Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Stars Always Amaze Me

UPDATE 3/18/2012 2:28P CST:  When I wrote this post on June 29, 2012, I still believed in some sort of God - just not the god of the Bible. Since then, I have left that belief altogether and have become an undefined agnostic.  Regardless, enjoy the post by looking at the world through the innocent eyes of a child.

I love things that are bigger than I am.  Things that boggle my mind.  Things that the experts can explain, but my simple mind sees only God.

Tonight, getting home from Nature Camp, where my sister, who has a degree as a Naturalist (no, that doesn't mean she did her thesis in a nudist colony) took care of my six squirts while my wife and I went on a date, the kids had to go right to bed.  Everyone fell asleep immediately - except Frederic - Juaca Baby, as I call him.

Frederic has a tough time going to sleep.  He loves to get out of bed and play, helping his little brother out of bed and keeping him awake well into the night.  Sometimes, he'll sneak downstairs and find our various hiding spots where the candy is stored and have a ball.  Other times, he'll find any container that can hold liquid and make concoctions out of water and anything else that can go in water, which is, well....anything.  We have thrown away more moldy something-or-others than Kleenex from a month of family colds.

Tonight was no different.  Frederic got to come downstairs and sit in his chair and enjoy the hustle and bustle of my bride and I, sitting around chatting, blogging, and staring at each others smokin' hot bodies.  Ok, maybe a stretch, but hers is most definitely so.  Mine....I'm starting to sag in all the wrong places.  In truth, we were actually cleaning and waiting for one of my wife's friends to come for the weekend.

While cleaning, I took the garbage out and happened to glance at the dark, moonless sky.  I was taken aback at the beauty.  Stars were everywhere.  Bright ones, surrounded by hundreds of dim ones, providing a perfect backdrop for satellites orbiting by.  I rushed in to grab Fred.

We went out in the driveway, folded up his train blankie, and laid down, our bare backs against the smoothish concrete.  For an hour, we played games like, who could find the biggest triangle. (I won that one by cheating.  I picked three stars from each horizon.).  Or, who could find the perfect square.

Fred was fascinated by the bright stars.  Two satellites glided past in a similar orbit going different directions.  A small plane flew overhead with red and green lights on the under-wing tips, bright whites flashing in even intervals, and a yellow incandescent-ish light on the tail.  The engine sped up as it neared the runway approach out of town and disappeared over the tree line.  A star blinked in my peripheral vision and yet could only be seen by the both of us if we kept flitting our eyes past it, never really looking directly at its position.  In the distance, a brighter satellite flew by - maybe a high altitude plane.

As always happens when I stare at the stars, I couldn't get my mind off of wandering into thinking how small and insignificant I was.  The conversation with Fred (6) turned to God.  As any six year old, he spoke confidently of God's enormous size.  How God could bridge the distance between us and the millions of miles in between, to the nearest star.  How God's head was bigger than the whole world and all the worlds in the sun.  How his arms could reach out and push two stars together.

I listened with intense interest, interjecting once, and getting thoroughly rejected, because his older sister, Laura, had told him it was true.  So I listened.  When he was done, I spoke of my understanding of God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Very simple.  No complexities.  He didn't care.  The stars were his image of God at the moment and explained perfectly what he knew of Him.

I realized right then and there that I was free.  I was free to tell my son what I knew of God without the guilty feeling that I needed to convert him then and there.  I didn't need to push my son to believe what I knew of God.  He would get there.  God, in His time, would reveal Himself to Fred.

We got up and went inside.  Inside the house that God was too big to fit his nose into and yet, as Fred said, lived inside of anyway.  He went to bed happy and fell asleep.

The Simple Joys of Life: Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It was 12:45 AM and my beautiful bride and I were sitting up in bed, chatting, having just finished watching the latest episode of The Bachelorette online.  We discovered, due to the audible maw rumblings, that we were a tad hungry.

"Do you want an orange," I asked?

"Sure, as long as its not from Costco."

Costco, has wonderful prices but they are seriously lacking in quality in the produce department.  You buy a 3-inch diameter orange and then have to claw your way through an inch-and-a-half of peel before you get to the dry, flaky flesh inside.  The closest thing I can think of to describe the orange interior is the 5-year old, petrified remnants of that spray on insulation stuff you put on cracks that are too small to fit batting insulation through, or, in my experience, large cracks because you're too lazy.

So, I went downstairs, took out one of our new Premium Grade, non-stick, deep-sided, $6 frying pans (it has a black handle and a really, really shiny, silver hook on it to show it's expensivity), and removed half-a-dozen eggs from the fridge.

I cracked the eggs into a metal bowl whose handle clanked loudly when I took it out of the cupboard, and beat them with a small whisk that has a handle in the shape of an egg with a cartoonish chicken face on it.  I added a dollop of extra virgin olive oil, ten shakes of salt, four twists of the peppercorn grinder, two drops of Tabasco Sauce, a small pouring of vanilla, a sip of milk, and four-and-a-half shakes of parsley flakes and mixed it all together.  Then, I dumped it in the pan, scrambled it up, tossed it on a serving plate, sprinkled Cheddar cheese on top, grabbed two oranges and a couple tall glasses of milk, and headed upstairs to my bride.

Her eyes lit up when I walked into the room.  She loved the eggs.

At 1:02 AM, in stumbled my two-year-old son, squinting at the lamp's lighting and shaking from just waking up.  He came over to the bed and whined that he couldn't get up.  So, we put him between us and fed him the eggs, half an orange, pretty much all our milk, and a heavy dose of smoochie woochies.  With the first taste of food on his tongue, he was awake and chattering in no time.

To my bride, "Train's not going to get in the house."

"No trains not going to come in the house.  They stay on the tracks."

"No, trains stay outside. Trains not come in da house, trains stay outside."



"Hang on mommy, I'll be done in just a minute.  Trains not come in da house.  Trains stay outside."

"Yep, you're right."

"I not scared anymore.  Trains stay outside.  You mommy, I Jack, and you daddy." (sniffle, sniffle)

It went on like that, very repetitively for about thirty minutes until the lamp went off and I remembered no more.

Life is good. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Simple Joys of Life: Sunday, June 26, 2011

We bought an old Victorian (built, 1875) house in January and now have to chop through all the overgrowth on our half acre property.  Our neighbor brought over a chainsaw and we started in on a line of uuuuugly bushes on the west end, discovering a mulberry tree in the process.  The kids have never tasted mulberries.  This will be sweet, provided the birds don't get 'em first.

Then, Chewy Cheeks (my 4 year old sweet gal) was dragging the bush branches to the drying pile while talking about marriage.

"Daddy, when I get to be the mom, you and mommy will be the grandpa."


"Daddy's never have boobs, but I have boobs, see! (lifting her shirt)"

"You're right!  If I ever grow any, let me know and I'll start eating salads with you."

"Daddy, if you and...if you...if you and and mommy were the grandpas and I'm the mommy, and the other grandpas are the bigger grandpas..."

