Monday, December 5, 2022

Thoughts from Byrd Concerning Listening

 Was lurking over at The Wartburg Watch and found a tweet leading to Aimee Byrd's December 4th post on Why Complementarians Can't Listen.

It's a good read. It makes reference to the grain of wheat that has to die and be buried in order to produce fruit and that Complementarianism won't allow that because Men are the boss and don't have to die to their arrogance and sense of superiority. So this makes listening to their subordinate women unnecessary or impossible.

The Bible is full of such parables and references pointing out that hierarchy between believers is not to be part of the Kingdom of God.

One of my favorite ones is concerning the rich being like camel going through the eye of a needle. This is, of course, in reference to a gate in the city wall called the needle. A man could walk through it, from what I'm told. But a camel would have to have all it's packs taken off its back and have to crawl on it's knees to get through.

Most understand this as a rich man can't take his riches in to heaven, which is true. But I wonder how many understand that this also includes entitled men who think they should be the boss of others. You can't take your entitlement and desire to be the boss into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Sure, men have made many religious structures where they get to be the boss of others and stamp "God approves of this message/dynamic" on it and call it gospel. But they really aren't representing the Kingdom of God. Nor are they truly being leaders in God's Kingdom. They are just playing at the game of "who gets to be the boss of whom" and thinking they are doing church right, when it is so wrong. Jesus said that it was not to be like this among His followers. He said that this is what the gentiles seek after.

So, I agree with Aimee. Complementarians can't listen to women. Because their very structure props up false hierarchies and gives entitled men free reign to abuse and lord over God's sheep.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Broken Love

 The goings on over at the Bare Marriage blog has got me thinking.

This month they are talking about how to repair sex in a marriage that has been broken by the horrible teachings of the big name Evangelicals. And, as expected, they are getting push back.

And, of course, there is a commenter that is wanting to accuse Sheila of  'not displaying the fruit of the Spirit'. The thread can be found here:

Christians Need a Better Understanding of Consent

Quote from FE's comment at 11/18/22 at 2:28 pm:

"This is a site that whispers in the ears of women and feeds discontent, hatred and sows the opposite of the fruit of the spirit. You flunk your own tests for the fruit of the Spirit, for safety and for doing no harm."

I will refer back to FE's quote later.

As I continue to work through the damage done to me through a decades long marriage to a low level Narcissist, part of my spiritual healing routine is meditation on The Song of Songs.

I understand that my take on The Songs is not everyone's cup of tea. But my testimony is my own and if it can help others, then I will share a bit of it here and there where it seems right to do so.

Long story short, I started meditation on the Songs back in 1998 while only ten years into a thirty year marriage. I can't tell you how many times I've been through this book of divine poetry. Nor can I tell you how many times I have copied it, word for word, in notebooks to help with deeper meditation on it.

I started meditating on it before I ever knew what a narcissist was and it helped me to see the difference between a healthy love relationship and what I was experiencing. It also helped me understand the depth of God's love for me and that He was not in agreement with what was happening to me.

Anyway, back to present day.

I am now in the second chapter and a verse in it jumped out at me last week.

Songs 2:5 Refresh me with raisin cakes, sustain me with apples, Because I am lovesick.

In the past, this verse hasn't meant a whole lot to me. I took it at face value and accepted the first level, or surface meaning of it. Teenage angst over being infatuation with their love. And that is what I believe it means.

But as I was reading it last week, what jumped out at me was the word "lovesick". And while I am in no position to be lovesick in the teenage angsty, puppy love verse, there is still a sickness within me concerning love. Or, to better put it, my love, or ability to love has been broken. So in that sense, I am lovesick.

So as I was meditating on this brokenness within me, I also looked at the other words used in that verse, refresh and sustain. And this sent me down the path of meditation on the verses in the Bible about God restoring and healing us. There are many such verses. I will share one

Psalm 23:2 He lets me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters (3a) He restores my soul.

There were many things that broke my marriage. But one big one was his sense of entitlement to sex and the coercion that he regularly used to get it. And so much of the broken Evangelical teaching agreed with him. I didn't have Sheila whispering discontent and hatred in my ears back then as FE's comment suggests. But rather, I had The Songs as a measuring rod for the abuse that I was suffering.

I want to close this post with another verse from The Songs chapter two that flies in the face of the Evangelical obligation teaching. It is the groom speaking here:

Songs 2:7 “Swear to me, you daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, That you will not disturb or awaken my love until she pleases."

This is the right teaching concerning sex. It is when she pleases, when she is willing, and when she is in the position to enjoy it. She must feel safe and not coerced. And these words are repeated three more time throughout The Songs in chapters three, five, and eight! This was a very important part of the poetry. But the male teachers that teach on this book ignore this repeated refrain in favor of what they think are the best bits of the poem, the ones that can be used to coerce and shame women.

