Religious and Other Rationalization In Marriage

Previously, I wrote of the model of traditional marriage and how it’s developed into a model of a female goddess of high value and a male worshiper of low value. If this were my last blog presence, both of these posts would have large link-trees since I’ve developed these concepts in many ways over dozens of posts quoting people indicating these kinds of things, so I apologize in advance if anything looks strange at first glance.

Book Review - The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands

Man Rationalizes His Own Behavior
It’s good to start out by noting the constructs of tradition and how they are developed. Men start out by doing things, and then the reasons behind them get lost and no one knows the “why” of anything. Jesus deals with the effects of these things in Matthew 15:1-9. Traditional marriage and gender roles is definitely a case where the commandments of men have transgressed God’s design on things.

Often, men (and women) have a way of also taking their own expectations and then Scripture-shopping or redefining Scripture to meet those expectations. I’ve mentioned this often in terms of the false gospel of the Personal Jesus, where man’s own expectation becomes God’s commandment.

Reconciling Traditional Marriage With Scripture
Often these manipulations of men require a number of deceptions for them to take hold. I’ve encountered and had to eliminate many of them by reading Scripture and allowing the Spirit to change my mind. Traditional and modern marriage has an exceedingly large number of deceptions that I’ve cataloged over dozens of posts.

Schlessinger took occasion to quote one of them in dealing with responses to the predictable uproar that women would do anything to “submit” to men:

The Reverend Shane Cornutt, from Alabama, was one of many in and out of the clergy who wrote me to clarify this issue:

“Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed that some of your lady callers have had questions on a wife’s submission to her husband and how it deals with their Christian faith when faced with a moral problem.

Nowhere in the Bible is a woman told to blindly submit to the will of her husband. In fact, the first act of submission is on the husband’s part! The husband is to submit himself to Christ and the will of God. When he does this he is not setting himself up as master, but rather as servant of the Lord. Only then is the wife to submit to the will of her husband—because the will of her husband will be obedience to the Lord. So the wife is not submitting to the husband, but to God.

As soon as the husband steps outside this and acts contrary to scripture, the woman is under no moral obligation whatsoever to her husband to transgress the moral law! Women are not, and were never meant to be, set up as servants to men in the kingdom of God.

A man is supposed to love his wife as Christ loves the church. That means that a husband is required to love, care for, nurture, protect, comfort and even be willing to die for his wife. That is love.”

The reverend ended his letter with an admonition to men, suggesting that if any man is upset because he feels his wife is not in “proper submission” to him, the problem is with the man! (1)

Now those who have read my blogging in the past (among many others), will recognize this argument as it’s been dealt with many times as espoused by many figures. Cornutt is carving out an exception to the Biblical dictates that wives submit to their husbands in everything. When some “moral problem” comes up, he is giving the wives carte blanche to not follow their husbands.

Now the question is this: Who is the authority that determines whether something presents a “moral problem”? The answer that many other commentators have come up with is that it’s the wife! So anything that goes against her whim and will becomes a “moral problem”. Again another question presents itself: Who is the one that determines whether the husband “submits himself to Christ and the will of God”? Again it’s the wife! So she has the complete freedom to pay heed to her husband. Or not. Whatever she wants.

Note how Cormutt casts the problem as one of the husband’s – blame is always cast towards him and never to the wife in religious situations. And if he doesn’t go for her will, she can marshal all the force of the church, and ultimately put the threat of divorce (and his devastation as a man in both the church and wider society) over his head in order to ensure his compliance to his wife.

Reconciling the Language With The Deception
So ultimately, marriage is rearranged into an arrangement where the wife is the one that is the moral arbiter and the husband is the one that submits to his wife. This fits the previous arrangement, and throws the marriage into a situation where the husband is continually chasing after her desires and wishes and if there’s a problem he just isn’t listening to her heart well enough. Her heart is holy and pure (she is a Vicar of Christ), and therefore must be followed at all costs! After all, a goddess always needs to be served! An illustration of this process is presented in this graphic:

(2013-01-06) marriage-diagram4

However, we must remember that the concepts must be fit into the language of Scripture. Again this requires a rationalization of an untruth. I’ve often used the analogy of “Driving Miss Daisy” submission or a horse buggy to illustrate how this is done. The husband is driving the limo and the wife rides in back. The husband is the horse and the wife is the driver. But “Daisy” directs the limo where it is to go. The driver determines where the buggy goes.

