Niceness

I love people who are driven by compassion, but I am consistently befuddled by their fixation on niceness. They love to look for niceness in their social environments. I have found that many Christians have a compulsion to try and live out the spiritual fruit of kindness by being nice, and I have become resistant to that compulsion over the passed few years.

As far as I understand, kindness has to do with a desire to do good and be helpful to others, and niceness has to do with pleasurable, enjoyable or attractive qualities or experiences. They are not the same thing. Kindness is nice, but niceness does not automatically indicate kindness. (This feels like it could be another flawed syllogism; I think I have a thing for those.)

To be nice is to be polite. It is to behave in a way that everyone agrees is good. To be kind is do what is good and helpful for someone, regardless of whether or not everyone agrees that it is good. I would say that compassion is far more synonymous with kindness than it is with niceness. I think when we begin to tie kindness to politeness, we begin to loose what kindness really is.

Don't just accept what I am saying though, because once again, I am biased. I don't like looking for niceness. I like looking for grit. I like messiness. I look for people to unfold their messiness and grittiness before me, because that is where I find the hidden treasures. I was recently told that God would give me the treasures of darkness (especially in relation to my writing), and that fascinated me because shortly after that was spoken over me the scripture where that phrase is used was read aloud. Isaiah 45:3. Simply titillating!

I am beginning to wonder if this might be one of the things about me that was being referred to. I am fascinated by dark things. I want to know why the human psyche has such darkness, and I want to know what's hidden inside of that darkness. I know many Christians will give me the blanket answer that we have fallen short of the glory of God and live in a fallen world, and while I don't disagree with that, I want to dive deeper. I'm not satisfied with just the all encompassing answer; I want to know all the smaller answers within it.

Well, I guess that's my rant for today. I'm strongly considering changing the description to reflect how much I ramble on. I think I may actually do that.

Anywho! Thanks for reading my blog! God bless you!

On Friendship and Mentorship

I have a confession to make. I don't want friends. *gasp* I must me emotionally stunted! What kind of person doesn't want friends? Surely I am a sociopath, or something like it.

Well, now that I have made you question my socio-emotional maturity, allow me to elaborate. I see the value of friendships, and I am very grateful for the friendships I have in my life. I love you, friends. However, I don't want any more friends. I no longer crave having peers. I crave something else now.

I crave a mentor. I yearn for a mentor. That's weird, though. I mean, how do you go about getting one? Do I just go up to someone I respect and say, "Hey, wanna be my mentor?" It's not quite the same as making a friend.

Mentorship is very important, though. It's basically discipleship, and I think sometimes Christians misunderstand the depth of discipleship. I wonder if we often think it begins and ends with an unbeliever becoming a believer, or whatever terminology you want to use, but it doesn't stop there. Discipleship actually truly begins after process is finished, because it's really a relationship. It's a relationship that has a teacher-student dynamic, and that's clearly very important sense those were some of the central relationships in Jesus' ministry.

I struggle to find a mentor. I think it's partially an issue of modern culture, because people have become so suspicious of the very concept of authority that a discipling relationship looks problematic (oh, I hate that word). However, it's also because the people who have tried to mentor me have neglected a very important need of mine, and by no fault of their own.

The people who have been drawn to me have been deeply spiritual people, and that's great! I love exploring the depths of spirituality! However, I don't want to neglect my intellect, but that's almost impossible to avoid when the people who want to invest in me focus almost exclusively on spiritual and emotional growth. Again, there's nothing wrong with that! If they're wired that way then they're wired that way. No judgement here.

I hesitate to say this, but I can't help but notice a trend. The people who have wanted to mentor me have mainly been women, and the people whom I have wanted to mentor me have mostly been men. I have nothing against other women, and I will reiterate one more time, I highly value their wisdom and investment in the socio-emotional pursuit of spirituality. However, I want more, and I struggle to find women who are as interested in exploring a purely intellectual examination of faith and spirituality as I am.

Unfortunately, it's weird looking for a male mentor. I am extremely neurotic, so any possibility of my relationships even LOOKING like they could be inappropriate is enough to stop me. So, what do I do? Well, so far, I have satisfied this need by finding people on the internet to listen to.

I love Dr. Jordan Peterson, J. Warner Wallace, and even David Wood. They are huge inspirations for me. I also enjoy the YouTubers Sargon of Akkad and Computing Forever, and to be honest I view their content more than anyone else's content. (I know, I know, some people consider them pseudo-intellectuals, but I still think they have good insights.) Now, I am not trying to bad mouth atheists – quite the opposite actually, I have a great deal of respect for a lot of social and political commentators who happen to be atheists – but I wonder what it might say about what Christian communities may be lacking , when the majority of my need for mentorship is being fulfilled by atheists. We have lost something in our Christian communities. We need to find it again.