Sorry, FE. But you are on the wrong side of this argument. You have absorbed the poison from the false teachings of entitled male Evangelicals which is the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit.

Refresh me with raisi caksick.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Links Concerning The Songs

 Putting these here to refer to later.

Book suggestion for deeper understanding of The Songs A New Translation and Interpretation.

Britannica notes on The Songs.

I am a life long studier of the Songs for personal reasons.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Aristotle and Ephesians

 Wanting to be able to find this quickly for a deeper reading so am linking it here.

How Reading Aristotle Frees Us from John Piper and Albert Mohler's Complementarianism

Hope others find it and learn something from it.

Edited to add this link for good measure. It is where I found the previous link

Complementarianism and Abuse


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Narcissism and Spiritual Bypassing

 One of my favorite Youtubers that discuss Narcissism is Dr. Ramani. I don't see every video she puts up, but I've shared several of them here and with friends struggling with narcistic abuse.

Well, Dr Ramani put out a video today entitled "Narcissists and Spiritual Bypassing". I have never heard this term, but apparently it was coined in the 70s by John Welwood.

Though she speaks of this in terms of the latest self-help and health crazes, I find it very applicable to many things in Christianity.

The biggest being, of course, the sweeping under the rug of women being abused in patriarchy and complementarian circles. People, both men and women, spiritually bypass the pain of women being abused, telling them that they should just pray harder or submit more, blaming the victim and holding the victim responsible for the toxic behavior of their abuser.

I like this term "Spiritual Bypassing" and I wish that I had the term back when I was trying to figure out and talk about New Calvinism and how it seemed similar to Vulcanism (yes, Spock, Star Trek Vulcanism). So watch out world, Mara Reid is going to be using this term liberally in the future when discussing those who are just too spiritual to give a crap for those suffering in the church.

Friday, July 15, 2022

The Raging Narcissist in Review

 I had stopped listening to The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcasts at Christianity Today because the series was essentially over with a vague promise of some bonus issues. It took so long for those issues to drop that I stopped going there to look for them.

For reasons I won't get into, I went back to the main podcast page and found several bonus issues available that had dropped without me knowing it. So I am slowly working through them.

The one I'm listening to as I start this post is called "Paint the Beauty We Split: A Conversation With Chad Gardner".

I probably wouldn't have even mentioned it here except for something in particular that was said in the podcast.

I had mentioned in a previous post that I had to skip parts of the intro of the series because of Mark displaying Narcissistic Rage during the song "Paint the Beauty We Split".

It turns out that others have associated the clip of that raging narcissist with the song and that this had left a hard lump in the stomach of Chad Gardner. It was difficult for him to think this song of his and his band's (Kings Kaleidoscope) had Mark's "thumb prints" all over it.

So Cosper, the podcast host, announce that they removed Mark's Narcissistic tirade out of the intro so that it would no longer be linked with the song. They took it out of every podcast that it was used in. But kept the song. And I appreciate that.

Plus, this was a pretty good podcast and you should give it a listen if you haven't yet.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Throw Back Thursday

 I did a short series back in 2012 called "Sex, Drugs, and Mark Driscoll". It was a four part series pointing out that Mark Driscoll got away with a lot of stuff because he was, what I referred to as, a Rock Star Preacher.

The reason I'm re-posting this today is because I think it is relevant to the conversation about men blaming women while giving men a pass.

Anyway, here it is reprinted. If you would like to read it in it's original form, go here "Sex, Drugs, and Mark Driscoll, pt 3". It would be worth it to read the comments under it including a late comment (over a year later) correcting some misinformation that I had concerning the story.

*****

Sex, Drugs, and Mark Driscoll, pt 3

Rock and roll, by nature, is misogynistic. Anyone is free to disagree with me on this one but it is my overview observation of many years.

The rock and roll mentality or attitude has creeped in among Christians and is also misogynistic. I'll start by telling a true story.

I used to frequent another blog and the blog owner, we'll call him Fred (not his real name) was a Christian, religious-right kind of guy. He had just read Steven Tyler's biography. (Steven Tyler fans, just relax. My story is more about the blog reaction than Tyler himself.)

Steve Tyler, for those who don't know (which is about three of you, right? The rest have seen him on American Idol), is a Rock Star. He was/is part of the band, Aerosmith.

Apparently, according Fred, Tyler had a 14 year old girlfriend. He took over guardianship from her parents. This girl ended up pregnant and her parents determined that she was too young to carry, birth, and care for this baby so they took her in, against Tyler's wishes, and she had an abortion. This really upset Tyler and bothers him to this day.

