I was planing on taking this site down, but decided to leave it. I will be back to do some editing or adding to a few of my blogs to parallel a shift in my beliefs. I’ve shifted to inclusion of all healthy spirituality/ faith, I’m gay affirming, and the practice of mindfulness meditation and Buddhism is something that has recently become very important to my healing. It was a good site and definitely moving in this direction, not that I’ve arrived or been completely enlightened; I’ve just shifted to love and complete inclusiveness. So it’s not going to be a “was good” but a continuation of some writing. It might be months before I have time to write, until then. 🙂
“Don’t lose sight of them(the wisdom of good words); keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously.”
Proverbs 4:21-24 CSB
Guard yourself, your centre, your heart around people of unhealthy religion who mind read i.e. judge who you are or what you think. All your action and words of healthy humour and communication are under their scrutiny, their suspicious sin hunt. Good words bring life to your soul; their heartless scrutiny in the guise of concern is toxic. Especially distance oneself from people who are “concerned ” about your heart. It’s a psychologic tatic to make you think there is something wrong with you so they can take a parental role and create a “co-dependent” person of you they can control and have drama with. Don’t be dishonest or devious with yourself. Judge yourself rightly.
I started an Etsy Shop and it’s linked to my Facebook page also.
You should check out my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HannahsartstudioShop
The most popular thing to have been said about Joseph fleeing Potiphar’s wife was he was fleeing sexual immorality and that that is the best thing to do “flee youthful lusts” and so forth. Yet I want to dig a little deeper. I’ve wondered did Joseph find her attractive, I mean maybe he ran because he did not like her anyway all of us are not attracted to all of the rest of us after all. In reading his words and how he reacted I think he did find her attractive.
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”Genesis 39:6-7 NASB
Joseph’s reaction was
But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”
Genesis 39:8-9 NASB
Joseph did not say, “You don’t please me, I find no favor in your countenance, I desire you not, you are like my master himself to me” remember I have to speak bible here or I would have him say “I am not attracted to you, I don’t want you, I want you no more than I would want one of the same sex”. I don’t think Joseph was at the point where he knew he was being stalked, I think he was fuzzy headed about that. Perhaps he was so attracted that he thought it was his fault and was staying away from her so as not to sin. Maybe he thought she was asking for sex because he was attracted to her. I’m sure there are people who think the stalking and/or assault is their fault because they are attracted to that person; that simply is not true. I find his staying away from her presence commendable and wise. Yet the real danger was her, she probably noticed his attraction and used that against him. Most women noticing this sweet man’s attraction would have treated him like everyone else and put him at his ease until he got over it. Attraction is like a bad cold it passes, it may be a five or six year bad cold but it will pass and is more an awkward annoyance than a danger in good people, even if they both have the same virus. Good women who have come down with what I call the attraction virus say to themselves “Oh man there is that Joseph, I will leave the room because I simply can’t help feeling this rush around him or I will talk to him like a brother and get over it”, she certainly would not be asking for sex. I’m guessing good men do the same. Don’t think attraction is lust or sin, acknowledge your natural feelings. If you repress them that only leads to false guilt and even a mydrid of other things. I don’t think she was the lonely wife of a cold, stupid husband. This is Potiphar, he was intelligent. The way he saw Joseph’s gifts and abilities makes me think he had a good amount of wisdom himself and an attractive amount of skill and ability to listen and be of good character. If he loved a hebrew slave named Joseph, he was certainly highly capable of love and friendship with his wife. This is not a story of an abused or neglected wife who falls for her husband’s employee and the employee grounds himself and refuses to sin and you feel kinda disappointed that they did not run away together sooner or later sinfully or not. Nor is this story about two people who gradually slide down a slippery slop of developing an illicit relationship and we kinda hate them both for betraying a spouse and the hope for a revived marriage. The lonely abused neglected wife doesn’t act like a psychopath and