My dear atheist friends, please don't misunderstand me. I don't think you are lesser than Christians, I am simply saddened by the lack of Christian mentors who I can connect with. I have found much wisdom and companionship with atheists and agnostics, and I am deeply grateful for that. I only make the distinction to illustrate my point that I wish I could find a mentor who would invest in my intellectual growth as a vital component of my faith walk.

Anywho. Thank you for reading my blog. God bless you! I love you all!

Slowly Growing Out of My Grudges

I'm growing. I'm changing. I'm a little different today than I was yesterday, and much different than I was a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago, and even twenty-four years ago! (I'm twenty-four years old; feel free to roll your eyes at my so-called humour.)

I have contemplated and argued thoughts and philosophies all over the internet. I have adopted different schools of thought, dropped some and kept others, and I've challenged myself here and there. So, I'm different. I'm new. A new creation even. A new creation in Christ! (Oooooooooh.)

The reason I say these things is because I am not proud of everything in this blog. I have written things that I'm not sure I agree with any more, and things that I do still agree with but perhaps were better left out of the public sphere. I know who I am (sort of), and I know what I stand for (mostly). I also know that I lack understanding of myself and what I stand for, so naturally as I grow and my knowledge of myself deepens and expands, some of my thoughts and opinions will change. They have, and they will continue to do so in the future.

I will not delete anything on my blog. I like to remain transparent whenever I can, and I never want to hide my past. I won't hide the paths I've walked nor the thoughts I've entertained. You are free to examine who I was and what I thought. You are also free to patiently wait so you can examine who I will be and what I will think.

I will not go into detail about what previous expressions conflict with my current positions or why. I will only tell you this: I have been holding a lot of grudges. Those grudges were often directed toward left-wing political adherents, and until recently I did not fully understand why. Now I think I do.

You see, I am a very emotional and sensitive person, and for many years now I have experienced significantly more emotional manipulation from the left than the right. That is my weak spot. Right-wing adherents more often challenged me on an intellectual bases, and usually made a point of leaving "the feels" out of it, so I suppose I started to feel safer with them. They can be just as ideologically aggressive as the left, but they never went after my weak spot. After rallying with them it became easy to harbour anger against the left, but I just don't want to do that anymore.

So, even though I still feel emotionally manipulated on a regular bases by people who identify as liberals, I'm starting to let go of my grudges. Now I feel free to agree with them if they happen to address an issue in a way that makes sense to me. I still often feel backed into a corner by the emotional manipulation I see from the left, but I don't feel trapped any more; if you can make sense of that.

In conclusion, I'm slowly shedding the defences I've put up over the passed few years. Hopefully I will continue to shed them as I grow, and I will no longer be partially motivated by grudges in the future.

Thank you for reading my blog! God bless you! (Seriously; ALL of you!)

Joy

A lovely young lady whom I simply can’t say enough good things about just wrote a blog post about cultivating joy as part of being a godly wife, and I totally agree with her. That’s one of the things that my husband often mentions when he tells me things that he loves about me. He has said many times that he has never seen such joy in any one, and that no one has ever made him feel such joy as I have.

I have been called happy, joyful, bubbly and cheerful. Just this afternoon a customer at my place of work told me that she appreciated my cheeriness. In high school a friend of mine jokingly theorized that my brain must be made of marihuana, because he couldn’t believe that anyone could be so happy all the time. A few years ago at church someone told me not to lose my smile because it lights up the room.

Why then do I struggle with depression?

Oh yes, quite the sharp turn I just took there. Well, that’s what life is often like for me emotionally. One sharp turn after another. Lately I’m beginning to wonder if I’m manic depressive.

But what is the cause? Well, I believe there are a few sub causes that all fit under one main cause. I think the first sub cause is my attempt to justify each and every mood swing. I don’t like thinking that what I’m feeling might not be justified. I just want to feel. Unfortunately I do have to acknowledge when my mood swings are completely uncalled for eventually. I don’t usually do that though…

Another sub cause would be my tendency to destroy my own self esteem. When others see a minor slip up in me I see a landslide of failure, and I just continuously put myself down until I am convinced that I have degraded myself as much as I deserve.

Another sub cause is my habit of remaining in my basement suite by myself whenever I have free time. I am very protective of my alone time and am unwilling to spare any of it if I feel that even a tiny portion of it is under threat. This sub cause leads to another sub cause which is a lack of sunlight.

Basically, I am resisting correction, resisting mercy, and resisting relationship.

What major cause could all these sub causes fit into, you may ask?

Well, I’m trying to be the god of my own life.

I decide when my thoughts or behaviours should or should not be corrected or when they are justified.
I decide when I should or should not receive mercy.
I decide when people are allowed in my life.

I’m trying to be the god of my own life, and as a result the joy of the Lord is escaping my grasp. If I am to find the joy of the Lord again I must first accept that He is God and I am not, and begin living my life accordingly.