"The great grandpas..."

"Yeah, the great big grandpas.  So, if they're all the grandpas, who's the daddy?"

"Well, you'll be married to the daddy."

[Big smile!]

"So, I'll be the mommy and I'll go to college."

"It might be easier if you go to college before you become a mommy."

"Ok.  I'll go to college when I grow boobs."

Yes, my daughter has a wonderful grasp on life.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What books are you reading?

So, I've left patriarchy, legalistic Christianity and much more behind in my life.  My wife and kids are much happier now, except for the fact that sometimes, I'm floating away on my thoughts and reasoning, not sure where to land my feet. 

The book that provided the final kick in the rump to get me over the fence to freedom was "A Matter of Basic Principles" by Don and Joy Venoit with Ron Henzel.  It exposed the real man, Bill Gothard, whom I call Big G., Billy Boy G., the god man, the Father of Patriarchy, etc., etc.  Not only did the book expose the man and his evil organization, but it also walks you through real grace and true Christianity.

I have spoken personally with Don Venoit and he gave me some counsel once that I hold dear to my heart, even today.  He runs the organization Midwest Christian Outreach, which exposes cults and aberrational teachings as part of its ministry.  His availability to answer questions and even go to bat for you is a true definition of what it means to be a Christian.

Anyway, I am interested in bringing my feet down to earth and begin studying even more.  My wife would be the first one to be happy with that.

What books have you read or are you reading that have helped you reject false teaching and enter into true freedom in Christ? Even books that solidify your rejection of false teaching by exposing the people behind it or even a clear explanation of the rabble itself.

Title, author, and ISBN would be most helpful.  Also, give a quick (or lenghthy) summary of the content.

Thank you so much, in advance!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crispy Banana Bread

My friend who writes the Sassy Family Gourmet is an inspiration to me.  Not because I desire to cook and bake more after reading her stomach growl inducing posts, rather, I am inspired to eat.

But, to eat, you need to make the food first.  I usually start with dessert.  My favorite is my very own creation of Crispy Banana Bread.  This bread is so easy to make, a caveman could do it.

Here is what you need:

  • 6 kids (ages 9, 7, 6, 4, 2, and 1)
  • 1.5 cups flour (make sure you have more on hand as most of the initial amount will be spilled on the floor.  Get used to breathing the air with thousands of small particles of flour floating into your previously clean lungs.)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (there is a MUST READ tip on how to mix this, below.  Pay attention!)
  • 0.25 teaspoon baking soda
  • Full bottles or jars of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and ground cloves
  • 1 egg (have extra on hand and wear a helmet in case you slip on the dropped extras)
  • 3 -12 ugly black leaking bananas (the kids have to be able to look at them and say "EEEEEEEWWW!!")
  • A 5 pound bag of sugar
  • 0.25 cups cooking oil
  • A bottle of raw sugar
  • A bottle of vanilla
After you've gathered all the stuff, grab a couple of mixing bowls and a bunch of chairs and  stools for the kids to fight over who stands on which.  Mash at least three bananas into one of the bowls so it resembles smallish chunks.  The rest of the bananas are for when one of the kids stops saying "EEEEEEEEWWWW" and eats one.  The other kids will follow suit because they won't be able to let just one person enjoy the food.

Add the flour to the other mixing bowl.  Then, divert the kids' attention and quickly mix in the baking powder.  This is VERY important.  If the kids mix this one ingredient, you will inevitably have two rock hard loaves of bread with a delicious salty ball-ish treat in the middle of one of them.  Add the baking powder.  Have a kid mix.

They will all want to mix and will end up working out an equal sharing plan.  One child will take too long stirring and the others will begin to cackle.  They will get louder and louder and start pushing and shoving.  At this point, remove the bowls and mix it yourself on the counter behind the kids.  Let them go at each other.  They'll get bored or hurt and quit at some point with everyone apologizing for the blood, bruises, and large bumps on their heads.

(I forgot to mention.  Make sure you have band-aids, gauze pads and rolls, gauze tape, ice packs, washcloths, alcohol prep pads, anti-bacterial ointment, arm splints, shoulder straps, and lots of kisses and hugs on hand.)

By that time, you'll have mixed in your favorite blend of spices.  A little dash of this and a big shake of that.  The key is to smell the dry batch after every shake of a new spice bottle.  If your nose hairs twitch, add some more of another bottle.  There is no such thing as too much spice in banana bread but it doesn't go both ways.  Without the spice, you might as well slice it up, slap on a slice of bologna, lather it up with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise and enjoy a decent sandwich.

Then, the kids will not even care anymore.  Pick one of them to stir in the unbeaten egg, as much vanilla as you want, a fist worth of sugar, then a few more shakes of the sack, and the cooking oil, to the banana mixture.

Combine the two bowls, mix until all is wet, grease bread pan with oil spray, pour batter into pan, and pop into a 350 degree oven.

Then, once it is in the oven, remember the last and final and most important step and quickly remove it and place the pan back on the counter.  Give one of the kids the raw sugar bottle and have them shake as much as they want all over the top.  Tell them that the goal is to not see ANY batter whatsoever.  The more raw sugar, the crispier!  Then put it back in the oven.

Don't worry about the time it takes to bake the loaf.  You'll have ample opportunities to check if its done during the multiple times you have to rush at one of the kids who just opened the oven.  While you're telling them its naughty to open the oven, open it all the way, block the kid with your posterior and then stick a toothpick in the middle.  If it comes out clean, your done!

Take it out, let it cool (or not), and then enjoy the victory.  I recommend sitting on the kitchen floor where crumb cleanup is a snap.  The kids love that.

I am No Longer A Christian

Let me explain:

If being a Christian means that I must be a Republican, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I am required to believe in the complete 'inerrantness' and infallibility of the "Word of God", i.e., the Bible, I am lost.

If being a Christian requires me to believe that the "Holy Canon" is the last word on what God's word is, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must believe that homosexuality is wrong, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must believe in the "doctrine of authority," I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must believe in hell as eternal damnation in a lake of fire, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must believe that the only way to God is to believe in Jesus Christ, I am lost.

If being a Christian requires me to "check in" with God for every decision on every detail in my life, I am lost.

If being a Christian requires me to know all there is to know about God, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I completely understand who God is, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must have all the answers to all spiritual questions, I am lost.

If I cannot say, "I don't really care about that," when asked my opinion on, or interpretation of, a spiritual question, I am lost.

If I cannot say, "I just don't know," when asked my opinion on, or interpretation of, a spiritual question, I am lost.

If, to be a Christian, I must settle on whether I am pre-trib, mid-trib, sort-of-mid-trib, post-trib, or no-trib, I am lost.

If being a Christian requires me to settle on the question of eternal security, I am lost.

If being a Christian requires me to believe in exclusivity of a certain creed or message, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must believe that people are predestined to go to heaven or hell, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must agree with all confrontations our military engages in, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must require my wife to be in submission to me and my children to obey me at all times, I am lost.

