Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Note on Legalism

I noticed something the other day. I was watching a TV show and there was a scene where teen mother needed help comforting her newborn. She didn't know that newborns liked to be wrapped up tight in receiving blankets or else they don't feel secure.

Now, I already knew that, having had four children of my own. But for some reason when I watched that, it came to me:

Being wrapped up tightly in a receiving blanket to a baby brings security just as being wrapped up tightly in legalism brings security to many new believers.

If one comes from a place where rules and regulations makes one feel safe, it's not hard to imagine transferring that need for security onto faith in God.

I guess what I'm saying is that I've seen many people go through this works base/legalistic phase of their Christian walk. I went through it myself. I've seen some get past it and on into true freedom and others get trapped in it and keeping their "security blanket" of rules and works long past the time when they should have gotten rid of it.

I Corinthians13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Too many Christians are still dragging around the receiving/security blanket of salvation by works and legalism. It is way past time to do away with childish things.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Did You Hear the One About Jezebel?

I'm sure you have. Everyone has.
There is nothing that strikes fear into the hearts of men more than the dreaded "SPIRIT OF JEZEBEL"!!!

And everyone knows what that spirit is. It is a controlling spirit, found most often in women, that has the ability to castrate men and turn them into sniveling little Ahabs, the wimpy, less-than-a-man, a man to be hated and pitied for not having enough testosterone to fight his way out of a paper bag.

But here is the problem.

When you actually look at the spirit of Jezebel, it is not about a controlling woman at all. It is about a woman who teaches people to sin.

Revelation 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.

One of the things the spirit of Jezebel teaches is fornication or pornography. I know this because when I looked up "acts of immorality" in the original Greek in a Strong's Concordance the Greek word used is the word we get both fornication and pornography.

So instead of the spirit of Jezebel being this awful, man-hating, male-castrating feminist spirit, it is actually more along the lines of a Play Boy, Hustler, pornography spirit that entices and exploits human sexuality and promotes prostitution and human trafficking.

The spitting hell-fire and brimstone preachers who warn against this Spirit of Jezebel have it all wrong. They don't know what they are talking about. They are preaching the superstitions of men, the witch-burning kind, and using scriptures that they ought to be applying to the porn problem that is running rampant in churches today.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another Blog on My Blog Roll

I actually added this one last week but was having trouble with posting on Blogger so had to make the announcement this week.

Incongruous Circumspection is hosted by Joe, a male survivor of the spiritually bankrupt patriarchy movement.

Patriarchy hurts everyone and no one benefits in the long run. It is good to hear the stories of those who escaped. It gives hope and underscores again how destructive patriarchy truly is.

Also, honorable mention this time is the Egalitarian Christian Alliance Forum. Here men and women talk about all things Egalitarian for those who are thinking of exploring this option for understanding the Bible.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Have You Ever Heard This One?

"Marriage can only have one head. If it has two heads then it becomes a two-headed monster."

Implying that only men can be the leaders. If there are two leaders then it becomes a push me pull you with no direction.
"It is a bi-cranium, Madam."

Anyway, here is how the human logic flows.

It is assumed that head means "boss". Since head means boss and there can only be one boss that means that Ephesians chapter five is giving that position to the man who is the head, or that is, boss/leader etc. This saying is akin to Tuesday's saying, "Someone has to be in charge."

We have already refuted the "Someone has to be in charge" saying. So what do we do with this "Two headed monster" saying?

Well, we start with the premise that head means boss/leader in the first place. I'm not going to get all into the Greek and culture of the time argument. There are many good sources that questions the head=boss song and dance. No, I'm going to start somewhere else.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

When a woman gets married, she suddenly gains two heads because Jesus or God should be her head or master and comp/patriarchal teaching gives her another master.

IF head means boss/leader/authority then married women have two heads and they deal with this two-headed monster dilemma anyway.

BUT if head doesn't mean boss/leader/authority then the dilemma is gone. And so is the problem of the two-headed monster. And perhaps this can then be applied: Two heads are better than one. (sorry, couldn't resist)

My whole point in this is to reveal that the two-headed monster saying, used to frighten women into submission, is human reasoning that isn't validated by scripture.