In enforcing such a model, the church officials often do not call upon the wives to submit to their own husbands, but calls the husband to “step up and lead his family” (existing nowhere in Scripture). Again this puts the burden upon the husband to perform to his wife’s expectations. He is buffaloed into this model by his conditioning to male mother need, and ultimately is seen as the one leading (with the willing participation of the wife in the deception) – by seeking out his wife’s will on everything and then following it.  If he does not do this, then he is “not loving his wife as Christ loves the church”, and becomes a failure.

But what of submission as it is brought up in relationship to wives? The nearest meaning I can take out of Schlessinger’s book is a submission to the traditional gender roles as opposed to her husband. As quoted earlier, as long as she provides the 3 A’s and her demands upon her husband, all will be well.

In the end, all this deception, all this force of man against the God-ordained plan of marriage makes this transformation from Scripturally-defined marriage to traditional marriage:

marriage_transformation

Conclusion
In the end, all of this contributes together to make a marriage where the man continually falls into the pattern of Adam where he “hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife” (Genesis 3:17) instead of God. For those that choose to not see, marriage has turned from God-honoring to woman-honoring (violating Commandments I and II) and man’s tradition has been baked into people’s minds allowing them to not see anything different.

In the next post, I will address some of Schlessinger’s quotes that reveal some of the programming that has been given to both men and women that fits this model of goddess-worship that has replaced God-honoring marriage.

(1) The Proper Care & Feeding of Animals Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger p149-150.

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A Lot of Random Ramblings

Hello, everyone. I’m a blogger known as Ballista74. As I was reminded by the blogging notifications, I’ve been blogging under this alias for six years now. And by my count between all the sites I’ve blogged outside of my real name, this is post #384. I can’t say that road has been an easy one.

A lot of the stuff going on here and then some keeps happening to the point that I can’t really post as I like. One thing I keep facing is demands on my time that pushes this blog down farther and farther on the priority list. One day goes to months and you get periods like what you have just witnessed here. Unfortunately, when there’s a question of my survival, it’s hard to think about any kind of service to The Kingdom, including something like this, until something like that gets fixed. Of course, I don’t know how to fix it and I’m in way over my head. Add onto that the latent anxiety and everything else going on, it’s hard for me to even get started to write some days.

It’s so hard for me to be reliable in posting both for other priorities and abilities. I’m sure that’s hurt my efforts in getting any consistent readership and following. It’s not so much just my time (that six-year notification came on 04/27!), but my ability to write from a mental standpoint. I can definitely say that writing is one of my weak points. It takes me way too long to formulate something to do and too long to write things. Where others take an hour or two (or less!), I seem to take ten. Glory doesn’t belong to me, and I can say anything good that ever has happened from any of these posts I’ve made or things I’ve done in real life because of my own efforts, but because of His.

This brings me to a question I’ve never figured out in that six years: How to position your audience to what you’re writing. In every case, a particular audience has found me more than my writing finding an audience. The last audience that found me was one called the “manosphere”, largely in response to my posts about marriage and female supremacy (feminism) within the churches. But I couldn’t say it was a “Christian” audience that came with it that heard what was there. Of course, so much wasn’t heard by the readers at all.

In a sense, this paragraph will serve as an introduction since I’ve picked up a small audience of Book Review devotees on this go-around. While I appreciate your continued readership, an explanation is in order. My blog writings, taken as a whole, have to do primarily with Christianity and the errant teachings of the church. Books written by Christian authors are easily reflective of the typical teachings and waywardness of the average church today, so I’ll continue to post about books in some degree. But don’t be surprised if you see something a whole lot different, too.

Not doing well with positioning for an intended audience poses trouble, as I can’t say too many of the eyes and ears that need to find what I’ve written have. This is a special concern for the book I’m working on and want to finish and hopefully see the light of day. While proceeding at a glacial pace, I still have a lot of interest in seeing it get done, especially since the need has definitely been placed on my heart by many examples of waywardness.

The obvious problem right now is finishing the text (blog or book), but shopping it has always been my biggest concern. The question of money in relationship to the blog or anything Christian has always been a problem for anything I’ve written. Given the tendency of people to push for what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear, the issue of paying money has a way of ensnaring someone into serving men rather than serving God. After all, one can not profess the truth when they are being paid to not do it. One thing that I’ve been taught in the course of doing the blog is that a lot of truth is actively being denied in this day and age.

