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!

News Flash: Married People Know What Sex Is

Good day all! How are you doing today? I’m still under the weather, but I am significantly improved from yesterday. 

So I bet you’re wondering why the title of this post is so stupid. It really is stupid, isn’t it? Well, it’s an exaggeration of an assumption I often notice when the ethics of sexual behavioirs are being discussed; namely abstinence. Usually the first thing people who are of the opinion that abstinence should not be encouraged will bring up is that sex has health benefits. 

Yes. I know. I am married. I know very well that sex is beneficial. I don’t think you understand just how deeply and intimately aware I am of the various benefits of sex. Seriously. 

This is both astounding and depressing to me. If a person doesn’t know I or whomever they are talking to is married when they bring up this point than whatever. That’s not depressing. However, if the person is aware of the marital status of whomever they are discussing sex with when they say sex has health benefits, it’s just unbelievably sad.   What do people think of marriage these days? Do people honestly think that a married couple is oblivious to sex because of the fact that they’re married? 
Not to mention how cynical people get when they know a married couple is also a faith based couple. It’s as if they immediately evoke some puritan image of two people who sleep in seperate beds and only ever take part in coitus when they decide that they don’t have enough children to run their old colony Mennonite farm.  

I’m just so sad that people have such a dismal view of marriage now, and this is one of the examples of how poorly people view this special bond. Contrary to what appears to be popular belief these days, marriage does not automatically kill sexual chemistry or whatever you want to call it. People who believe sex should be kept in marriage are not just old colony menonites who think it’s only meant for procreation. We are not all sexually suppressed puritans who punish ourselves for enjoying orgasms. Trust me. You have no idea how utterly contrary that is to the truth. 

Okay, I’m done my rant. Thank you for reading it. I just wanted to get that little point cleared up a bit. 

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. 🙂

Have We Damaged Our Eyes?

Hebrews 10:35-36
Therefore don’t throw away your boldness, which has a great reward. For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.

For a time I had thrown away boldness because I was discouraged. I felt defeated. So many disagree with what I believe, and some even believe that people with beliefs like mine aren’t even real Christians. So, I gave up. I let everyone else bicker and argue amongst themselves and just enjoyed my new marriage. There’s nothing wrong with doing that for a time, but I ignored what I believe God has placed on my shoulders for too long now.

Thanks to a lovely lady on the blogosphere, who recently re-blogged one of my posts, I have some boldness again. One of the functions of the church is to encourage each other (Thessalonians 5:11), and Ufuoma did that wonderfully!

Today I want to share something that’s been on my heart for a long time. When I published the blog post, The Principality of Homosexuality, I was terrified. I was so scared that I was wrong. I did not want to think of myself as being wiser that I ought. However, I believed that it was and is the truth, and so I published it.

Afterword I continued to wonder if everyone else was right and I was wrong, and as I pondered that I found myself trying to pick some sleep out of my eye. I was picking at it quite persistently until finally I felt a searing pain in the corner of my eye. I touched my finger to my tear duct and then examined it, and low and behold I saw blood on my finger. In that moment Luke 6:41-42 came to mind:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I was so convinced I had something lodged in my eye that I damaged my own eye while trying to remove a speck that wasn’t there.

I think that this is what many members of the church have done. We have dug out pieces of our eyes because others accused us of not seeing clearly. Well, now we REALLY can’t see clearly. Even if we wanted to remove specks from our brothers’ eyes out of genuine concern for their well being (for admonishment is also a function of the church – Colossians 3:16), it is now impossible for many of us to do that. Unless, of course, if Jesus does some healing and restores our eyes.

God placed the foundation for Godly marriage, and we can’t just replace it with a new foundation. It won’t work. We may try, and we may even deceive ourselves into thinking that it works, but I do not believe that God’s foundations can be changed.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂

Throwing Out Pieces of Jesus

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

If Jesus is the word of God, and has been so since the beginning, is every word that has ever come from God Jesus? When we dismiss Old Testament Scriptures when the New Testament Scriptures have not specifically instructed us to do so, are we dismissing pieces of Jesus? When we nitpick the scriptures, are we nitpicking Jesus? When we metaphorically (or literally) throw out Scriptures that we don’t like or assume are irrelevant, are we throwing out pieces of Jesus? Are we, by such actions, attempting to dictate to Jesus (and others) what pieces of His being are significant and what pieces are insignificant? When withhold Scriptures from others when they could be shared, are we withholding Jesus from others? When we force Scripture into people’s lives when it is not welcomed, are we forcing Jesus into people lives?

Is this how we treat our King? Is this how we treat our Savior? Is this how we treat the bridegroom of the Church?

If Jesus is the Word of God, and this is how we treat God’s Word now, will it carry over into the Kingdom of Heaven in how we treat Jesus directly?

Ah, so many questions. I suppose that’s all I have lately.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂 What are your thoughts on these questions?