuses on the truth that there are some things that are within my control, and some things that aren’t. How much of our time do we spend worrying about things that we can’t change while we ignore the things that we can? Or, how much of our time do we spend paralyzed by fear as we convince ourselves that we can’t change things, that we actually can? This is most obvious to me when I stress out about the past or the future. Again, it’s not that it is wrong to think about the past, if we don’t think about our past ever we won’t be able to learn from it. And it isn’t wrong to think about the future, God wants us to be good stewards of our lives and that requires planning and discernment. But when we obsessively ruminate over the past and allow guilt and regret to consume us, we aren’t learning from our past, we are being controlled by something that we can’t change. Likewise, if our thoughts are consumed with “what if” questions about the future, which is by nature uncertain and outside of our control, we aren’t going to be able to effectively plan for the future. Instead, our minds will come apart with fear and instead of planning and making rational decisions, we will stress-out and dwell in paralyzing fear and indecision.

This will also steal all potential joy in your present circumstances because you will be so worried about what was, and what could be, you can’t simply enjoy what is. This is what Jesus is warning us about when He says: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

Each day has enough trouble of its own. It is only as God gives us the power to accept the things that are out of our control, and helps us see that the only thing that ultimately matters about your future, whether or not you will spend eternity with Him, has already been accomplished by Him; that we can gain the peace to enjoy and function in the present, the courage to learn from the past and change, and the confidence to plan for the future and make decisions, knowing that the future isn’t in your hands, but in the hands of God.

The Ethic of Imitation & Future Benefit

In thinking about what makes a right or wrong ethic, principle or lifestyle, I had this thought.  What if determining good or bad conduct is looked at through the lens of imitation and exportation?  I’ve been kicking this around.  I remember a passage of scripture that says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”  Or another passage that came to mind was in Jesus own words, “a servant is not greater than his master, imitate me!”  That’s a paraphrase of course.  But anyone who has read the passage in John 13 understands the point.  Imitating someone could be a way to see if a conduct is correct or not, couldn’t it?  Especially if it is exported onto others!

Now let’s take your own life.  What if everyone on the planet imitated your life?  What would the ramifications be?  Contemplate it.  What if it really were to happen?   It’s an interesting idea for sure.  Take everyone on the planet doing what you do.  Your morality is now there morality.  Your actions are there’s too!  They way you eat, work, play & even have sex!  Now the question I ask myself is, “If everyone lived the way I lived, how would the world look?”

There is another complicated idea that I have in this regard.  Is this a good way for us to weigh our own ethics?  I mean this.  Would this be a great way for us to find out if we are living a narcissistic life or not?  Narcissism is one of those things that we do not even know we are living in it.  Our selfishness does not let us know we are selfish.  But in answering some personal questions and having some thought maybe we could get to the answer of our own condition.

Many of us think of the future. There are some that have dedicated their entire lives to thinking of the future generations.  This is all done, so that we can have a future existence that is better.  There is a physical benefit to using the ethic of helping today.   Another way to say it is this;  We can use our future generations benefit as a way for us to measure if what we are doing today is right or wrong.

Now I want to bring this idea into our sexuality.  This will be sensitive no doubt as most things self reflective are.  But don’t let that scare us.  All that can happen to us in doing this is understand ourselves a bit more.   Though I understand that might not be your goal.

So let me run some quick scenarios:

If I were polygamous, I could ask, “What if everyone were polygamous?”  What would the world look like if that were the case?  Eveone male had more than one wife.  Could the earth support such a thing?  What would the population of the earth be after 100 years?  200 years?  What kind of natural resources would be needed for such a population?  What would the lives of women & children be like?

What if If everyone in the world were in a monogamous homosexual relationship?  What would the world look like in 100 years?  200 years?  Would the the planet benefit from such a thing?  What would human life look like in the future?

What if everyone were in monogamous heterosexual relationships?

What if everyone cheated on there spouse like me?

What if everyone had sex the way I do?

What if everyone loved the way I loved?

What if people treated women like I do?

What if people treated men like you do?

What if everyone used porn, prostitute or sex-bot instead of being with a beloved like me?

What if your sex, sexuality and sensuality were practiced by every other human in the same exact way?  What would our world be like?

It is the ethic of future benefit.  What if my ethical life could be measured and judged, right or wrong, on the answer to these questions.  And in turn would I change my life accordingly?  This is quite the challenge as I have mentioned.  I think the reason is because when we take our personal lives, especially our sexual ownership, and put it on the rest of the world, it is more easy to see a potential danger.  This could in turn move us to conviction that maybe what we are doing is quite narcissistic.  And this is no fun, especially because we are narcissistic!  If there is one thing our self desires does not desire, it is to think we are wrong in those desires.  And in order to self protect we could do many things to avoid such a attempt to rid ourselves of our desires.  Selfishness loves one thing…Selfishness.  I am simply suggesting a way for us to look and see if we are being such a person.

This is a theory of mine.  It might be something others have wrote about or lectured on before, and certainly there is nothing new under the sun.  But in my mind, it makes somewhat sense.  Do I live my life in a way that if all others did exactly what I did, with the same motives, attitudes and actions; how would the world be?

This just might be what Jesus is doing in us who are called his children.  He is making us like him the Bible tells us.  What if the world were just like Jesus as he is now?  Maybe this is the measure of Jesus love for the world?  He is making the world like Him!  In loving the world, he first lives a life to be imitated, then does the work of transforming us into that image.  Transformation.  This is the message of the Bible.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2nd Corinthians 3:18

Could we say that the measure of one’s love for others is in the investment in ones future benefit?  You save your money for your kids education, right?  It is a measure of your love for them.  Now take the ethic and move it into your personal life!  Would you sacrifice your personal life for the sake of the future generations?  Could you change your personal life so as to invest in the future of the world?   This is the ethic of future benefit and the ethic of imitation.