Of course, the problem with having 384 posts of an average length of 1000-1500 words is that a lot of it can also be organized into books of varying degrees of interest since these were often single topic. I often thought of restoring all of those posts to this blog, but the problem is gaining organization over it and then randomly pulling the ones that have something to do with any book text that might be prepared.

So money at every point of the line seems to be an unquestioned issue. If not my time I’m devoting to trying to find enough of it to survive, it’s not having the time after that I might otherwise want to post and do as much as I would like to find an audience and really make blogging worth it. Or serve full-time in the flesh somewhere. And then money always has strings attached to it, especially when it comes to any kind of preaching and teaching venture. The last thing I want to do is compromise the message and Gospel as so many other people have in this day and age.

As I can’t say most of the level of my problems are normal in comparison to anyone else’s, I can definitely say the question of money and survival in this world trying to devote yourself to the Lord after you’ve been shown just how wicked everything is in the churches isn’t a unique problem either. But I can’t say I have any solid answers on how to proceed in so many ways. All I can do is do what I know to do.

Book Review: Crazy Love

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God. Francis Chan (Author),‎ Chris Tomlin (Foreword),‎ Danae Yankoski (Contributor). David C. Cook, 2008.

Book Review - Crazy Love

Have we missed the love of God? In looking at a God that created the universe and everything in it, something is wrong when our response is to go to church and sing songs. Francis Chan aims to point out a deeper response to correct this “wrong” in his book “Crazy Love”.

Chan begins by pointing out the qualities of God. He then moves to point out how short life is and that people mistake what God’s love is. The author then endeavors to profile the “lukewarm”, and tries to back that up with examples. Chan then describes what it is to be “in love with God”, live a life with a view of eternity, and describes what it is to be obsessed with God. Finally, Chan provides some stories and then tries to summarize the book.

This book provides an interesting view into several points that are glossed over in the modern church. The need to see God for who He truly is is a definite need and Chan makes a good attempt towards describing the real God of the Universe, and points out the value of seeing a loving forgiving God over one that is eager to mete out punishment. Chan also makes a weak attempt at pointing out how non-serious most who claim the name of Christ are in practicing their faith.

Unfortunately, Chan advocates the very thing that shipwrecks the Church these days and causes the need of so many Christians and churches to repent before the Lord. Chan is a heavy advocate of the Personal Jesus, pointing out in very clear language that you “fall in love with God” and that “God is calling you into a passionate love relationship with Himself” (back cover blurb quotes).

This faciliates an incorrect, carnal view of God’s love – projecting it into an eros love bent on feelings and actions stemming out of those feelings rather than true faith born out into action from the deeds of God. Chan translates this eros love into service towards others in the world, instead of a true fearful service of God. Ultimately, Chan beats up those that see something wrong with the typical proscriptions of the modern churches in the way most do (even claiming them to be “unsaved”), assaulting those that “beat up the Church” and blaming those that are discontented for not following after them instead of looking at themselves to repent of their apostasy.

Overall, this book holds several good teachings that the Church needs instruction in, in order to repent before God, but holds a number of sloppy ones as well. Unfortunately, Chan presents a different carnally loving god that each person manipulates into their own image. This perpetuates all those things that cause that “something’s wrong” perception that Chan touts. While there is enough truth in this book to give the average person pause, Chan does not present the true radical authentic faith that was given those in the New Testament and instead presents the gospel of this wicked age. Much discernment is indeed required in dealing with this book.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: Jim & Casper Go To Church

Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversation about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians. Jim Henderson & Matt Casper. Tyndale, 2007.

Jim&CasperGoToChurch

The interest of pastors to bring people into their churches is evident. In the quest to understand how those who are outside the churches think of them, Jim Henderson, a Pentecostal pastor for thirty years, has hired an atheist, Matt Casper, in order to travel around to a number of notable and not-so-notable churches and document their reactions.

Henderson and Casper tell the story of their visits to twelve churches:

  • Saddleback (Rick Warren’s church)
  • Angelus Temple (a.k.a. The Dream Center)
  • Mosaic
  • Willow Creek (Bill Hybel’s church)
  • First Presbyterian Church of River Forest
  • Lawndale Community Church
  • Jason’s House (A house church of one of Casper’s friends)
  • Imago Dei
  • Mars Hill Church (Mark Driscoll’s church)
  • The Bridge
  • Lakewood Church (Joel Osteen’s church)
  • The Potter’s House (T.D. Jakes’ church)

Finally, Henderson and Casper provide some closing words and then answer some questions.