If being a Christian requires me to beat my children so that they learn to love God, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must pray and read my Bible, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must be at peace with all men and ignore blatant indiscretions against the "least of these," I am lost.

If being a Christian means I must submit myself to any earthly authority rather than God himself, I am lost.

If being a Christian means I must school my own children, I am lost.

If being a Christian means I cannot immunize my kids, I am lost.

If being a Christian requires a diet of organic foods, I am lost.

If being a Christian means that I must reject the mainstream medical field, I am lost.

If being a Christian means I cannot listen to secular music, I am lost.

If being a Christian means I cannot disagree with any writers of the collection of books, letters, and historical documents that have been concatenated by men into what we know today as The Holy Bible, I am lost.

If being a Christian means I cannot view many of the stories in the Bible as man's best interpretation of the events, using the limited knowledge of the period, I am lost.

If I cannot laugh at some of the foolish conclusions of the writers of the Bible, I am lost.

I am very happy to be a Christian.  But, none of the above "requirements" reflect who I am.  I believe in Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit.  I am very far from a final conclusion on anything spiritual, including who God is, but I have thoroughly rejected the narrow bounded "faith" I grew up with.  I am still working out my faith in fear and trembling, as I write.  I hope that when I pass from this life, I can still say the same.  I attempt, as best I can, to love God with all my heart and love all people.  I never could do that when I adhered to the above rules.

If I have missed any foolish definitions, please feel free to add them to the comments below.

Update 3/7/2012 12:28 AM: Since writing this post, I have left the Christian faith and am now an undefined agnostic.  Regardless of who I am, I am convinced that the above words will still be very meaningful to people of faith at any level.  I know for a fact that the most conservative of Christians identify wholeheartedly with this post.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Answer to My Critics: My Childhood Opened My Eyes

UPDATE: 7/27/2015:9:01:34

The last few paragraphs end as a sort of sermon. I was a devout Christian when I wrote this piece. I am no longer religious and have no interest in ever being so, again, yet still have a deep appreciation for religious discussion. Bear in mind that this does not take away from the importance of the message of this post.

Recently, I was accused of only speaking out against Billy Boy G. and his patriarchal ilk because I have a vendetta against my life as a child.  While I do not disagree that half of my childhood was pure torture, I vehemently disagree with that accusation.

Here's a summing up of my childhood:

When I was seven years old, my parents divorced.  At the time, my mother convinced me, through the most holy word of the god man Billy Boy G., that divorce was pure evil - the cardinal sin of mankind.  The only sin (other than being a woman, women wearing pants, men having long hair, women cropping their hair, women working outside of the home, children being curious, not hitting your child whenever you pleased, not obeying all authorities without question the very first time, not taking the word of your pastor as if it were the word of God, even though the only word of God was supposed to be found in the Bible, questioning the inerrant nature of the Bible, questioning the holiness of the "inspired" canon, being suspicious of the counsel at Trent and other men gatherings, being a feminist, women speaking out in church, farting out loud, listening to rock music, using more than three sheets of toilet paper per bowel movement, answering a phone call without permission, not sharing the gospel to at least five people a day at school, playing sports in school, going to college, women not being homemakers, believing that a doctor was a good thing, immunizing, treating chiropractors with disdain, not accepting all weird eastern alternative "medicinal" therapies without question, while ignoring the obvious contradictions in religious philosophies, reading the words of Ghandi, studying evolution, saying anything bad about Ken Ham, not having a verifiable "biblical" world view, not swearing on a stack of Bibles that you would carry out your given "role" in life, drinking city water that had evil teeth rotting and population controlling fluoride in it, sex outside of government sanctioned marriage, sex for pleasure, masturbation, any sex that deviates from the missionary position, using birth control, desiring money, etc., etc.....sheesh!....seems to me patriarchy has some notion of paranoia) that disqualifies you from serving in a position of authority in the church - provided you're a man.  A woman is always S.O.L.

The divorce didn't affect me then.  I hardly knew my dad, something I blame my mother for completely.  She made a point to keep him away from my siblings and I at all times.  Even before she fell in love with Big G. (she told us many times that she wanted to marry the guy, Bill Gothard, once my father died and she was free to marry again) she had a notion that her way was the only righteous way and my father was always wrong.

She disciplined him on a regular basis.  The details, for privacy sake, I will not go into.  She also beat us from the age of...well...we actually had no age when she started,  She started in on my oldest sibling when she was just a small baby.

When the divorce happened, my father tirelessly went to court to gain custody of us.  My mother and our church pastor fought tooth and nail against him.  The state sided with her and my father had to go away empty handed.

She discovered Big G. very soon afterward and soon had us all converted to the "us vs. them" philosophy that kills all freedom and love in a life.

She had always beaten us.  One day, she found a pink pamphlet that taught her how to hit us the "proper" way.  Yes, there must be a proper way to hit a child.  Hitting, alone, isn't okay at all.  You have to hit, then pray a lot, then hug a bunch, then...well...I can't think of any more extra-biblical ideas, but these morons and the Swine Beads and Ezz-skimos that came after have built an empire out of beating children by dreaming up this bald faced lie.

She sat us all down that day and read us the entire skinny, four-page piece of trash and then told us all that she had to practice to get it just right.  So, she lined us all up on some soft black couch cushions that were lying on the dining room floor in front of the full-wall bookshelf and lit in to each of us.

Spank!  Hug, hug.  Spank!  Hug, hug.  Span....

Once all seven of us had been fully practiced on, that was the last time she ever hugged us after a beating.  After that, everything was fair game.  With a hardwood, boar-bristle brush, beating us on the head, back, shoulders, legs, bare bottom, six times, then eighteen, then thirty six, then it doesn't matter anymore because you lost count and it just hurt like hell.  She made my sister eat dish soap and toilet paper on a regular basis because she was a poor eater.  She kicked, slapped, bit, made us lay on our face on the floor for hours, forced us to stand in a corner for hours, even days.  Sleep deprivation was the norm.  Forced Bible readings for hours, sometimes days. Rubbing and massaging her legs and feet was my own personal punishment.

All of this in the name of love and obedience to god-given authority.  Yes, small 'g'.

Now, you know why I speak out? 

Don't even try and come at me and tell me that my mother was the exception to the rule.  I won't even give you the time of day.  That doesn't even matter.  Her way of doing things was simply her way of exemplifying the doctrines that propped up her way of doing things.  The exact doctrines that prop up everything in the false lifestyle of patriarchy. 

I learned from my childhood.  It was harsh and I ignored it for years.  Tried to push it away with humor.  But I can't do it anymore.  Not because I care about me, as a victim.  I don't give a rat's rear end about myself.  I care about my wife and kids, the kids and young adults (even old ones) that are forcefully involved in this controlled and evil lifestyle, and those who are in it and yet have questions of what the hell they are supposed to believe in.

