Monday, October 5, 2015

Look closer

It's a paperweight. Thick glass, you put a photo or little memento inside and glue the back on and you're memory is secure and contained. Because it's convex, it also acts as a little magnifier, the better to see your beloved by.

Even as I was ripping out the ragged, dirty photos of us kids that Mother had carefully cut out and pasted together under the glass, I heard myself speaking out loud the truth that no one wants to hear. If your children leave and do their very best to never come back, there's something wrong.

And it's probably you.

I can't count the number of times I've heard the excuse that the children went bad and no one has any idea why they left, goodness knows the parent did everything they could, the children were just selfish and got in with the wrong people. There's something about the human heart that wants to go home to mom and dad no matter how old you get. If you can find an excuse, you'll go, or call, or write, or keep in touch somehow.  If the children aren't, then there was something rancid or cruel going on in their formative years and the adult children aren't obliged to go back and pretend it never was. Usually, everyone else takes up that delusion for them.

Earlier this afternoon I was reading an article about how male pastors abuse their spiritual authority by commenting on their women parishioners' prettiness. Sounds harmless, doesn't it? The author tried to look at every angle by which the pastors' could be justified in the behaviour, but when it comes down to the pastor's role in the life of a believer, there is no place for crossing that line into thinking and acting according to the fallen world. Physical beauty is fleeting and has no inherent reward in God's kingdom, not to mention that no woman apart from the one at his own house is his wife and he has no business qualifying his behaviour towards any woman anywhere due to how pretty she is. 

It's manipulative, demeaning, deceptive within the Body of Christ, and wrong.

The women commenters to the article understood the problem, some of the men did, but quite a few of the men defended the behaviour to the uttermost. They didn't want to have to stop looking at women for the purpose of seeing if she met their standards of  "pretty," and they didn't want the family dynamic within the church to change so much that they would have to see the stake they have in keeping women constrained to those standards. It gives them pleasure and power, and they aren't going to give that up, their life in Christ be damned.

There remains the saving power of Christ, but it can come with the tears of a man rescued after he has set his own house on fire. It's a dreadful end for a lifetime of work.

One more thing -
I was listening to an album of scripture memory songs this week, it's just nice to sing the Word, and the Word only, without extra commentary, especially songs you first learned decades ago. James 1:5-6 came up, this time I heard it from the scripture instead of the endless sermons I've heard about it.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."

Trust [faith] in the wisdom God gives you in response to your request. Don't do a double take [doubt] and try to trust your own or the world's wisdom, too; it makes you unstable, you can't have two minds on the subject and get anywhere. Go with God's wisdom, there's plenty of it to get you all the way thru and He will never scold you for asking. 

(Most sermons accuse you of not having enough faith in God to get the wisdom, but faith isn't the subject here, wisdom is. Remember, God never reproaches you for being ignorant, don't let anyone else accuse you either.)

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