Fred used this story to wax on concerning how horrible abortions were, and how horrible it is for fathers who have no rights concerning abortion, which, invariably led to how horrible feminists were and on a lesser level, how horrible modern American women were.

Fred and his male commenters felt so sorry for Tyler and the terrible pain he went through as a father with no rights over the child he sired. They blamed feminism, abortion, and Fred also blamed girls for being smitten with celebrity figures and her parents for not training her better.

Now, people, understand. I'm just as pro-life as your average conservative Christian (I no longer associate with the Religious Right. They are just plain crazy. But I am conservative in many ways.)
Anyway, I'm just as pro-life as the next conservative you might meet on the street. But I'm not stupid. That fourteen year old girl did not get pregnant because she or feminists are evil or because her parents did a thing of two wrong in parenting her.

That girl got pregnant because of the "Rock Star" mentality. If 30 something Joe Schmo down the street had started wooing the fourteen year old, you can bet the parents would have laid down the law. Why? Because there was nothing in it for them. It was the parents that were smitten by Tyler's Rock Star status. Otherwise why would they have ever signed over guardianship to him?

And what the heck was Tyler doing with a fourteen year old girlfriend, anyway? My guess is that she was a model and that's how they met. But that's my guess. Anyway, Fact: Tyler getting a fourteen year old pregnant was statutory rape. If Joe Schmo had done it, he most likely would have gone to jail and would be on the sex offenders list to this day. But not Steven Tyler. Why? Because he's a Rock Star, and Rock Stars can get away with things your average Joe cannot.

This leads me to a question.

Why were the men on that blog so unconcerned with the fact that Tyler had a 14 year old girlfriend yet were ready to tear down feminism and make comments concerning gullible girls and poor parenting? Why did it not bother them that Tyler could get away with something they, most likely, could not?

Well, I have one guess. I think it's because the male fantasy of being a Rock Star is alive and well in the world and the church. Those men on that blog might have said in passing that it was wrong for Tyler to have such a young girlfriend. In truth, the hideousness of the wrong of statutory rape was completely lost on them. All they could see was a man, a celebrity, facing losing his child because of unfair laws concerning the rights of father of the unborn. They couldn't see that Tyler was using his Rock Star status to get away with breaking the law and that the parents were using their daughter and Tyler's Rock Star status to make gains of their own.

Bringing this back to Driscoll, he also has gotten away with stuff the average Joe could not. This has not been a good thing for Driscoll or the people around him. Rock Stars getting away with stuff is not good for them. Tyler suffered greatly due to the consequences of his action. He lost a child over it and from what I gather, he still mourns over it. And as we are seeing, many people around Driscoll have also suffered greatly and many have mourned over Driscoll and the time they spent in his church.

It's time for the male fantasy of being a Rock Star Preacher to be recognized for what it is. Destructive, unchristian, and unbiblical.


*****

The misinformation was about the age of the young lady in question. She was actually 16 at the time.

Here is a link to her story:

Light of the World - the Steven Tyler and Julia Holcomb Story

Also, I noted that in part 4 of my series that several ladies and I pointed out that Steven Tyler was guilty in his own way. We said something like:  "where we agreed that we didn't like the fact that an abortion was involved, the abortion was not the beginning of the problem, it was the final, violent solution chosen by a girl's family to deal with the wrongs and excesses of a man living out the Rock Star dream."

The men of the blog, including the owner, actually listened to us and realized that this story was not a good one to use to bemoan the lack of father's rights. Looking back at this story today, it is just another illustration of men jumping to the conclusion that, whatever happened, it had to be the woman's fault. Oh, and feminism was probably involved somehow.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Who Is It About, Then?

 If it's not all about men and male church leaders and what they think, feel, want and how they want to teach and direct the church, then who is it about?

Well, I'm pretty sure that if we look at the words of Jesus, we can get an inkling. There are tons of amazing examples. But  I'll pull out this one because it gets straight to the heart of the matter.

Luke 10:30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

This story is not about religious leaders, except to expose their failures to represent God. As many church leaders today fail to take care of the vulnerable, broken, and wounded, so have these religious leaders failed to show God's heart toward the beaten and half-dead man on the road to Jericho.

Rather, this story is about a man who takes care of the broken, beaten, wounded and vulnerable. This is the story of what is important to God. Because it is all about the broken, wounded, and vulnerable and those who take care of them.

These are the kinds of things Jesus taught us. This is what is important. Years of men wringing their hands over what women and teen girls wear is a gross departure from what is important to God. It is a distraction away from what is near and dear to Him.