And now the kicker.  I don't care at all for those that are inflicting the pain, the spiritual, physical, and emotional abuse on the least of these.  Sure, I want them to change, but I've met them.  I've hung with them.   Patriarchy breeds the most prideful, arrogant, pompous, self-righteous, pharisaical, holes of arses I have ever met.  God can deal with them.  Others who care more can deal with them.  But I will not.

I will follow Christ's words to do what is right to the least of these.   I am at peace and yet yearn for the freedom of controlled souls who have not tasted true freedom in Christ.  Or even, freedom at all.  Freedom without Christ is better than the prison these hurting souls find themselves in.

Maybe not sufficient, but I don't care.  Don't cheapen my message, if that is what this is.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

John Piper Wants to Go to Prison: An Argument for Hitting a Child

John Piper is a very odd man.  He is old and has many a follower that will stick up for him when there is even a tiny whisper of dissent.  He tends to say some incendiary things, and then grandstands when the ridicule comes shooting in, waving it off as being persecuted for the truth.  But in many cases, the truth for John
Piper is a relativistic sort of thing.  He sees many things in life as being very dichotomous - black vs. white, having no color.

One of those areas is spanking.  And the way he gets around to telling us why he believes in spanking is very odd indeed. He titles his chat, "Would Jesus Spank a Child?

Watching Johnny talk in his multitudinous video collection online, this title does not surprise me in the least.  He did it for the express reason of causing areaction.  It worked.  He got one out of me.

Let's explore what drivel he has to say.  You will notice that I have nothing but disdain for this man.  He is a cancer on society in my opinion.  A threat to freedom in Christ.  Any good that he does in preaching what he deems as "the truth" is negated by his worldview as pertaining to simple things like "roles" for women (and men, of have to be politically correct when you're trying to put a woman in her place by pretending to care what role a man has, rather than just glorying in the fact that you were created to be superior to the "weaker sex") and of course, spanking.

Piper Boy starts out with this:

"If Jesus were married and had children, I think he would have spanked the children."

The fact is, Jesus wasn't married and never had any children,. unless you believe in The Davinci Code, so we don't really have to go there.  But Johnny forced our hand, so we must.

Rather than, "If Jesus were married and had children, he would have loved his wife and children, gave the kids hugs and smoochies every night before bed, fed them three squares a day and lots and lots of sugar and Twinkies, taught them about God until he was blue in the face, and then left them all to fend for themselves when he died," Johnny decided to go the route of the most important aspect of married life with kids - hitting your children.

In all fairness, this is Piper Boy, chatting about spanking so it kind of fits, but, we are working on conjecture here and it begs the question: "Why did Johnny have to go here?"  Seriously.  Why?

Let's move on.  Hopefully he'll tell us.

"The place that I would go to help a person see that he would, when they can't imagine that he would, is Matthew 5 where he said, "Not a jot nor a tittle will pass away from the Law until all is accomplished." In other words, all the Law and the Prophets stand until they're done. And the Law says, "Spare the rod, spoil the child." That's a paraphrase. The book of Proverbs says, "If you withhold the rod, you hate your son." Jesus believed the Bible, and he would have done it."

Did he just say that?  I can't believe he just did.  This paragraph is not fickle, by any means.  It completely and utterly describes the underlying theology, whether he likes it or not, of how Johnny views Christianity.  He is saying that Jesus told us that the law still applies to us today. 

Jesus goes on for the rest of Chapter 5 and a few more chapters saying, "the law says this, but I say that you need to do this".  And the "this" that Jesus referred to was always much more difficult than the law contained.  Don't just not murder your brother, don't hate him either.  Don't feel good about the fact that you haven't
committed adultery, you better not even look at a woman to lust after her.

This was a message to people that were pretty high on themselves and their perfection.  In contrast, which it really isn't a contrast, but rather a good segue, Paul writes in Galatians 3 (reading the whole chapter gives excellent context) that the law, which was our guardian before Christ, who came to justify us by faith in Him, no longer applies.  We don't need a guardian anymore.  We're all sons of God.

Now, I don't always agree with Paul, but I can say I am convinced he's dead on with this point.  Jesus wasn't talking about all that schtuff we had to do in order to be perfect.  He stated that perfection was needed to be accepted into the kingdom of heaven.  Then he stated the perfection that was needed and notes that even one little piece being broken causes us to have broken the whole law, which he made harder than the law actually was written as.  Thus, if we can't do it anyway, what the heck is the law for?

A guardian prior to Christ.  A schoolmaster to point us to Christ.  A picture of our own sinfulness that points to the fact that we cannot DO anything close to following the law without Christ.

But, why argue that point.  Piper Boy makes a very strange segue here.  He says that Proverbs was the law.  This is a consistent mistake that people like Piper make.  I can assume that it may be inadvertent on Johnny's part, but I don't think so.  I think he purposefully ignores the meaning of "the law" because it fits his own little
definition of what it means to be a "true Christian."

The law was the law.  The law of Moses.  The one that was written down.  You know.  The Ten Commandments and bunches of other Levitical laws in between.  Yes, laws. Proverbs is not part of the law.  Psalms is not part of the law.  Huge parts of every book of the Old Testmant was not part of the law.  That means that "spare the rod, spoil the child" (which isn't in the Bible) was not part of the law.  Nor was it part of the Prophets.

Then, after ignoring the true definition of "law" Piper makes a smooth transition to calling it the "Bible".  But there is a problem here.  Jesus didn't believe in the Bible.  Jesus couldn't care less about the Bible.  Jesus was God.  He had God's true word in his back pocket.  The Bible didn't even exist.  It had yet to be formulated
and gathered together and canonized by counsels of men.  Yes, men.  Jesus knew the LAW, John Piper.  Not the Bible.  He knew what the law was and what it was meant for.

Finally, if we take John Piper at his word, why would Jesus change the law?  Why would he say the creed of divorce handed down by Moses was because of the hardness of the hearts of the Jewish people.  Could it be possible that the rod is one of those "rules" that fit into the category of "not applicable"?  We don't need to conjecture there anyway because there is a very simple point to be made here.  The Old Testament tells us to stone rebellious children, accusing him to the elders, not only as a rebel, but also a drunkard and a glutton - Deut. 21: 18 - 21.  It tells us to kill a child if he hits his mommy or daddy - Exodus 21:15, 17.  Even the most holy of holy books, Proverbs, states that even if a child so much as looks at his father in mockery and disobeys his mother, must be held down and have his eye plucked out by wild birds - Proverbs 30:17.  That Proverbs one leads us to possibly see, just maybe, that many parts of the Bible could potentially, likelyishly be allegorical.  You think?  Or take Psalm 137:9 where the writer is speaking of revenge against the enemy and glories in the possibility of children be dashed against rocks, most likely killing them.

Would Piper say Jesus condones that because, after all, he believes in the Bible!?

Let's move on.  Hopefully Piper says some good stuff so we don't have to hit these super softballs out of the park.