lie for revenge because she did not get what she wanted. The two people sliding into an affair, one doesn’t stalk and falsely accuse the other after all they have some mutuality even if morality is a bit lacking. I have felt sorry for Potiphar he is the abused husband, being married to what seems to be an emotionally detached woman who had her eye on men younger than her whom she should have treated like brothers and sons. You can be sure Joseph wasn’t the first, that’s how it works. She was sneaky enough that no one was ever sure of her sins. I am sure Potiphar felt confused about her. One has to wonder how she treated her husband, was she covertly or overtly neglectful or abusive and how so, what sort of things did she say to him in the bedroom? Her being the extremely rare, mentally unstable type of women who would lie and flip the tables claiming Joseph attempted to rape her when she was the stalking assaulting perpetrator shows me Potiphar was married to a women who had extreme problems, a pathological liar, an entitled narcissist, she thought Joseph should just do what she wanted. Joseph’s reaction to her by saying how Potiphar trusted him and he would not do this evil and then fleeing later in the story was healthy it is the thing that works if you are attracted to someone and things could go very wrong in an instant; you have love and empathy for others. One must simply not hurt the other people. Joseph’s story is rich with his ability to empathize and think things through with his heart. Attraction is nothing compared for your love/empathy for everyone it would hurt especially the hurting husband/wife whoever the case may be. I think Joseph possessed a lot of emotional intelligence. He knew it would hurt her husband and even if no one found out their relationship of trust on Joseph’s part would never be the same. He knew it would harm his relationship with God. Potiphar’s wife was blinded by power and she wanted what she wanted. Joseph was a victim of stalking/assault by a women who had power. Potiphar’s wife was in lust, Joseph seemed to merely be attracted. Attraction is like a cold, lust is like self harm that may progress to the point it can kill. Lust is on a spectrum so be careful; most of us are not a psychopath like Potiphar’s wife but desire for the physical can become overwhelming diregarding others, God, and our own future, but that is a whole other blog post. Here is a word study on lust
I don’t think Joseph realized how evil she was because he hadn’t progressed into having the “cringe factor” that is where someone whom you are attracted to is stalking and assaulting to the point you lose the attraction and the sight of them makes you gag. You don’t want to be near them you cannot stand them. I wasn’t sure if men get the “cringe factor” too so I asked a young man and yes they do. Men are human and the man I asked said “It just makes me feel CRINGE no attraction just cringe”. I wonder if he started feeling some anxiety every time she was in the same room even with others about, I think he did, sometimes anxious feelings help keep us safe. I’m certain Joseph said to himself “That is one nasty, yucky woman” and realized she was a lustful stalker sooner or later. Perhaps some moments before or while or after he was fleeing, or he may have felt confused for a while following the whole incident. I’m certain he hated her at some point the story doesn’t say, but it’s only natural, that sitting in prison he hated her. I think he must of forgiven and drawn near to God or he would not have excelled and his story would have been quite different, he would have stayed a victim. If one is not at the point of forgiving one must still move forward in other areas so as to not stay stuck. I’m almost sure the story of Joseph is history and not a metaphor but his prison stay certainly has metaphoric meaning as a lot of real things do. The prison can mean slowly coming out of that place of despair. The cup bearer not remembering Joseph reminds me of when we think we are free and then it takes a little more time and we are still a victim or at best a survivor and not thriving yet. Yet Joseph goes on to thrive and heal and grow in many ways. This story of Potifar’s wife is only one piece of his story more than enough angst had happened to him before so I encourage you to read or reread the whole.
Joseph definitely could have posted #metoo .
Brenton Dickieson always nails it and with a healthy dose of Lewis!
We all know C.S. Lewis as the Narnian, but behind the children’s work was his experience as a teacher of English literature, a writer about the history of literary movements, and a tinker in other forms of fiction. In that tinkering, and in his letters and essays, he would sometimes create new turns of phrase when it was needed. This is the seventh in the series on words that C.S. Lewis coined.
Click here for interactive chart.