All glory belongs to God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. I must behave in accordance with this truth. Then the joy of the Lord will be in me again. 🙂

Thank you for reading my blog. God bless you!!! 🙂

Marriage: Mysterious and Profound

Lately I have been thinking a lot about marriage. I am still technically a newly wed (although I don’t really feel like a newly wed), so the topic of marriage has become more profound to me as of late. For this reason, I think about the way that the definition of marriage is changing. In our culture it was once considered a union between a man and a women only, but many people are challenging this. It seems hateful, bigoted, and to some Christian’s it even seems spiritually or scripturally dishonest.

To me, it is more than spiritually and scripturally honest, but divinely beautiful and profound. Marriage is symbolic of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
30 because we are members of his body.
31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

I believe that God gave us marriage as a beautiful gift, and I believe that gift has a divine purpose, higher than simply to benefit man-kind (although that is certainly an important part of it). It was given to us as a physical and tangible picture of what the relationship between Christ and the Church looks like. Our very bodies were created for the purpose of glorifying the Lord. Wouldn’t something as important as marriage have that same purpose, too?

For this reason, I believe that same-sex marriage is less beautiful, and less profound. A man joined to a man cannot show what the relationship between Christ and the Church looks like with their own lives, and neither can a woman joined to a woman. Heterosexual couples often fail in this as well, for wives often fail to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ, and husbands often fail to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. However, the possibility to honour and glorify Christ and his Bride is still there. In marriage a man cannot be the head over another man, and a woman cannot be the head over another woman. There us an imbalance of authority, so it cannot paint the picture if Christ being the head of the Church.

Unfortunately, the concept of authority is becoming loathed by more and more Christian women as this world moves farther into the feminist movement. Even some Christian men have come to loath the concept of authority. For this reason, one of the pillars of marriage has been knocked down. It’s mysterious and profound purpose is becoming irrelevant in society, even to Christians.

For a non believer, glorifying God means little. For a Christian, it should mean everything. The desire to glorify God should seep into every inch of our lives. It should be the aroma that never fades. It is the reason that we were made in God’s image. It is up to each of us to decide what is more important in our lives.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂

God Is The Goal; Jesus Is Our Mark

Yesterday I was pondering the belief that one’s sexual orientation is innate and cannot be changed, and I realized something. Almost every testimony I have ever heard or read of Christian’s being unable to change their sexual orientation had one common theme. They asked God to make them straight. They tried to “pray the gay away” as some people put it. They made heterosexuality their goal.

This always went over my head. I could never really understand it, so I never really tried to. I would note it, but I could never connect or relate to it. Here’s why:

That conversation never happened between me and God. I never asked Him to make me straight. I never made heterosexuality my goal. My goal was Jesus. My goal was to have a better relationship with my Heavenly Father. My life was not changed by “praying the gay away”. My life was changed by desiring God above all things.

Let me tell you what did happen between God and myself. I was in the laundry room contemplating all of the relationships in my life, and I realized that there is no relationship I will ever have that will ever be as important as my relationship with God. That was the changing moment. I committed myself to making my relationship with God the highest priority over all other relationships. That was the catalyst.

I believe that this is why so many reparative therapy programs and sexual conversion organizations have failed. Exodus International closed it’s doors last year and apologized to the LGBT community for “years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the Church as a whole.” These organizations make heterosexuality the goal, not Jesus, and that is why they have failed. This is a large reason why the homosexual controversy continues to gain steam.

When I was younger, perhaps still only 18 years old, I had a meeting with my pastor, along side my father, to ask permission to begin a small group specifically for young men and women who struggle with homosexuality. He was very excited to equip me to do this, and gave me as much advice as he could during the meeting. Eventually he gave me a little homework. One of the things he told me to do was to look into the Ministries and Organizations that already exist in this field and maybe speak to some of the people in these organizations.

That night I went on the computer and searched for the websites of these ministries. I only searched one. I don’t even remember what it was, but I didn’t like it. I remember that it pissed me off. I don’t remember why, all I remember is that the single website made me so angry that I gave up on the venture entirely. I remember thinking, “If I were still gay, this would seriously piss me off. I don’t think this would have helped me at all.”

I didn’t contact my pastor about it again for fear that he would insist that I try to run the small group similarity to how these other ministries were run. I’m sure that I could have spoken to him reasonably about it, for he’s a reasonable guy, but I didn’t know how to articulate what bothered me about it, so I didn’t try. Now I know why.

My Christian brothers and sisters, please listen to me. We must admonish each other, but we must not miss the mark. We must not convince others who struggle with homosexuality that heterosexuality is their ultimate goal. Jesus should be any Christian’s ultimate goal. The by-products of Holiness are not the ultimate goal. The benefits being in right relationship with the Father are not the ultimate goal. These are all good things and should be sought for, but not as a priority over God Himself.

Thank you for reading my blog. God bless you. 🙂