I won't quote him directly but Piper goes on to say that there is a problem in our culture.  The "heart of the issue" is simply that the person accepts the sign, that isn't there anymore, along I-35W in Minneapolis, Minnesota, imploring people to not hurt children.  To that, Johnny says, "That's all it said! And spanking is equated with hurting children." So, I assume he doesn't believe that hitting children actually hurts.

It gets better:

"Well, I will go to jail over that issue!"

Really, John Piper?  You would actually go to jail over hitting your children?  Seriously?  So, you would risk leaving your wife without a husband for a time while you sat in prison for your righteous endeavors?  You would leave your children with the only option of seeing your face through a window and hearing your voice over a phone just because spanking was right?  You would rather spank and go to jail than compromise by doing other forms of discipline, just to prove a point?  You would rather go to jail than make sure your kids had three squares a day?  You would rather withhold sex from your wife except for state-approved conjugal visits beacuse you felt spanking was right?  Maybe you missed Roman 13:1-7.  If you do read that John, skip Verse 8.  Its innaplicable to our life today because of what Jesus says in Matthew 5.

Then Piper goes on to make a weird attempt at connecting how we parent our children to how the author of Hebrews referenced how God treats His sons.  He calls Hebrews 12:6, the "direct connection".  All that verse says is that God disciplines us and chastises us because he loves us.  I'm not sure why Johnny didn't go further because Verses 9 - 11 actually would serve to prove his point a tad better.  But, the fact is, discipline may not be the same as hitting.  Unfortunately, when Piper sees "discipline" he sees "beating a child".  I don't see that.  I learn discipline by motivation, hard work, staying at it, verbal and emotional chastisement, people coming
alongside me and walking me through the process, mentors, and even through my own mistakes.  Nobody whoops my behind and yet I learn just fine.

Piper then makes a funny statement.  He excitedly declares (he's always excited when he's making a great point - I know - I'm the same way) that saying don't hurt a child is a wrong view of God and that, since God uses suffering to discipline his children, so should we.  This is very dangerous.  John Piper is not talking to students in a classroom where they can follow-up with questions on actual application of his teachings so as to do it right and not hurt someone.  He is talking to everyone who will listen.  And for everyone who would only rub their children's behinds or even tap them to stay on the good graces of the law, there are ten more that will beat the living hell out of their children because Piper Boy told them it was our job as parents to make the kids suffer.

In Piper's defense, he does follow that one up with his extra-biblical application of not breaking an arm or giving them a black eye.  Then he floats a whopper:

"Children have little fat bottoms so that they can be whopped."

Really?!!!   So, let's explore that a weeny bit.  Has Piper Boy ever met my kids?  Their butt cheeks couldn't hold up a pair of underwear if the cloth was glued to it.  They eat like horses and can't gain an ounce.  But, they have a little fat on their heels so maybe that's the place to spank.  Or, they're pretty large around the mid section when they're younger, so, maybe a good kick in the belly would work.  Also, with that philosophy, adults have fat bottoms too.  Maybe they need a good whoop arseing every so often to keep them in line.  Piper is too skinny, so he gets a pass, but I think his wife might have a few extra pounds.  She may be a great candidate for his lil' bop theory. 

What a stupid line.  A real good whopper to base your theology on.

Then Pipes tells us a sweet story about a kid, during the discovery period of a child's life, colors some orange crayon on the wall.  Now, in the Piper household, coloring on the wall is akin to stealing maney from a  bank.  It's evil.  Pure evil.  Doing that little act of curiosity deserves a whoopin'.  So Piper takes the guy in a room, gives him a good thwacking and then makes it ok by hugging him and saying he loves him.  Don't be shocked.  Piper says it was just fine.  The kid was bouncing off the walls "happy, happy, happy"!  Glad he didn't put a hole in the wall because Johnny Boy might have thrown him through a second story window and then went and hugged him on the concrete below.  Of course, Piper would have no consequences for breaking the window.

Hey John.  Who whoops your arse when you fart in an elevator?  You should know better!  What a completely asinine idea.  Here, a kid is learning to explore and discover new things in life and the parent comes over and hits him, putting an end to his creativity. 

Why couldn't John Piper just go and take his hand, walk him over to a coloring book, and have him color on the proper places?  Maybe because he might have to do that stunt many many times.  Maybe because spanking is much more efficient because the child equates fear of dad when he wants to write on the wall.  Maybe because John Piper doesn't gives a rat's rear end whether or not his child maintains a penchant for discovering knew things.  Did John Piper, in that one orgasmic moment of his brilliant parenting career, singlehandedly change the direction of his son's life from a nuclear physicist who would discover cold fusion?

But, no.  John makes the only alternate conclusion available to all mankind in the area of child discipline by saying:

"Now if I had said to him, "You go into your room and you sit there and you stay there until you feel appropriately guilty, and then we'll see if you come out and do the right thing," what a wicked way to punish a child!"

Very typical of those who want to prove an unproveable point.  they make the alternate seem, not only evil beyond measure, but also, the ONLY way.  He never goes on to explain why that form of discipline is evil.  It has worked very very well for us in many cases, including staying on the good side of the law when we were not allowed to do anything else while running a daycare. 

And he finishes with:

"Spanking is so clean! It's so quick! It's so relieving! A kid feels like he has done atonement and he is out of there and happy.

To these modern ideas of timeout, or sitting in the corner, I say, "Bologna! Give me a spanking! I want to go play!"

I just think spanking is really healthy for children. It is a measured deliverance of a non-damaging act of mild pain that makes the child feel the seriousness of what he's done. It is not beating. It is not abuse. There is a clear difference. The very word "spank" exists because there is such a thing as a loving way to whop a child on his behind or his chunky thigh."

John Piper would never be trusted with my children - EVER!  Hitting them on a chunky thigh?  Are you kidding me?  I've been slapped on my thigh and it's not cake walk.  Also, he acts like hitting a child has some magical pixie dust qualities that, when administered on the fly, gives a child the necessary training they need to be a perfect human being.  "...give me a spanking!  I want to go out to play!!!!!!!!"

But then again, I don't take my children to prison for daycare.  Being in a cell with Big John would be a scary thing indeed.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day, Undeserved

If I could have been around during the time of the ancient Egyptians, I might have begged them to create a 364 day year, rather than a 365.  In my view, for me anyway, Father’s Day can skip right on by, unnoticed.  I do not deserve it in the least.

Before any of my readers boot up some comments that vehemently disagree with the above statement, let me explain.  By the end of this post, you will agree with my premise and run me out of town with pitchforks.  I thank God, every day, that my wife and children have not done just that.

Two weeks before I married my bride, we discovered that we were pregnant.  I have watched hundreds of movies, read thousands of books, and possibly have watched millions of commercials that portray the moment of discovery of life in the womb.  One thread that I have noticed is that, if the mother and father of the impending child are in a loving relationship, news of the baby in the womb is a moment of joy.  Tears of happiness are frequently reported as being the norm.  The glow of the unequaled uniqueness of the new beginnings of human life between a couple is unparalleled.