Patriarchy gives women two masters. Jesus says a person cannot serve two masters. Perhaps in light of this evidence, head doesn't mean boss/leader/authority.

The context of Ephesians 5 doesn't support it. Never is the husband told to lead. He is told to love and sacrifice. The original Greek doesn't support it. Head means a literal head or source as in the head or source of a stream. And the rest of the Bible doesn't support it.

So the two-headed monster argument falls flat because it means nothing when compared to the rest of the Bible.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Heard It Said Once

I met a fellow on line on an egalitarian board who was there to set all those wayward egals straight concerning what the Bible truly said.

He tried to be patient. He also had a heart for the abused, both male and female. And because of that sincere heart, I really couldn't completely dismiss him.

However, his solution for what ailed the world and Christian marriages was following the 'biblical' example of Patriarchy.

He was so sold on the idea that patriarchy was the biblical solution, the divine healing structure that he couldn't see that it was patriarchy that was causing so much of the trouble to begin with.He said something that I found to be absolutely stunning. It was something that he believed from the bottom of his heart.

He told me, "If you reject Patriarchy, you reject your heavenly Father."

Has anyone else ever heard this one? Does this man's claim hold up when compared to the words of Jesus?

Let's take a look.
Matthew 23:8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

I don't know about you folks. But it seems pretty clear from the above passage that Jesus was not concerned about maintaining Patriarchy or any hierarchy structure for that matter. So it appears that Jesus Himself is rejecting Patriarchy. And if Jesus rejects Patriarchy, then I believe it is safe to say that rejecting Patriarchy is not equivalent to rejecting our Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You Have Also Heard It Said

I'm going to pick on a specific thing that a specific small-minded man is quoted as saying. Mark Driscoll might be considered patriarchy light or medium to strong comp. Yet what he says is pretty standard fare among those involved in these teaching. He is just more bold in his presentation. He is quoted as saying:

"Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture.”

Now let's look at what Jesus said.
Luke 11:27 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

A woman in the crowd is so moved by what Jesus said that she cries out, "Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which you nursed."

She could not think outside her role or her body parts because that is all she had known. The highest blessing any woman could ever have is to be related to a great man, like Jesus. And the highest relationship that a woman can have with any man is to be his mother.

Jesus answer to her, contrary to some teaching, was NOT to diminish motherhood or women. It was to remove the eyes of those listening from the cultural restrictions on gender and to the freedom of the Spirit beyond gender constraints.

Women, contrary to what Driscoll and other teach, are not saved by fulfilling a role. They are not saved by using their female body parts to serve others. They are blessed and saved by...

Wait for it...

Hearing the Word of God and observing it. The same way men are blessed and saved. What a concept!

Now, if part of the word of God that Jesus was concerned about was about gender, don't you think He would have used this teachable moment with this woman to re-enforce the need for her to fulfill her role so she could be saved?

Yet, amazingly, He undercuts gender and role requirements of the culture and makes all things level and equal.

All people, male and female, are blessed by hearing the Word of God and observing it. They are not saved by playing a role.

Dear Mark Driscoll, the hair on the back of our necks is not standing up because we are fighting God. It is because you are presenting a false gospel and you are defiling the pure gospel with bitter teaching. You are falsely accusing women of fighting against God when the truth is, you misrepresent God.

Please, Mr. Driscoll, stop building your doctrinal house on the sand of the traditions of men and find the bedrock of Jesus Christ who you claim to serve. Where women, gender, and roles are concerned, you are a false shepherd preaching bitterness and misrepresenting it as sweet.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Have Heard It Said Today

There are many cliches concerning "Christian" marriage flying around. They are modern day sayings that supposedly support the hierarchy of Compism or Patriarchy.

Let's look at one today:

"Someone has to be in charge."

I'm sure most of "you have heard it said": "Someone has to be charge."

It is an incredibly common phrase. It is also incredibly false when held up against the words of Jesus in red.

