Sunday, July 24, 2011

Legalistic Lines

Where is the line? Without a doubt, I am a black and white opinion type. People who like to say the Bible has grey areas are generally making excuses for choosing their own will and not God's. But there are so many differences from church to church over things like dress, dating/courtship, education, music, etc. Is there a wrong and a right on these issues?

Well, of course there is. The black and white of each issue can be found in scriptures; even if it isn't written as 'thou shalt not' we are responsible for knowing how God would have us live, act and witness in this world.

Take the issue of dress as an example. Modest dress is clearly pointed out as a must for women (1 Timothy 2:9), that is the black and white of the issue. The application of this in our lives does engulf some personal preference. I am the first to confess that if any pastor stood before me on Sunday morning and said that all female members would be expected to wear ankle length, loose fitted dresses that were absent from any embellishment or style - I would laugh out loud in rebellion (not a great reaction to authority but I'm just being honest!).

The leadership of a church may set a dress standard for positions of serving - like a uniform - such as men wear jackets and ties, however to pass it off as a biblical standard is untrue. For the most part, I do wear a skirt when I am simply attending church. The idea behind this practice is simply that I want to look my best when I am in God's house and I want to be ready to serve if I am needed.

Having said that, there are plenty of dresses and skirts that do not fit under the term 'modest'. Some of these are seen at church, too. So modesty is not about the type of clothing, it is really more about how and why the clothing is worn. Does the outfit bring to mind the words 'decent', 'honourable', and 'virtuous'? OR does it say 'proud', 'conceited' and 'vain', never mind bringing the term 'available' to the mind of those looking? Regardless of some of the arguments I have heard, the difference in these terms is plain. Any particular article of clothing can be worn modestly or immodestly.

So where is the line between biblical and legalistic? That line is only found in our individual reasons for the decisions we make. Are we following a dress code to please people or God? Are we jumping on an issue bandwagon without seeking God's wisdom? If the way we dress is only an opinion, or to be part of the church crowd, rather than a conviction - that makes it legalistic; it will be short lived.

This particular example of dress is one of the simpler issues to discern. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to take the conversation further into the 'Christian liberty" discussion. For now, I'll leave the legalism argument with my black and white response: know why you do it; know why you believe it; know why God would like your answers!

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Shall We Be Told to Live?

Nothing can tempt me into profane language more than running headlong into a socialist situation – some days it is everywhere I turn. Take for example the ideological term that the medical society likes to use during flu shot season: 'immunizing the herd'. This is to imply that the more individuals in the 'herd' that receive the flu shot the safer the 'herd' as a whole should be. This can be how a socialist views society, as well. The more members of society (the herd) comply with the government's decisions, the better off society (the herd) will be – and those among society (the herd) who do not comply will simply be out numbered and forced to live in government rule regardless. Socialists are sneaky, too. They permeate society slowly, in order to avoid civil unrest at the loss of personal freedoms and it is very much part of society now, even if we see ourselves as democratic. Canada is swamped in it, the U.S. Is well on its way.

What is socialism? Websters defines this way:

1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

If you look up national socialism the definition is more to the point: nazism.

Boil it down to how it plays out in reality and we have the government actively training generations of citizens to stop thinking for themselves; to stop getting involved in each others lives; to stop believing diligent work is how to live; to stop taking responsibility for our own lives and choices and simply allow the government to 'take care of us'. What does God say about those who refuse to work for themselves:

Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. Proverbs 12:24 (we become slaves to our 'provider')

The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. Proverbs 21:25 (a sluggard learns to live off of hand outs)

Socialism is the means to which “democratic” political parties seek to build power. Even politicians who see themselves as conservative recognize that by building the peoples' reliance on the government handout generates future votes. How does this work? For years the Canadian government have given away 'free' money to arts programs, parades for special interest groups, general welfare programs. Grants for 'this' cause and funding for 'that' cause. Today, it is seen as a person's right to access the free money for their personal needs. Really, why work for a living when the government will pay the rent, pay for medications and groceries and still have enough left over for beer and cigarettes. How does a society become so lazy, so self serving?

The government has two very strong tools available to continually perpetuate the attitude. First, public schools. Here is how Adolf Hitler looked at public education, see any similarities?

  • When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I say calmly, 'Your child belongs to us already. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community' .

The government also has the media at its disposal. The media in North America constantly breeds a socialist attitude in the slant of its stories. Again, Hitler has a quote that matches:

  • Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. (think global warming or evolution)

Check out this overtly socialist view recently in the news:

The title of 'expert' is used freely by the media (and government) when wanting to push an idea on the public. By finding even one 'expert' to back an idea, the public can hear that idea repeatedly and learn not to question the expert. This 'expert' word is used as though it means omniscient – to the point where the public come to say things like: “if the experts say [this], then it must be true”; or how about “if Children's Aid [CAS]is investigating that family, they must be guilty”. Honestly, how many of us think this way without notice anymore?