At that point in my life, that was most definitely not my reaction.  What happened next has been etched in my brain as being descriptive of how I saw my children then and how I mostly view them now.  I wrapped my arms around my bride-to-be and sighed heavily, saying, “Well, guess we need to start saving.”

That elicited a cool response from her that I did not understand at the time.  We had excellent communication – meaning we argued very well and very loudly – and I learned quickly that I was much different than her.  She loved children.  I did not.

I grew up in a Bill Gothard household.  No, not a Christian home, but rather, a Bill Gothard home.  Every little word and thought that came from his mouth and materials and those that followed him, became scripture in our minds.  One foundational “theological” idea that became a part of me was that children were a blessing from God.  While I do not disagree with that statement, the way that we were taught that God required us to practice that thought is what has destroyed my relationship with my children now, and what I will be fighting against for the rest of my fatherhood – hoping one day to crawl into the sunshine of loving and enjoying every moment I am given with my six beautiful offspring.

We were taught that God opened and closed the womb.  This meant that birth control of any form was wrong.  All married couples were required to have a large family as a badge of holiness.  A man, having his quiver full of these blobs of flesh, was akin to being an apostle of Jesus Christ, given the tongues of fire at Pentecost, enabling him to sit in the gates of the city and wield his power, wisdom, and influence on those less capable than he.

It was impressed on us that finances were of no consequence.  In fact, to worry about proportionate amounts of money to children was sin of the gravest kind.  You were to squirts out these lumps of flesh every nine or so months and God would magically provide all your resources, leaving you happy and unworried, all the days of your life.

Intimate love between husband and wife was secondary at best and usually or always dead last to nonexistent.  A husband never had the chance to get to know his wife without the responsibilities of another human being at stake.  There were always babies to take care of and kids to deal with.

This, as well as many other “principles”, was supposed to embody true happiness.

So we lived it.  We had our first daughter seven months after we were married.  We had financial troubles and fought.  We had our second daughter the next year.  We had financial troubles and fought.  We had our first son the next year.  We had financial troubles and fought.  My wife miscarried a year later.  I shrugged my shoulders in relief and could not relate to her grief.  We had financial troubles and fought.  We had another daughter and another son.  We had financial troubles and fought.  Then our lives turned from stressful to absolutely unbearable, financially, emotionally, physically, and any other aspect you can put your finger on.  During that time, my wife became pregnant with our sixth and final child – a daughter.

She, being completely and utterly overwhelmed with the responsibilities of her quiver full life, wept.

 I woke up.

Why was my wife crying when she had told me that she wanted a large family?  Why was I indifferent to every single child that entered our lives?  Why did we agree on a perfect number of twenty-nine children and then grief strikes when we discovered that we were coming up on six?

At every birth in the hospital delivery room, I was very good at being the man my wife needed during the delivery.  But, every time the child came forth, I would internally rip myself to shreds with iron hooks and a machete, knowing full well that my heart was cold.  I had absolutely no love for that lump of flesh.  None.  It was just another check mark in my own personal quiver.  I hated myself with new vigor with each addition to our family.  I felt I was heartless and unloving.  I saw that my children were being loved by their mother and “put up with” by their father.  A good recipe for them to hate me in the end.

I was taught that children were a badge of glory for me.  I wasn’t taught how to love them.  I was taught that my children needed to be spanked for every thought, word, and deed that I disagreed with.  I wasn’t taught how to give them a hug and learn to laugh at how their mind worked and the small joys of growing up.  I was taught that a baby needed to think like an adult and have its will under complete control toward its superior.  I wasn’t taught how to cry with them when they were teething, weep with them when they had a high fever, wince with them when they got a shot, almost die with them when they contracted whooping cough from other stupid non-immunizing families, laugh with them when they wanted to be giggly during a meal prayer, feed them when they were hungry, load them up with sugar just because sugar was delicious.  I was taught many things.  And I turned out a failure of a father.

I have learned to hate my children.  They don’t clean when I want them to.  They don’t go to bed when told.  They ride in the street on their bikes when they know it’s forbidden.  They unroll toilet paper until it is down to the cardboard roll and then put it in a bucket which they fill with water and then dump down the toilet, which plugs the toilet, water spilling all over the floor.  They draw on my walls with everything from pencils to permanent markers to charcoal briquettes.  They leave pockets full of crayons in their pants which colors a load pretty well in the heat of a dryer.  They spill their milk.  They wet their diapers.  They throw up.  They drool.  They don’t clean.  Did I mention they don’t clean?

In other words, they are children.  Kids.  Little people.  Not grown up.  Not adults.  Not as mature as I am.  Learning.  Loving life.  Loving to touch things that need to be touched to experience the experiential.  Needing to taste everything.  Needing to try everything once to see if it is something that should be tried again.  Making mistakes.  Doing things right.  Desiring the love of their daddy.  Getting the love of their mommy.  Wondering why their daddy is always yelling at them.  Seeing that their daddy’s love is conditional, proportional to the cleanly state of the house.  Crying inside, wishing their daddy would love them.  Crying openly in a dark hallway, begging for a perfect daddy when the stupid, imperfect daddy yells at them that he wants perfect kids.

My wife and I rectified the “problem” of birthing too many children than we could handle about six months ago.  It finally opened my eyes to the fact that the six I had was all that I was ever going to have.  I realized I didn’t want to mess it up.  So I purposed that I was going to turn a new leaf.  I still purpose that every week or so, consistently moving one step forward and two steps backward.

I watch in disbelief as my wife’s love for my children grows deeper by the day.  She LOVES them, faults and all.  I WANT to love them despite what I deem are faults.  More than likely, what I see as faults are just curious little people running around, loving life and desiring to be loved.

I hate myself, as defined by fatherhood.  I do not deserve to be a daddy to my kids.  They deserve something much better than me.  They deserve love.  They deserve a dad who wants to play catch with them on the lawn when it needs to be mowed.  They deserve a daddy that will spill his cup of milk when they spill theirs, just to get a laugh and let them know that it’s okay.  They deserve much more than me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I play with my kids here and there.  We wrestle.  I’m a fun daddy.  They love me with all of my faults.  They show me what true and unconditional love is, on a minute by minute basis.  But I cannot buy that type of love forever.  They will soon grow up and need more.  They will need what I desire to have on the outside, actually on the outside, rather than just a pipe dream theory that I am working on.

As you can see, I am in the beginning stages of healing.  Bill Gothard taught me to see children as a reflection of myself.  He never taught me who children really were.  They are not objects to be formed and molded in my hands.  They are there as human beings, a beautiful creation of a mixture of my wife and I, desiring to be infused with love, knowledge, hope, courage, wisdom and happiness.  If any one person in this family needs to be malleable, it is me.  And I am ready and willing.

I am very slowly learning to love my children.  In ten years, they will look back and see two entirely different daddies.  The hateful, despicable, selfish, haughty, loud one, and then the one that mattered.