Let's look at those words.

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,

Mark10:42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;

Luke 22:24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.

These words of Jesus are mentioned in three out of four of the Gospels and meets the need of a matter being established by two or three witnesses.

According to Jesus, whose credentials we established last week as the final word on all things, the saying that someone has to be in charge in a marriage is completely false. And in fact, whoever wants to be the boss or the leader, he (or she) must make themselves the servant. And Jesus did not mean servant leader, another off-the-wall-crazy-double-speak saying that is liberally thrown around. Jesus meant servant, as in SERVANT. Servant leader does not fit in this equation in any conceivable way without some major twisting and manipulating by people who don't want to obey Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43, and Luke 22:24-26.
There are no loop-holes in these words in red, no matter how men want to read Peter and Paul

Monday, June 20, 2011

"You Have Heard It Said"

As we mentioned before, men have said all kinds of things about Jesus that simply weren't true.
People have also spoken things as divine truth that fell short of God's version of the truth.

In Matthew Chapter Five starting in verse twenty-one to the end of the chapter, Jesus starts dealing with what people say. Jesus lists six common sayings or understandings of correct behavior before God and then exposes how they fall short of how God really thinks.

If you have time, you can read the entire section, but for this post I thought we'd look at one in particular and show how history repeats itself.

One of the sayings is about divorce, which back then, only men could really do. And apparently it was very easy and a form of punishment when she didn't "obey" or "please" him as he thought fit.

Matthew 5:31 “It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

So if the wife burnt the biscuits one too many times because the baby was colicky, it was no big deal for the husband to send her away with no support.

And Neo-Patriarchy is following in this sinful practice and calling it God's will.

The following is to a link speaking about the Neo-Patriarch's way to deal with rebellious wives, wives who won't obey their husbands.
What they have to say falls under the category of, "You have heard it said." Just remember that Jesus said, only unchastity is grounds for a husband to divorce his wife. If she doesn't obey him or prop him up as the master/king of the house, this is not grounds for divorce, no matter how much Neo-Patriarchs want to make it all about who is the boss. Jesus makes it clear, Brian M. Schwertly does not, in any imaginable way, speak on behalf of God. He speaks on behalf of Patriarchs everywhere.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Houses of Sand

Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

The problem with the doctrines and structures of men is that they are built on sand and not rock.

I've told that to a man before indicating that the words of Paul were not the foundation or pattern for marriage and family and he pointed out to me that the words of the apostles and the prophets were the foundation of the church, and I believe there is a scripture to back that up.

HOWEVER, looking at these verses in Matthew seven more closely, I see that the words of Jesus are even DEEPER than the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. They are the bedrock that the foundation is built on.

And men who teach false doctrine are guilty of building their doctrinal houses on sand, or their false view of Jesus. Perhaps they are applying the words of Peter or Paul as the foundation, but still their foundation is built on sand.

You have to START with an understanding of who Jesus is and what He expects. You CANNOT assume you know and start building with the Epistles of Peter and Paul. Even their words, the very words of the apostles, are worthless without the bedrock of knowing Jesus.

Ignoring the words of Jesus to obey a warped understanding of Paul is not the Gospel. It is picking and choosing words from a book on which to build a religion devoid of God or any understanding of Him.

This is why you make sure you put first things first and listen to the Voice of the Shepherd first and foremost before the voices of the under shepherds.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

If Any Man Teach Otherwise

I Timothy 6:3-5 “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

I could expound on these verses above. But instead I'd like to direct your attention to a friend of mine who already has. In fact her post, written in December of 2010 had such an impact on me, the verse quoted above has joined my list of favorite verses.

Waneta's insight is always good. But every now and again, she hits it out of the park and more people need to be aware of it.

So please give Waneta's post a view, it is in agreement with what I've written here so far.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Confirmation From Heaven

Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

Luke 9:34 While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

Voices from heaven give witness to the deity of Jesus.