This book provides an interesting and entertaining read as Jim Henderson and Matt Casper chronicle their experiences in these churches and deal with questions that stem from what they see. The questions and observations that Casper provides are often incredibly insightful and point towards a number of the problems that exist with churches today.

Unfortunately, Henderson seems to miss the point behind these things Casper says. While he successfully sees this problem of “religionism” that plagues all the churches, he misses the full breadth of the issue behind Casper’s question: “Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?”.  Sadly the churches Henderson selected are the best of the best, not being average churches.  Most churches today are out in the world, seeking to build worldly empires.  In that sense, it is more about programs, policies, and procedures than it is about people. The light shows, the smoke machines, and the other negatives both authors observe are a direct reflection of the wisdom of the world. He who puts on the better show gets the favor of the adoring public.

Sadly, this is the direct reflection of the advice that Henderson gives, to “become more reflective and repentant on how outsiders perceive us” (p149) and that “we have to adapt to them” (p149). The Church has been continually poisoned by the world – the leaders duped into thinking that they have to be like the world by the standards of numbers, nickels and facilities, in order to entice people to join them (never mind Christ). Most all churches have been following this advice by adapting to the world instead of adapting to Christ. Barna’s own work indicates this.

This results in the churches offering something that is nothing different than the world, and in the end offering only stones and snakes instead of bread and fish (Matthew 7:9-11) to those who are seeking something different. Casper notes this in a number of his observations, asking the question “What does the way Christianity is practiced today have to do with the handful of words and deeds uttered by a man who walked the earth two thousand years ago?”

Overall, this book was an entertaining and insightful read, providing many questions and points to ponder.  But much more could have been done to contrast many of the reasons behind Casper’s comments, and would have provided much more impact. As Henderson might have found with Casper if he indeed did push a little more, the majority of “atheists” and other “non-believers” have tasted what these churches have to offer and find them wanting. As much could be said about my experience with this book.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: The Christian Atheist

The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn’t Exist. Craig Groeschel. Zondervan, 2010.

TheChristianAtheist

The topic of Christians not living up to Christian ideals as espoused in the Scriptures is a common one to all the blogs I’ve done, and readily visible in most Christians and churches. Craig Groeschel calls this out in “The Christian Atheist”, claiming that most Christians are people who claim Christ but do not live according to the principles set out by Him.

Groschel calls out twelve areas he believes Christians are lacking in:

  • Not really knowing Him
  • Being ashamed of your past
  • Not being sure He loves you
  • Not believing in prayer
  • Not thinking God is fair
  • Not forgiving others
  • Not thinking you can change
  • Worrying all the time
  • Pursuing happiness at any cost
  • Trusting in money
  • Not sharing your faith
  • Not fully supporting church organizations

Craig Groeschel starts with a five-star concept: The idea that people who claim Christianity aren’t acting that differently than the world. Sadly, that’s where any real value of this book ends. The author offers a stream of stories and confessions to the reader, providing either a vacuous or suspect view of them.

Furthermore, Groschel falls right in line with the typical Churchianity of today in how he deals with these topics. The author is a supporter of all the suspect seeker-sensitive doctrines that mar the Church today. He espouses the personal relationship doctrine (a different Gospel), minimizes the importance and effect of sin in the life of the Christian by belittling it as “shame”, and supports the Old Testament tithe.

Groschel consistently favors his personal stories over the truth of Scripture, producing a book that is The Gospel of Groschel. This is in line with much of wayward Christianity, which seeks to meet “felt needs” instead of upholding Godly standards for living. He does provide a Scriptural veneer where he often shops for things that match his views, often pulling things wildly out of context or even providing false views of Christianity in trying to bolster his points. Groschel proves predominantly that he has very little understanding of the Christian faith, and has no business anywhere near Scripture let alone pastoring a church.

Overall, this book was an incredibly disappointing read, given the valuable premise that it starts with.  But Groschel misses that actions come out of the heart (Matthew 15:10-20), and that a heart with an incorrect faith will produce incorrect actions.  While his stories were mildly interesting and entertaining, the majority of the book is empty air, offering only worldly pop-psychology and spiritual junk food.  Unfortunately, Groschel is preaching the very thing that has caused this “atheist” problem to surface.  Beware this book!