One day, I will celebrate Father’s Day with joy in my heart – knowing without a shadow of a doubt that that day was well deserved.  I will know that by the vibrancy in my children’s souls.  But most importantly, I will know it by the dozen eggs cracked and spilling their yellow liquid all over the kitchen floor, which I just skated through in my socks, to the squealing laughter of my beautiful children.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Rogue "pastoral" Team: Act Nine - The Boss, Defined

Start from Act One
Incongruous Circumspection was threatened by Mark and Annah's Henchman! 
Aww...the Henchman Apologizes...Sort of 
Mark Reid Tries to Preach Out of a Jam

In Act Eight, Zach asked a lot of questions and Mark and Annah Reid had a lot of answers to other questions that Zach didn’t ask.  They dredged up other “issues” like Zach not sitting with his wife in church all the time.

Then, Mark Reid decides that he isn’t religious enough with his words and brings in a god phrase from left field – “God's end goal is to form Christ in us.”  Sure, that sounds well enough, but Mark’s point isn’t that Christ needs to be formed in us (we'll look at that later), rather, it is just a jargon infused sentence that he tries to bludgeon Zach over the head with – proposing that “Christ formed in us” is simply obeying Mark and Annah Reid.  The sweet part for Mark is that Mark himself gets to define what “Christ in us” means.

Let’s continue to listen in…


Annah: Yes. That's what I'm saying. It's about God, not about man.

I apologize I have to interject so early, but this is another squishy softball.  A favorite tactic by a cult creator and maintainer is to defend their rules as not their own, but God’s.  Then, when you realize that all the rules benefit the ones in charge, they can easily shrug their shoulders and tell you, in all spiritual-ness, to take it up with the man upstairs.  After all, fairness, love, compassion, equality, and working together are completely out of their hands.  The leaders are so humbled that they are FORCED into this sort of hierarchy.

Mark: The Scripture says that God's goal is that Christ be formed in us, um, and He uses the body, He uses the body of Christ to do that, the government of God, uh, has elders in authority, I mean pastor is only used, like once, uh, maybe twice, I can't remember, but the gov…

Ok. I find it quite funny actually, that Mark and Annah Reid are pushing Zach to be under their control and Mark sums it up by quoting an itty bitty portion of the one book in the Bible that is entirely devoted to opening our eyes to the wonderful freedom we have in Christ.

Mark is quoting from Galatians 4:19 –

19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!

This gives us no context so let’s discuss Galatians for a bit, as well as some background information.

Back in the old days, some men from Judea were teaching that a person could not be saved unless they were circumcised, according to the law of Moses (Acts 15:1).  So, like we do in modern times when someone starts adding to the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ (requiring the wearing of dresses, covering hair, obeying authority, having authority hierarchies, squirting out hundreds of babies per couple, sex being horribly naughty and never to be enjoyed, spanking is good, beating your children is normal, parental control is a must, women cannot preach, divorce is wrong, sexual sin and divorce keep you from any office in the “church”, rock music is bad, harp music is good, steel guitar twang is as evil as a voodoo ritual where you eat tarantulas before spiritually slicing through a watermelon with a machete that has been dedicated to the moon god while chanting curses at hallowed politicians like Michael Peroutka), Paul, Barnabas, and others scheduled a pow-wow to discuss the matter.  They debated and debated and debated and ended up listening as Peter stood in Acts 15:7b-11 and said,

7 “Yo knuckleheads!  God doesn’t really give a rip what we do or look like when we come to him.  The gospel is and was for everyone from the beginning.  He don’t care about distinction by golly, but rather cleanses the heart due to your faith.  Why the bleep are you putting a yoke on the heads of others that even our fathers weren’t able to master!?  We, just like others that will come after, have been saved through the grace of Jesus Christ.  Fo shizzle!”

Then, Paul and Barnabas told great stories of what God had done, through them, to the uncircumcised.  The pow-wow session went on and on and came to an end with one conclusion – quit adding to the simple gospel!

Paul’s letter to the Galatians was summing up what was decided at that meet and greet.  The Galatians were wondering if they needed to add the ritual of circumcision to the gospel in order to be correct.  Faith in Jesus Christ alone was suspect.

In the exact same chapter (4) that Paul references the desire to see Christ formed in all believers, he spoke about how heirs were slaves to their father until a set date where they were able to get the dough (vs. 1, 2).  He discusses the previous enslavement to the “elementary principles” of the world (vs. 3).  Then he gives the good news that all that is tossed out.  That Jesus Christ makes us slaves no more but sons and heirs, subject to none (vs. 4 – 7)!

Verse 8 is actually quite pertinent for these knuckleheads that deem to put themselves as slave owners, above Zach. 

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

So, Paul is essentially stating the exact opposite position that Mark and Annah Reid are arguing.  These two are yelling at Zach that to be more like Christ is to obey those that by nature are not gods.  Paul says not to.   They scream at Zach that he needs to enslave himself.  Paul says Zach has no master.  They shout that Zach needs to adhere to a shifty rulebook that they alone define.  Paul says, "Hey Zach…if you do, I’ve labored in vain.  My message of freedom has been pointless" 

After saying all that, Paul then waxes nostalgic about how the Galatians treated him with reverence and respect when he told them of the gospel.  Heck, they would have given him their eyes, if they asked.  Then he questions whether they are now looking at him as the enemy because he is preaching against circumcision (vs. 12 – 16).

Then the hammer comes down on Mark and Annah Reid.  Paul says in Verses  17 and 18 –

17 [Mark and Annah Reid] make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you.

Then, Verse 19 pops into view.  You know…the one Mark Reid referenced that supposedly proved that Zach needed to enslave himself to his worldly masters as intermediaries to God, that being the forming of Christ in Zach.

Um…can you say, “taken out of context?”

We expect nothing less from these two god peeps.  They stop at nothing to display their power (and ignorance).

Zach: Pastor-teacher.

Mark: Huh?

Zach: Pastor-teacher is of the "fourfold" ministry.
(Zach: I had to throw this in there to see his reaction)
Mark: But, uh, the end goal of the body of Christ is that we are all jointly fitted together, and we're nourishing one another, and so that's – I see the body of Christ like a family, and the pastor is like the father of the family, and part of the goal of the father of the family is to get his kids to grow up. And that's part of why I'm talking so straight with you today, because I want you to grow up in this area. And if you don't know what your purpose is, it's going to be really hard to submit if you're questioning even what authority that we have. But authority comes with responsibility. Okay? And we have taken responsibility for the health of this family. And so that's what authority we have. And that's why we have authority to say that you can do something or can't do something, because we're responsible for the whole family. Okay? Just like when your daughter has brothers and sisters…

Puke.  Translation:  Zach.  You need to obey us and do exactly as we say because we work so bleeping hard for your growth and spiritual welfare.  You’re indebted to us, brotha! 

Also, pretty weird for god Mark to say this.  Doesn’t Jesus say in Matthew 23:9 to not call any man “father”?  The facts do not matter here, though.