The first Voice, at the baptism, simply confirmed God's favor on His Son. The second, at the transfiguration, actually gave instructions to those who were present with Jesus on the mountain. The Voice told them, in no uncertain terms, to LISTEN TO HIM.

Now I ask you, to which of the angels of heaven, the prophets of old, or the apostles of the new testament did a voice come out of heaven and say, "Listen to him."?

The answer is (fanfare please): NONE

Voices came from heaven to tell them things to do, but not to confirm who they were to anyone else.

Now I'm not trying to pick on people or angels concerning what they did or what they said. I'm only pointing out the glaring fact that, when trying to decide the 'biblical' view on anything, is it EVER right to subvert the words Jesus Christ, written in red, to the words of ANYONE ELSE, human or angelic? EVER?

And yet this is what men do when they try do define God, Jesus, God's will, and 'biblical' this or biblical' that. They find support for their false doctrines in a false understanding and false translations of the words of Peter or Paul. In essence, they rob Jesus to pay Peter and Paul.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Who Do Men Say That I Am?"

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

Peter was being kind here. Some men called Jesus a drunkard and a glutton. Others said He had a demon.

Anyway, the main point here is that men say a lot of things about Jesus that simply aren't true. There have always been such men. There will always be such men. What that means to you and me is that we cannot just take any teacher's word for it concerning Jesus Christ.

Peter did not take other people's view of Jesus to heart. Peter walked with Jesus and learned who He was through first hand experience. Even then, when Peter gave the right answer, Jesus pointed out that this knowledge of who He was is not attainable through flesh and blood teachers without the Father giving a revelation of Who He is.

Too many teachers raise themselves up as authorities on who God is but they are speaking out of their own limited hearts and understanding and they muddy up the waters of true understanding.

Everyone who would ever want to lay hold of Jesus Christ needs to spend time away from organized religion.

Time with Him in the prayer closest and with the Gospel words written in red, away from the clamoring noise of teachers promoting their own, controlling religion is not a bad idea. But it also must be done with caution and humility, lest we fall into the same trap as controlling teachers.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Who Are You, Lord?"

When Saul got knocked off his horse on the road to Damascus, he really wanted to know Who knocked him off.

Acts 9:1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,"

And as I mentioned before, Jesus gave him the short answer. I also mentioned that Saul asks a very good question. One that all of us should ask, and keep on asking, as long as we walk this earth.

Who is the Jesus, Immanuel, who walked among us?
Do we really believe we can figure it all out in a few years or even a few life times?
In order to understand what God really wants, it is best to start with Who He is.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Preparing the Way

Luke 3:2b ...the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. 3 And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

John's mission was to prepare the way for Jesus.
This included declaring that the valleys will be filled and the mountains will be made level. We saw this even at his conception and during the time his mother was pregnant with him. The exalted High Priest was brought down and the lowly barren woman was raise up so that when all things evened out, they were equal.

John told the people to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. When they asked what they should do he said:
Luke 3:11 “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”

When the tax collectors and soldiers asked what they needed to do he said:
Vs13 “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”
Vs 14b“Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”

John was preparing people's ears to hear the Voice of the Infinite. He told the people in verse 16“As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

John did well in his work and words using them to begin the task pulling people out of the man-made structures that bound and orienting them around to the way God thinks.

And just for good measure, let's jump forward and see what the Infinite has to say about John the Baptist, His forerunner.

Luke7:24 When the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces! 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written,
28 I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

And we see that the regular, lowly people including tax-collectors were orienting themselves to the ways of God, while those of higher status, the Pharisees and lawyers rejected God's way of thinking and clung to their own human structures instead.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Immanuel, God With Us, Part 2

After picking on Zacharias yesterday, I thought I'd balance things out a bit and talk about Joseph. Let's look at Matthew Chapter One again.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Notice in verse 19 that Joseph is called a righteous man. Notice, also, that he is not a vindictive man but rather merciful. When his betrothed is found to be with child, no doubt his heart was broken. But he did not lash out in self-righteous indignation. Instead, he chose to put away Mary quietly to avoid bringing more attention and shame to her than what she would already face.