Even when Lewis’ made-up words leave a sour taste in our mouths, they still speak to our world in interesting ways. Lewis invents the word “viricidal” in a Nov 27th, 1955 letter to author Dorothy L. Sayers. It should not be confused with words for a virus-killing agent that many hoped would emerge in the wake of the Spanish Flu after WWI. The Latin root is not virus but viri, for men (as in…
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I heard this wisdom from a friend a few months ago, she said, “You can hold more than one feeling at a time, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can hold grief and still hold joy. Some days the joy will be larger and others the grief.” That piece of understanding started to make sense but I struggled to actually acknowledge it in my daily life. Then it was said again a few days ago. It became visible and freeing as I hopefully understand it in my mind and heart. “You can hold more than one feeling at once. You can have rage(yes he used the word rage and I thought do I really have rage?) and grief they are real, but you can also have joy and freedom. Some days grief is going be bigger than joy, other days joy is larger, other days it may be an even mix of them all”. I decided all of this was a bit like looking at a complex algebra problem. The answer is Jesus and Jesus empowers me to take heart. I can see the whole algebraic expression. Sometimes one is more focused on one part than the other, but it is all there and all seen, and I can have the same acknowledgment of my emotions. This quote embodied the thought of acknowledging one’s feelings.
There’s no ‘should’ or ‘should not’ when it comes to having feelings.
They’re part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control.
W hen we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices
about what to do with those feelings. – Mr. Rogers
It is also like being on a tightrope with plates, the plates holding my feelings and thoughts. If Jesus can walk on water, He can help me balance on this tightrope with the sorrow life has handed me.
“Take heart because I have overcome the world” In essence Jesus has overcome and helps us take heart and overcome the sorrow from the trouble in this world.
I typed this out on my Kindle over coffee this morning. There is something of solace in coffee and coffeeshops.
The gospel is what matters…
And it’s a good possibility that both are “right” and we have different personalities and experiences that make us prefer one or the other. I will say this no one should tell you you must take their stance, that’s problematic. I didn’t even know what these terms were until March of last year, although I knew their practical definitions and the various degrees of the complementarian view. 😄 If I thought I had to be complementarian even of the lightest sort it would make me feel unable to breath, but someone else it may make them feel secure. I certainly think people should not treat their view as the only biblical one. I think there is more protection against abusers with the egalitarian view, at least for me, he would never want a partnership or to come alongside or any of that.
Aimee Byrd and Laura Martin are two of the most thoughtful writers I read. They tackle hard subjects relating to faith and doctrine, family and relationships, culture and society. They have taught me much through their scholarly and yet extremely readable posts.
So I turned to them to help me with something. I wanted to know how they would express their priorities when it comes to gospel and doctrine? Read along for the question I posed and their excellent answers, and enjoy the type of fellowship we should all strive for in the family of God.
Good morning Aimee and Laura:
I have an idea for a post about loving Jesus and pursuing good doctrinal understanding of God and his word. You each write well on this and cover a number of doctrinal issues with good solid support; it also just so happens that one of you is complementarian…
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Rethinking Christianity seemed to be the best, least click bait type of title I could think of. I almost wondered if Christianity Ruined My Life would have been an appropriate title since I was wanting to marry a believer and somehow became blind to the control/abuse my husband was dishing out in the guise of Christianity. Jesus Isn’t Toxic would have perhaps been a good title also. Perichoresis Is Relationship NOT a Hierarchy would have been a title to appeal to all my thinking friends.
Say it better, say the Gospel better, let your life and attitude bear witness of the gospel, blessed are the feet of them that bring good news, that good news is Jesus, not the current or historical crazianity, historical since there is nothing new under the sun. If it seems new it’s simply repackaged. My Experience With Crazianity would have been an appropriate title for sure.
I’ve been taking a hard look at Christianity for over a year. My perspective and world view have changed. Changed back, turned about and worked back around to the beginning to what I believed at the first, to start again with more wisdom and clarity. A heightened awareness of what is the gospel and what isn’t seems to have overtaken my senses. The gospel isn’t a set of controlling ideas, or even helpful rules, but a person. The circumcision that Paul addresses in Galatians was a controlling idea, practice, they thought they were saved by it and made a saving idol out of it; not merely an idol, but one that saved them. Today it’s a bit tricky this idea or unbendable truth that we put up in place of Jesus doesn’t save oh no who would go that far as to say that, although some do, but it proves our salvation and it makes us better. We are better if we have this or that idea or practice in our belief. It can be any number of things. A lot of those things can be flipped to an opposite stance, we are better or real Christians because we believe and practice such in such or don’t; it is a sort of Gnosticism that history repeats. We are better or real Christians because we are not centered or balanced, extremes are held in high regard in Christendom not freedom.