Annah: Yes…

Mark: You're going to tell your daughter, "NO!" for certain reasons because it is unhealthy for the rest of the kids. It might be a bad example. It might be something harmful she's doing to them. But she might be being too independent, and it's not making cohesive family unity. But you two will be the parents, and you will have that authority over her. And I believe that I and Annah have authority, as the mom and dad of this church.

EEEWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Mom and dad of this church.  Nice. 

Now, Mark is telling Zach how he should parent and what is right and wrong for a kid to do.  Isn’t it scary that he expects parents to stop a “child” from becoming too independent and destroying family unity?  It’s no wonder that they lost their older kids to “rebellion”, i.e., they ran like hell and are now independent and free.  What a horrible analogy.  How can Mark say this while out of the other side of his mouth, he is feigning the giving of a leadership position to Zach?  Zach is no leader in Mark and Annah’s world.  Just a stupid little independent child that is making a ruckus for the other slobs.

This guy is as charismatic as they come but would fit right into Doug Phillips’ Vision Forum cult, rock music and all.  They’d welcome him with open arms with words like that!

Annah: Mhmm!

Shut-up, Annah.

Mark: have authority over what goes down here. We're not going to have independent teams operating underneath our umbrella of what we're responsible for.

Holy living crap!  He just used Billy Boy G. jargon!

Annah: 'Cause what will happen is it will – if you've got a leader that has an independent spirit that's not honoring and showing submission to the leadership, it breeds in the church. That's just reality.

Translation:  We cannot control those that disagree with us.

Generality alert!!!

Mark: And almost every church…

Annah: …

Oh, sorry.  Guess he got cut off.  Let’s lean back and listen to this drivel.

…It breeds in the church, because you got a rebellio... - I want a worship leader that has humility; that says, "You know what? I love the people, I love you, and I want to do what God wants." And if you're  the leader, I'm here. I'm here to serve you and to serve your vision, 'cause if you ever want your vision – and this is what Yurgan brings up in the CD that I asked you to listen to if you  ever want your vision to come forward, Zach, you're going to have to pass through this…
 (Zach: Referring to the unsubmissive attitude)
…You will have to pass through this. 'Cause Yurgan, in order to be where he's at today, had to go through church leadership, learning to serve them, honor them, doing what they wanted, not what he wanted, and just serving somebody else's vision. And that's what you're here for: serving our vision – God's vision – to do what God wants to accomplish. But if you've got – they say, like, um, a son or a daughter that's showing a lot of rebellion, then all of the attention goes on that child. All the other kids get neglected. 'Cause it's ALL about THEM. No! It's not about you at all. It's not about you. It's really what you're doing, and I think that you've got – you know, like, listening to this stuff, like, Yurgan, he's a really good preacher, pastor – you need this Zach. This is an area in your life that God's trying to say, "I want you, like, after Joseph, that I can take you and mold you into what I want so that I can use you, and that you can rule over much." But we have to go through…

The translation is easy here.  According to Annah, it’s all about the person you’re serving.  It’s all about their vision, which is, of course, God’s vision.  Mark and Annah Reid can’t be wrong.  They speak for God.  They can’t be unsubmissive because they have no one to submit to.

I would LOVE to see her definition of rebellion in a child.  I wonder how much she beat her kids when they were babies to break their will.  After all, little babies are freakin’ rebellious by not shutting the friggin’ scream off when they’re hungry.  Any advice Annah?

Mark: You have to be faithful, though…

Annah: ...even David, how long did he live in a cave? How long? Do you know what Saul was all about? Saul was all about taking the Saul out of David…

…God used Saul's leadership to get the Saul out of David. But if David hadn't responded to it, guess what? Wouldn't have been king.
(Zach: I can't help but interject, but who is trying to become a king here? Not me! Christ is King!)
…Just because God says, "Thus saith the Lord... this is what you're going to do..." doesn't mean it will happen.

Huh? To get the Saul out of David?  Huh?  Wha…?  What the he….???!!!

Saul’s leadership be damned!  Sorry Annah, but nothing in the story of David and Saul had anything to do with authority or his leadership.  Let me repeat a key word in the previous sentence: NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!

Saul became king because God set him up as king.  Then, he became selfish and didn’t much care for the things of God.  So God set about making David king.  Saul was an ass and tried to kill the guy.  He lost and David became king.  A bunch of fillers and, um…end of story.

David needed Saul’s leadership to iron out the kinks?  Huh?  He lived in a cave so God could teach him how to submit to Saul?  What!???

According to your asinine interpretation of this story, David should have stepped in front of the javelin Saul was throwing at him when he was pissed because Saul’s vision, as the God-ordained leader, was God’s vision.  But, slipping away and conniving with Saul’s son to get to safety?  Um…that’s not submission, Annah.

Zach: But Saul was selfish in his motive.

Annah: But Saul was used by God to be a leader in David's life. God set the stage. We don't get to set the stage. God sets the stage…
(Zach: My point exactly)

Guffaw Alert!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark: And David honored his role as leader as wrong as he was. And I'm not perfect, Annah's not perfect, you're not perfect.

Ok.  Picture this:  David gets anointed by Samuel to become king of all of Israel while Saul is still king – a treasonous act.  Saul catches wind of it, or at least knows that God’s hand is now off of him and now on David.  He attempts to kill David many times.  And David honored Saul’s role as leader? 

Not a chance.  We get a picture of how David was reverent to GOD when Saul was sleeping and David refused to cut the blokes head off.  He stated that he would not strike the Lord’s anointed.  He honored GOD, not Saul.  He didn’t say that he could not strike Saul due to his superiority in leadership and the need to submit.  If that was the case, he needed to have woken up Saul and deliver HIMSELF into Saul’s hand.

As usual, verses or eisegetical ideas, picked and chosen, to support a theology that just isn’t there.

Not to mention the obligatory lie of “we’re not perfect” and then the lightning quick, “but don’t get any ideas because you’re not perfect either!” line.

Annah: No. Potiphar wasn't perfect, but God chose to have Potiphar be Joseph's ruler…

Zach: That was a theocracy, though, this is not a theocracy.

Annah: Uh, this is a church, that we're going to honor God, and we're going to have a culture of honor and submission…
Zach: This is a church with Christ as the Head, and I see THAT.

Put your drinks on the floor!  Empty all firearms of all ammunition!  Swallow!  Ready the chair for the Heimlich Maneuver!  Hide the children!

Annah: NO! Christ is the Head and He put us as the boss! There you go. It's that easy. It's that simple.

Mark: There's nobody but us who's responsible for the whole function of the church.
Zach: Why just you two?
Annah: 'Cause God said we get to!

Zach: Why not a body of people that can actually agree on something instead of you guys just saying, "Everybody do this, that's the way it's going to be."

Annah: 'Cause it is.
Zach: No it's not.

Annah: Yeah, it is.

Zach: It shouldn't be that way.
Annah: Zach, it is.


Still alive?  Mad yet?  Laughing?  Annah says it is, so it is. 

In Act Ten, Zach will ask many questions and Mark and Annah Reid will solidify their position.