Notice, also, that once he had the dream, he obeyed, took her as his wife, and became her partner in the face of the shame and whispers that undoubtedly followed them wherever they went.

Yes, Joseph certainly was a righteous man. He also had many other good qualities and was well suited to be the surrogate father of our Lord when He was a child, which in included mercy and empathy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Immanuel, God With Us

No, it's not Christmas. But sometimes it's good to look at these scriptures without all the cultural and seasonal traditions attached to them.

Matthew 1:20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,

You know, when God decides to come to earth, it is no small matter. An awful lot of preparation is needed in order to make room for the Infinite in a finite world.

Before the Infinite was conceived, a way also had to be made for His forerunner, John the Baptist. So an old priest serving in the Jewish Temple in the Holy of Holies was visited by the angel Gabriel and told that his aged wife would conceive. Instead of believing, he doubted and was struck dumb. But his wife, Elizabeth, conceived nonetheless. [Luke 5:5-25]

Later Gabriel went to visit Mary to tell her what was to come and she received it with joy saying, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” [Luke 1:38]

Why all this review of Scripture? Because we need to see how God prepared the people involved with this greatest miracle of all -- Immanuel, God With Us.

If God really walked on the earth, then the words He spoke while He was with us are of the utmost importance. Understanding those words and perceiving the Heart that those words came from will help us gain a better grasp of who He is.

In some Bibles, the words of the Infinite are written in red. I desired to get to those words but became aware of the importance of the preparation that happened even before God walked among us. I began to see the orientation that occurred before the Infinite was born among the finite.

Mary, when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit came upon her and she spoke what is referred to as the Magnificat. [Luke 1:46-55]


So we have two pregnant women, one was an unmarried teen and the other one was far past the childbearing years, greeting each other in Luke chapter one. There was only one patriarch present. Zacharias also happened to be High Priest that year. But apparently the voice of a patriarch was not needed for that greeting or for the three months that Mary stayed with Elizabeth.

Pay attention to one of the things Mary said in her Magnificat:

Luke 1:51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. 53 “HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed.

Already God is working to orient people to His heart concerning things. Already He is bringing down the mountains, like patriarchs and priests, and raising up the less important in society, like unmarried pregnant teens and barren women.

But don't worry about the dumb patriarch. He got to learn in quiet submission to his wife and he gained a whole lot of good, Holy Spirit theology from a couple women for three months. At John's birth he had the opportunity to come into agreement with his wife and submit to God on the name of his son, which he did. Then his tongue was loosed.

Luke 1:59 And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60 But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. 64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.

After his voice was silenced and his heart was humbled God gave him the gift of prophecy and he prophesied in verses 67-79. He had the privilege of having his prophecy recorded in the same chapter as Mary's prophecy.

But none of this happened until after he was made silent and had to listen to two obscure women in his house go on and on for three months about the miracles of God and His love and mercy upon the lowly.

Perhaps I'm picking on Zacharias just a bit. But I believe that Zacharias was deeply blessed and moved by the experience. I also believe that he and Elizabeth were excellent parents to John, to help prepare him to prepare the way for the Lord.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Last week I went with my daughter to her college registration and orientation. While sitting there listening to presentation after presentation, a thought came to me.

You know how it is when a child has to make the transition from grade school to middle school or junior high to high school or from high school to college? It's a whole new world. Sometimes it's a whole new set of rules and definitely a whole new schedule.

It's a good thing these institutions have orientations to help the new student to get acclimated to all the changes and all the requirements.

While sitting there at my daughter's orientation, I realized that much of our walk with the Lord is us learning how to oriented ourselves to His way of thinking and doing things. We have to learn how to see things as He sees them. And the way He sees and thinks things is so much higher than the way we see and think about things.

You remember that before the Apostle Paul became an apostle he was the Pharisee Saul who persecuted the church. With all sorts of Zeal he thought he was doing God's will by trying to stamp out this new religion that he believed was a heresy.