From multiple bylaws telling us what we can do with our own properties(just try building a shed without a permit); to how we are 'allowed' to raise our children (teacher federations and CAS may want to talk with you), to what we are to do with our garbage or car use in order to stop climate change (you don't still use plastic bags do you?!). All because the 'experts' have made decisions for us.

Now I am not suggesting that the idea behind our laws is wrong, i.e. it is good to where a seat belt, it is good to make wise decisions about garbage/pollution, it is good to avoid smoking in a vehicle with children present, it is good to wear a helmet for bike riding and motorcycles...but the point is, I don't need someone else making a law to tell me to do the thinking for me. Socialism is what is killing common sense. Socialism is replacing common sense with policy and procedure.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for socialism – at least in my country. The topic can continue with the damage caused by socialized medicine, socialism in parenting, socialism in taxes (oh, let's not forget the price of it all!) and even socialism in our churches. However, the bottom line is always the same – the government ruling over every aspect of our lives and taking our money to pay for it. You don't have to agree with it, but we're still in the middle of it. (Americans should be aware of their president's recent deal with the U.N. over gun control)

How do we fight socialism? Question everything! Think for yourself! Study and research important issues that affect you and your family and stand up for what you believe – not what you are told to believe. That doesn't mean you will disagree with the idea in the end, but at least you will be confident and responsible for your decision to either follow or go the other direction.

By the way...God is not a socialist:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: Proverbs 1:5 (actually read chapter 1, verses 1-14)

The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools. Proverbs 3:35


When I was young, our family was broken by divorce by the time I was thirteen. Anyone who has seen this happen will understand when I say that our family was broken long before the divorce actually happened - but it was made official when I hit the teen years. That was the first time I felt that I had 'lost' my home. After that, there wasn't any place that felt like home. The parent with whom my siblings and I lived made repeated nuances to wanting us to grow up and move out. So how can anyone feel the comfort of home with that hanging over your head? I did left before highschool had ended - I graduated, but in absentia. When your own parent is holding the door open and waving you through, you tend to join into the desire to get out quickly. So, that was losing two 'homes' in less than four years.

This pattern recently repeated itself in a different way. For the first time in over a decade, our family is no longer associated to a 'home' church. If anyone has been a visitor of my original blog you'll remember that this separation from that church has been coming for about 2 years now. My husband and I were simply growing away from some of the teaching that the leadership stood strongly on. Everything from what we were learning about family integration to church governance no longer matched up with what the majority of the church members obviously stood for - we rescinded our membership. I say it was obvious that others disagreed with us because no one else wanted to pursue change even when they stated they agreed change was needed.

Did you catch that? Even though the majority of members in this church stated they knew change was necessary to bring the church into alignment with scripture, they did not want to do the work to cause the change. How do christians come to the point of being so apathetic? There is a great article here to discuss that situation, however I wanted to talk about losing my church family.

It hurts.

People who have shown interest in our family and stated a 'love' for us have essentially waved goodbye and turned away from us. This may sound harsh when we were the ones who felt that we needed to resign our membership. However, once we made the difficult decision to do this we took labourous steps to ensure that we did not offend anyone or disparage the church for having different beliefs than us - our letter of resignation stated this:

'The annulment of our membership is a decision based on our respect and appreciation for the remaining members' and how they wish to direct the church now and in the future. It is our hope that we will still be welcomed as adherents throughout the year and that the relationships we have garnered will continue. We look forward to many years of attending and visiting, albeit on a less consistent schedule.'

It took several drafts to choose the words that expressed our love for the people while stating our reason for leaving. When we handed the letter in, we were told that we were not welcome to return even for visiting. That just blew us away. Not welcome!

Even when we came to accept this odd response from the leadership, we did not know how to take the reaction from those who called us friends. They still attend the church and have never even addressed the way in which we were treated. Does this mean that they are in agreement and also do not welcome us as visitors?

They say not. They say it is an aberration of God's house. They still have not said anything within the church circle.

Don't rock the boat. Don't upset the person in the next pew. Live in hypocrisy.

It is the Lord and the word He shows me that has kept my heart from turning completely to stone:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 7

Even David went through this:

For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:

But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

Psalm 55

Friday, July 15, 2011

Here We Go Again

This is my second blog - my original one can be found here. That blog was abandoned due to the loss of my anonymity there. Some locals had become lurkers and were only interested in finding any speck of information that could be used for gossiping purposes.

Call me selfish...but I need this arena as an outlet for my thoughts and rantings. As I travel day by day 'becoming the woman that God wants me to be', I need to be able to express my frustrations, my successes, my disappointments and my goals somewhere. It helps keep me going forward in my faith and reminds where I came from in it. However, anonymity is necessary. Although I would never mention anyone else's name or show their picture, if my identity is known by local people it isn't hard to figure out the people in my posts. Being anonymous is a protection for me and those around me.

So why share the blog with anyone? Why not keep the settings private? I really enjoy meeting Christian women from far and wide who can share their thoughts on my posts. There is a blessing in encouraging each other in blogworld. There have been many online friendships made from my old blog and I hope this continues here, as well.