For almost two decades I thought at least ninty-five percent of divorce was preventable and caused by mere selfishness of both parties. When I came to the realization that my husband was emotionally/spiritually abusive and that this is far too common in Christian circles, perhaps more common than the circles of the world; I fell down the rabbit hole of research on all things religion uses as a cover for abuse. I felt completely uprooted. The only reason my husband agreed to go to marriage counseling was because he thought that since our counselor was Presbyterian, PCA to be exact, that he would think I was demon posessed and be my exorcist. Of course the counselor had none of it and saw my husband as spiritually/emotionally abusive. The counselor had me back for individual counseling by the forth visit. My husband forbid me to go back and accused the counselor of “liking” me. I went and clarity of the abuse I was enduring came. No wonder Mark Driscoll makes me flinch. Demon trials anyone! I conclude if some of these popular teachers were my counselor how would that have turned out since I thought, even hoped I was doing something wrong because if it was me I could do my best to fix it once I knew, once a counselor made it clear to me. Finding that my husband was abusive caused my whole house of cards to be knocked down. What I thought was stable and sure proved to be sand; quicksand and deadly if I would have stayed. Where is God, why couldn’t God fix this, is my faith strong enough or is God able to keep me in spite of my wrecked faith?
God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.~
It was and is grief to be sure but the grief of a lost marriage is different and perhaps more complicated than the death of a spouse. My husband was serious in his claims, at least serious in order to control me, that I was demon posessed and that if I didn’t agree God was going to give me over to a reprobate mind and God himself would make me gay. God was also punishing me every time I was tired or sick or having anxiety. The anxiety was caused by living in that toxic environment and went round in circles. The whole relationship from the beginning only after a couple months of dating spun into mostly being able to only connect with religious matters and especially only able to connect by agreement with him on those matters. The other ways to connect always spun back to religion or were overshadowed by religion. It was all dramatic and rather addictive. Now when I see a teaching that resembles control or sensationalism, I notice it with overwhelming clarity.
With every bit of retrospective thought I can muster, I’m seeing it comes down to I didn’t see the abuse because of words, phrases, and avoidance by that person to have the empathy and emotional connection of an image bearer of God, as we humans are apt to have. One would think of one married a believer one would have the connection of a fellow Spirit led believer. Mis-used Christian words muddy our clarity. Words that can be spun to have either negative or encouraging meanings depending on the character of the person interpreting them. Mis-use of words by a few as it trickles down to the masses can in some people’s lives mean little since good people mostly don’t think of it much. They are interested in fair play and loving connection with others, but hand those words to a potential sociopath and what do you get a lot of cards he can use. “Sin” covers all the mis-used words because if you don’t agree with his interpretation that is “sin” and his interpretation is what “God says” so you are now “sinning against God”. “Sin” can be anything when someone is bent on controlling others.
I also didn’t see it because I was never properly warned, the church is so full of teaching that is not gospel focused, nor living in light of what scripture actually teaches, but full of sensationalism, fear and rules. Rules that are like the Galatians beliefs on the necessity of circumcision, repackaged, but just as much a saving idol. I had the notion that rules were always dress and music and entertainment related, nope, rules can be a subtle “If you constantly speak in Christian platitudes, never have questions about what you believe or worse yet what this church or a person in ‘authority’ teaches, if you are a woman you must remember your place and stay in it because our doctrine about women is more important than women, then you are more acceptable to God,you are safe with us and we can be your family, if not, well that’s another story. We are not legalistic because ‘blue jeans’ and ‘we have drums’. We are not controlling because ‘if you don’t like it there’s the door’.”
There is sensationalism that is addictive and exciting about toxic religion, being a creative person protected me from not falling for all of it. I never fell for “reading Harry Potter is evil” or “trick or treating is evil”. The Christian who doesn’t participate in the free candy day is better, more saved, less worldly type of nonsense. I didn’t fall for being a teetototaler for long, only a decade. Let me be clear it’s perfectly acceptable to obstain from alcohol, sometimes even necessary, but to think we are better by doing so, or not doing so is not the gospel but one’s own conviction and that should not be elevated at the exclusion of another’s. There are some who feel obstaining for them would make it more appealing and the way they don’t over indulge is by not making it forbidden. This seems to work well across the ocean where alcohol is viewed differently, but this is not where my post is headed. We have the Holy Spirit to work those things out in us. My appeal to Christians is, say it better, don’t purposefully obfuscate doctrines you have because they are unpalatable to most people who haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid, at least they’ll know the problematic areas and make a quiet(or not so quiet) exit sooner rather than later, better a leaving church attender or a breakup of a date than the pain of a seperation/divorce or the leaving of a church member who has invested in many ways. If words are being misused clarify what they don’t mean and if you feel comfortable change to a more clarifying wording if applicable. Add explanations to make something more clear. Sometimes even when I know the phrase is meant in the best possible way it still brings discomfort or even a sense of panic because he would use the same phrase or verse in a harmful way.
Jesus was seen as less than in the Trinity; can ( certainly not always, it depends) be an indicator of problems, if it’s used in a certain way. I remember my ex going through a phase where he said Jesus was a created being. God created by God. He dropped that eventually, but yet God the father was always put on this pedestal of distance from Jesus. Jesus seemed to be this subservient victim, a whipping boy that God the angry father pours out his wrath on and not only on Jesus but on us if we don’t stay in line. Not staying in line causes the whole whipping boy thing not to work out for us. Unfortunately the line was my ex’s interpretations especially his interpretation regarding the Holy Spirit. All of that is explained in this post https://christianity9968.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/marriage-train-wreck-1/?preview=true and the defensive hope post. Of couse some people flip this to the other end of the spectrum and go into complete crazianity and the Holy Spirit is the one put on a pedestal above but that’s a whole other thing that I’m not covering here. These ideas make the trinity split. Where is the divine dance of relationship? The holy conspiracy of the Father and the Son to save the world. The Trinity is about relationship not hierarchy, marriage is also about relationship not hierarchy. My ex having no bias against female pastors, rather for them actually, was able to assert himself between me and God with the idea of hiarchy and control of the husband over the wife in marriage. He engaged a full on assault of my thinking by repeating the same ideas over and over, mind control almost. I detest the umbrella meme with the husband over. Don’t put my Jesus behind the veil of someone’s umbrella please. He rent the veil and there it stays. I seriously think I have a good point in strongly disliking the umbrella meme. The strongest point being that there is one mediator between God and humanity that is Jesus. Not to mention Bill Gothard penned it, that is also an excellent reason. I couldn’t see through his spiritual abuse of me since he was after all fine with women leading in a church setting or leading anywhere in the world. It provided a bit of a smoke screen for him. This is why I flinch at the new Calvanism idea of the eternal subordination of the Son and that being used as an agenda to keep women in a place, in a box, with men between them and God. I distrust when the Trinity is put in a different light than relationship, than perichoresis. Although I’m certainly fine with people who have kind hearts and think Jesus was an undergod of sorts, its when there’s a “keep women in their place” agenda that it becomes more problematic. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perichoresis
I’ve always seen a woman’s place to be in the midst of where God’s working. I always knew since a ten year old first reading Paul’s letters that those verses in Timothy and Corinthians were addressed to women who were teaching crazianity not you or I and could have been just as easily addressed to men. One doesn’t have to dig deep to prove the scripture is teaching against abusive control in those verses it’s self evident when lined up with the rest of scripture although I certainly encourage you to dig into the first century and into the freedom women and all humanity has in Christ.