Well, in Acts chapter nine, Saul had his road to Damascus experience. He was thrown from his horse by God. When he asked, "Who are you Lord?" God said, "I am Jesus who you are persecuting." (Acts 9:1-5)

I love Saul's question. He asked God who He was. And Jesus gave him the short answer that day. But Paul spent the rest of his life learning the long answer of just exactly who Jesus was. Paul didn't start our preaching and writing epistles after his road to Damascus experience. He went to the desert for 14 years or more to orient himself to who Jesus was. (Galatians 1:11-2:2)

My son and I have been watching the television series "The Universe" on Netflix.
We are in season two.

Did you know that Scientists did not know that there was anything beyond the Milky Way galaxy until the 1920s?

The deeper they are able to look into space, the universe, the more they realize how infinite it really is and how much more there is to know about even things nearby.

So, here's my question.
When God said "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts," did He mean, as high as the clouds or blueness of the daytime sky, or was He referring to something well beyond the outer stars of the Milky Way Galaxy?

The problem with boxes is not only that we try to put each other in them, we also try to get God to fit into a box that is shaped and limited by our own finite thinking.

Of course He doesn't fit into our little boxes which is a problem. But an even bigger problem is that we try to orient ourselves to this little box that we have made for God. Once we do this, we think that the way we think lines up with the way God thinks when really it only lines up with our terribly flawed and insufficient understanding of the Infinite.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Human Structures in Review

We have spent three months on human structures.
In March we looked at Job, false structures and started talking about order vs chaos or Apollonian vs Dionysian and even touched on yin/yang.
In April we looked at the Wild at Heart phenomenon and how it has affected the church and perpetuated a not always female friendly male vs female structure. We also looked at the tiny boxes or structures that small-minded men build for women using religion to beat them into down into those boxes.
In May, we looked at big-hearted men and contrasted the loving freedom they offer to women with the limiting, restrictive structures that small mind men uphold for their sisters. We also did a rather long series on Chimananda Adichie's "Single Story" and how this applied to human structure.

Perhaps I've spend an inordinate amount of time on human structures. If so, it is only because I want people to start discerning the existence of these human structures and begin to hold them up to the light of scripture in order to debunk the false structures.

But this month, the lovely month of June, we will turn our attention on some of the ways that God structures things and how they differ from human structures.

And here I will leave you a verse.

Isaiah 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.
Vs 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, SO are My ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Single Story and Structure

One of the reasons that I spent so much time on the Single Story is because it was a new way of looking at what we have been discussing here.

Whether fiction or non-fiction, a story is a structure. It has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. And stories have always been one of the ways we have used to make sense in a world that often doesn't make sense. Stories help us to find or create order out of our chaos.

As mentioned before, structures, including stories, are not bad in and of themselves. We human beings crave structure for the sake of security. But structures, even decent structures, can be used or recreated into something limiting and abusive.

The forcing of religious, gender and family structures within Christianity has crossed the line and become abusive. They have been constructed by those who cling to the past and fear the future. They have been constructed by those who worship structure and find their safety in enforcing structures rather than in seeking and following God, the Chief Architect and Builder. [Hebrews 11:10 New American Standard]

My desire is to seek God and to find Him and to learn what is important to Him and to follow the structures He lays out.

One of the best places in the Bible to learn about the structures and order that are truly important to God is in the words of Jesus in red. And a good place to start for the weary is in Matthew chapter eleven.

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The structures of men are exhausting.
The structures of God bring rest to our souls.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Single Story and The False Balance

Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.
Proverbs 20:10 Differing weights and differing measures. Both of them are abominable to the Lord.

The fact of the matter is this, the Single Story, by it's very nature, is off-balanced. It over focuses on one aspect or a few aspects of a matter, any matter, while ignoring all the rest. Having such tunnel vision on anything can do nothing else but create a great imbalance.

This is what Patriarchy and the pushers of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood do when they reduce all things having to do with gender down to their Single Story.

It is a form of Phariseeism and is unjust.
I've written on Phariseeism and the false balance before. It includes a link to an excellent article on Cindy K.'s Under Much Grace blog that is well worth reading.