It's all about healing the broken hearted and binding up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). This is what God loves to do. And God loves those who join Him in this ministry.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

It's Not About You

 Back in the day, someone loaned me a copy of "The Purpose Driven Life".

I couldn't get beyond the first few lines of the first chapter.

The book opened up with the sentence, "It's Not About You."

My response?

"No kidding, 'it's not about me'! It has never been about me. It's always about him."

Who was I talking about when I said 'him'? My ex who is on the Narcissistic spectrum. Being married to a Narcissist taught me early on that it would never ever be about me in our marriage. It could only be about him. When people asked me why I divorced him, my short answer was, there wasn't room in our marriage for two people. Only one. And that one was never me.

As God was trying to lead me into His healing work on my heart, I began to learn that, actually, yes, sometimes it is about me. It is about my healing from Narcissistic abuse. And it was about my eventual escape from that relationship.

That book, "The Purpose Driven Life" was a huge best seller. And the message in it to not be selfish, definitely has its place. It was written by a man, Rick Warren, to all Christians. I suspect that he thought  that all others needed to hear this "Don't be self-centered" message just like he needed to hear it.

But the problem with projecting this on everyone is that it doesn't apply to everyone equally.

I gave a personal example above. Now I will tie it into the most recent To Love, Honor, and Vacuum post: "On Modesty: We shouldn't sacrifice Teen Girls Well-being for Adult Men's Comfort".

I read the post when it came out on Friday and this part kept going around in my brain.

...I had rather polite interactions with men (on Twitter) who seemed like totally reasonable guys, explaining that we were supposed to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper, and men were visual and do lust, and so women and girls should dress accordingly.

When I said, “if we’re to be a sister’s keeper, and if we know this message does harm (to teenage girls), then when does she get to matter?”, the response from several was, “that’s certainly sad, and we don’t want that to happen, but it needs to be understood how men are.”

So once again–men’s comfort matters more than women’s well-being.

And it just reminded me of the first few words of Rick Warren's book. "It's not about you."

These men live in the land of, "It's all about me". Their comfort and all Christian dialogue has to be about what men need, think, and feel. Women don't count. It's never about women, including teenage girls.

The male-centric message you teach from the pulpit hurts women and children? Sorry, that's just the way it has to be. It's all about men. Women and children need to understand how men are. Men don't need to understand how women and children are because it is all about men

Here is where Rick Warren's words should be applied. Men need to stop making it all about them. Because in God's economy, it isn't just about men.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

Borrowed Credentials (NPD)

 This title is taken from a quote from WanatcheeTheHatchet's latest commentary on The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill Podcast and drawing from his extensive knowledge of the history of Mars Hill.

The full sentence from Wanatchee's post goes like this:

"Driscoll has certainly fisked people out there for "borrowed faith" but the stories of all the men who have come and gone from Mark Driscoll's life of whom he at one point said "He's my pastor, you know" suggests that Driscoll has spent his entire ministry career running on the borrowed credentials of people who, at one point, believed in him. "

This sentence appears near the end of the post. But everything written before it soundly supports this statement.

I almost left a comment but decided against it as it would have been merely stating the obvious and was using a word that Wanatchee has been actively avoiding for good reason. The comment I was going to make was something along the lines of, Yes, this is typical Narcissistic Personality Disorder behavior.

I understand that there are many reasons why someone like Wenactchee would want to avoid mentioning the word "Narcissist". It is both a very charged word and a word that some people simple tune out for one reason or another. Also, when one uses the word one runs the risk of being accused of trying to armchair diagnose people.

So rather than use the word, Wanatchee simply lays things out with more than enough evidence. And I look at it and think, "Just another example of raging Narcissism that male church leaders have admired, given a pass, defended, given a platform."

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Critical Review of The Rise and Fall Podcast

 No, I'm not writing a critical review. I just found one that I want to keep track of. So I'm going to link it here, for now.

Sharing Many of the Same Flaws as It's Subject "The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill" Podcast puts the Blame Anywhere But Where It Belongs 

I agree with much of her assessment. I was always so frustrated with all the Evangelical leaders who promoted and gave Driscoll a platform and a pass.

Monday, October 18, 2021

The ESV Translation Is Dishonest

 And it has a particualar agenda. And the (scare quotes) "Translators" were not afraid to change the very meaning of the Holy Writ in order to MAKE THEIR BIBLE CONFORM TO THEIR PERSONAL DOCTRINE. I'm really surprised by the lack of the fear of God among the ESV translators. Do they really think that God won't call them into account for tweaking His Word to make it say what they want?

This has been said here before. It will most likely be said again. 

Deconstructing the ESV