When a prominent teacher says men must be careful and not learn too much from books by women, John Piper did a whole “ask pastor John”, I gag and think of all C.S. Lewis learned and enjoyed reading by Dorothy Sayers and all his correspondence in letters with women such as Sister Penelope and Ruth Pitter and the list goes on. Here is a man, a person for at least most of his life maybe all of it who did not believe women should be priests but that was not taken into a crazianity position. Not to mention his thoughts on pastors of say the Methodist were quite different he certainly wouldn’t be up in arms against women pastors of different denominations. He was Anglican and had a view of priest being male what the Methodist did was fine to him. I realize I have to agree to disagree with my Catholic and Orthodox and some branches of protestant friends on this matter of women priests/pastors and that is not what this article is about exactly, a little bit, but not exactly. To silence a woman’s voice, even her writing is an assault to her personhood. It’s wrong to silence people by refusing to learn too much from them.
For a teacher to invalidate a women’s voice as if she matters not stirs feelings and thoughts in me that say “I am not truly loved by half the Christian community simply because I am a woman. My ex invalidated me and now I’ve learned this invalidation of women is at an organized church level, this is disheartening.”
God created man and woman a living soul, our personhood matters. I trust no teachers who do not make a rabbit trail to explain what commonly mis-used scriptures mean in context of God’s love and character. Do l get triggered by this misuse of scripture yes, but thankfully some pastors have nuance and understanding. I’m not certain why some people have understanding and some don’t but one thing is certain more is needed. This next linked article moved me. Some of my feelings are the same yet for a large part I have found church healing and because of that I have to wonder how much knowledge of abuse and understanding about it this woman’s pastor had. Even so I struggle there are times I’ve showed up when it was the hardest thing to do. I admit a lot of those times I simply showed up because I wanted my kids to be in church that morning. I doubt that TGC in the states would publish this, I’m glad at least Australia is waking up. The author of the article does seem a little of a different theological view than mine regarding the roles of men and women, yet it certainly is a welcome piece of writing.
There is a difference that is noticeable between a Christianity that follows Jesus and the (c)hristianity that is rift with rules, roles, fear and sensationalism. Let us know the difference.
C.S. Lewis is the Christian who taught me to think instead of telling me what to think.
[This first appeared two years ago as a guest post I wrote for Jennifer Neyhart’s blog.]
Is it cliché to say that C.S. Lewis had a formative influence on my understanding of what it means to belong to Jesus? Not that it matters if it is cliché.
An Atheist Reads a Devil’s Letters
The Screwtape Letters came to me as a gift, both literally and figuratively. I was an atheist traveling around England on Christmas break in 1983 and a couple of young Christian women I met thought I might like Lewis’ epistolary novel of temptation and faith.
Screwtape advised his nephew Wormwood how to capitalize on his target’s petty jealousies of others.
I recognized petty jealousies in my own life.
Screwtape spoke of leveraging the target’s smug self-satisfaction.
I recognized smug self-satisfaction in my own life.
Screwtape spoke of building on the resentment the target had toward those…
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Even though I wasn’t exactly raised in the church and most churches I later attended were Nazarene, Free Methodist and the like the harsh teaching towards women creeped in. Some of the creeping in came from popular Christian books and teachings. This teaching caused some blindness about abuse. It affected my confidence to be myself. It even affected my self-esteem, and how I viewed other women. My self-esteem has improved and I didn’t even know it needed to. How I view other women has improved I see them as strong and capable; I knew I was but I thought I was strange to be so capable.
Cornelius Sulla was a Roman General that fought wars against a King named Mithridates in Asia Minor in the 1st century BC, just before the New Testament time period. In these wars, the followers of Mithridates did some pretty horrendous things to Romans. In the city of Tralles, Romans were dismembered and killed in a local temple. Those responsible were called “authentai.” Mithridates ordered the “slaughter” of Romans. The Greek verb used to describe this order was “authentesonta.” Students of New Testament Greek are likely aware that Paul used a form of the same word in 1 Timothy 2:12; he used “authentein.”
When the wars against Mithridates were over, and Rome had prevailed, Cornelius Sulla became a Consul in Asia Minor. He enacted legislation to punish violent crimes against Roman citizens. He especially prohibited violence against Romans that was carried out in a religious context.
Anatolians had some religious…
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