Rating: 1 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: Generation Next

Generation Next: What You Need to Know About Today’s Youth. George Barna. Regal Books, 1995.

GenerationNext

Dealing with people of other generations can be challenging, given that they have different values and ideals in living life. This concern is especially magnified for the youth ministers of most church organizations. George Barna provides an answer in his book “Generation Next”, where he presents results and commentary of his surveys of youth, aged 13-18 (as of December 1994). In doing this he seeks to explain this generation to the older generations that are working in the churches today.

Barna begins by pointing out the generations are different, then relays the concerns and crises of the youth. He then describes the character of teens, how they choose to spend their time outside of schooling, and their typical family environment. The author then describes spiritual matters of teens like their views of Christianity, the after-life, the church, the Bible, and how they believe their faith should translate into behavior. Barna then describes in detail how teens tend to live out their faith. The author then makes the observation that teens (and adults!) are rather spiritually anemic by Biblical terms, noting the lack of difference in belief between those who claim Christianity and those who don’t. Finally, Barna summarizes what he found into a number of “Rules”, and then provides advice to parents and others who may work with teenagers of this group.

George Barna provides a wonderful view into the often scary views that teenagers have adopted regarding Christianity. His survey research is very thorough. His comments on the remarkable things he found, such as the lack of belief in absolute truth coupled with a belief in the Bible as an absolute source of truth, is very excellent and on point.

However, at many points, he often takes an incredibly conciliatory tone towards some of the scary things he observed. As a result, his desire to identify with the target audience of his surveys and embrace the wrong aspects of their thinking tends to play more into the desire of his readers to embrace the world and its thoughts (as his subjects do) instead of return to true Biblical Christianity.

Overall, this book is an interesting and valuable view into the faith that is expressed in most of the churches today, despite his intention to describe the next generation. Given my eight years of experience blogging about the state of Christianity today, many of these points have only gotten worse since 1995. Unfortunately, Barna doesn’t do enough in this book to draw those contrasts that he discovered through his surveys with actual Scriptural practice.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: A Passionate Life

This book review reads a lot like the last one because the content of both books are similar enough to be different drafts of the same book. This book contains a few edits and a few more personal stories added, but otherwise offers nothing different than “The Passionate Church”.


A Passionate Life. Mike Breen & Walt Kallestad. NexGen (Cook Communications Ministries), 2005.

APassionateLife

Are you a Christian but just not living the kind of refreshing life that you hear others speak of? Mike Breen & Walt Kallestad attempt to show the reader how to have a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ and have a deeper refreshing life. Breen & Kallestad have packaged their observations in what they call “LifeShapes for Leadership” and have presented this in “A Passionate Life”.

In their book, Breen & Kallestad begin by describing the rationale behind their “LifeShapes” program. The authors then relay a process for learning, the idea of handling rest versus work and the idea of balancing relationships with those in the church, outside the church, and following Christ. They then write of a leadership model, of the roles of the Church, and the Lord’s model prayer. Finally, Breen & Kallestad bring forth the idea of the Church as an organization, and relay an evangelistic model to the reader.

In the course of this book, Breen & Kallestad point out a number of important things about the nature of the true Church that most of the church organizations are missing. For instance, diverging some from the over-importance placed on these church organizations created by men is a welcome change, along with emphasizing the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:4-9) and providing explicit teaching to avoid the typical problems of cancer in many churches. This book is written in a very clear understandable style, and some of the “shapes” that the authors use present a useful mnemonic for what they are relaying.

However, this book suffers from an oversimplification of message in many parts. This is coupled with an over-wordiness by which the size of this book could easily be halved. Consequently, the substance of what is written is very unfulfilling. Some of their shape models fall flat as well. The authors tend to very freely apply Scripture to their own points, causing a dubious connection between the Scripture text and what the authors have to say. Finally, much of the true story of the Gospel and the Scriptural intention of discipleship is left out of Breen & Kallestad’s work in favor of the “personal relationship” false Gospel and the equally false idea of “servant leadership”, leading to the presentation of a skewed view of Christianity.

Overall, this book provides a useful introduction to several Biblical concepts which would be useful to a newer believer in Christ. Unfortunately, so little substance is presented in this book that the reader is often left wanting. While it might function as a good entry into true Biblical discipleship, many other resources are far better.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon