Calvinism

It’s Calvinism Free-For-All: Off the Top of Your Head, Part 2

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One of the most popular debates on this blog is the Calvinism vs Arminianism debate that spontaneously shows up in threads.  I have set up this blog post so the Calvinism/Arminian discussion can continue here, but not “overtake” other important articles.  Part 1 had so many comments, over 1,000, the page was taking a long time to load, hence, Part 2.

I’ll use Ed’s  post to start it off.  Feel free to join in:

Hannah,

I hope you came over here:

You had said:
Hmmmm….well if there is no one there to preach the Word says they are without excuse… Romans 1 says he will reveal Himself to them…

My response:
Romans 10:13-15

King James Version (KJV)

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Ed

1,084 thoughts on “It’s Calvinism Free-For-All: Off the Top of Your Head, Part 2”

  1. It’s not mockery. You used 2 identities here. I had meant to address it, but got distracted. People asked you to come clean on that and you didn’t. Now I’m settling the issue.

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  2. Julie Anne–

    You wrote:

    Hans,

    Please stop trying to engage me at how I moderate. You have your mind made up about how I moderate and nothing I say will change your mind. So either deal with it or move along. I am a full-time student and don’t have time for this. Just follow the rules and you will be fine: keep doctrinal debates to this thread, not on current threads.

    Thanks!

    How can you sit there and say, “Nothing I say will change your mind,” when you haven’t ever said anything? I demonstrated a whole history of abusive, derisive interchanges…and all I got from you was stone, cold silence.

    Now, I get on and tell you I will do as you say and just “deal with it,” and you turn around and mock me? Supposedly, according to the word of the moderator, if I stick to doctrinal debate on this thread and away from it on others, I will be just fine. I will be holding you to that.

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  3. Julie Anne–

    Though I know some don’t care for it, using another identity as a foil, especially in circumstances where one is substantially outnumbered, is a pretty common blog practice. I know of no policy on this blog outlawing it. If there is, please inform me, and I will abide by it. I never use my real name on this or any other blog. My wife works in the field of IT, and she simply will not allow it. Most all of us are anonymous anyway. What’s the big deal?

    Some blogs require real names be given at least to the moderator. You can go in that direction if you like. My personality is such that I would prefer to be aboveboard. But I would have to cross my wife to do so. (So, if you ever do require real names, I will have no choice but to bow out.)

    Anonymity breeds contempt, not honesty or community. I don’t know a soul here. Information can be garnered on you because you have made it public knowledge. But Lydia could be an ex-NFL linebacker, now driving truck in North Dakota. Gary could be a pimply fourteen-year-old school girl from rural Peru. Ed could be a big, huggable African-American bag lady, living out of her shopping cart on the streets of Oakland and stopping in now and again at the local public library to get online.

    I tend to present myself fairly close to who I am. It’s just easier. But how does who I am affect the validity of my arguments? I’m not here to make friends. I will never meet a single individual who frequents this blog. I don’t owe anybody here any transparency. They don’t owe any to me. I am quite fine with each one of them having as many identities here as they wish. There’s nothing manipulative about it in my book. Whether they’re Edna from Enid, Oklahoma (who goes to Wade Burleson’s church)…or Edna and Hortense and Gertrude and “Spider Joe,” it makes little or no difference to me. Either Edna/Hortense/Gertrude/Joe can make arguments or she can’t. If the illusion of more voices from her side might somehow be beneficial…more power to her. Anonymity is anonymity–and in a dangerous day and age–ought to be respected. It’s the price we pay for being able to speak to people we don’t know from Adam’s house cat (as they say in the South, where I may it may not have onetime lived or am living now) on the other side of the globe.

    Whoever Lydia is, I would not wish to encounter her in a dark alley late at night. Based on how she presents herself, I wouldn’t want any of my children anywhere near her. She may well have nothing but contempt for me. I may well have nothing but contempt for her right back.

    Truth be told, however, were we ever to meet in real life over a sandwich in a corner pub, we’d probably laugh the afternoon away, wondering where the time went. I have no illusion that I know what she is really like at all. I only dislike her internet persona.

    You might be astonished, Julie Anne, how gentle, sane, affable, and reasonable I can be when not surrounded by a snarling pack of internet jackals. You would utterly adore my kids. My wife is constantly telling me how thankful she is to be with someone like me.

    The principal reason I came here to begin with was to hone my dialogue skills. I was doing so well, and then I got tired…really, really, really, really tired. I messed it up. I’m sorry for that. I tried to fix it, but no one would let me. They smelled blood in the water and bit to the bone.

    I’m well aware that I can never convince true believers of anything that goes against their dogma. I don’t much care if I sully the waters and make Calvinism even more objectionable in their minds. In the long run, it’s not going to matter. I need to learn how to reach those who are wavering…either on their way out or on their way in to Reformed thought. I apologize to lurkers here. I do not yet have the requisite skills to present my case anywhere near as winsomely as I would like. I serve a risen Savior who sure appears to my eyes to have made a mistake in picking me. I long for the day when I can serve him half so well as I ought.

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  4. I don’t know Julie Anne’s policy about dual identities but it is common not to allow them.

    On my disease support forum, people may not use two identities. They are also asked not to misrepresent themselves. Pseudonyms are fine as is being unforthcoming about personal details. If you don’t want people to know you live in Virginia, don’t say anything about your state and don’t tell everyone you live in Wyoming. We have a poster who posts with initials and no one knows his/her gender. We ban people for giving false details; if you are an elderly man who does not have the disease we are supporting, you may not post as a sick child. (Yes that happened).

    I don’t think those rules are unreasonable.

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  5. Re: multiple ID – I allow people to use multiple identities here. And there are really good reasons people might do that. However, in this case, there were several people who were able to figure out the identity of Eric/Hans. It leaves confusion in a place where we are building relationships. It became a distraction and now, with the ongoing distraction of hijacking the blog with complaints rather than joining in ongoing discussion of the appropriate topics, we need to get back to the thread focus.

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  6. “Whoever Lydia is, I would not wish to encounter her in a dark alley late at night. Based on how she presents herself, I wouldn’t want any of my children anywhere near her. She may well have nothing but contempt for me. I may well have nothing but contempt for her right back.

    Truth be told, however, were we ever to meet in real life over a sandwich in a corner pub, we’d probably laugh the afternoon away, wondering where the time went. I have no illusion that I know what she is really like at all. I only dislike her internet persona”

    What a strange juxtaposition. I don’t think about you enough to have “contempt” for you. I was simply responding to your comments here.
    Your first one declaring we all hate you and all Calvinists. That is usually what I hear from Calvinists when I dare disagree with Calvism

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  7. Marsha–

    Quite honestly, I pretty much agree with you. I’m not sure how enforceable it could ever be, however. I believe some moderators can check IP addresses, which might make it easier to detect. This is actually only the second time I have ever used dual identities. Obviously, they can be difficult to maintain. (I got tired and forgot to change my identification details: email/name.)

    I was just testing it out to see whether it could be beneficial under the right circumstances. Evidently, it would take a lengthy period of developing an alternative persona AND developing “relationships” under that persona. I’m not at all sure it would ever be worth the constant effort.

    Most of the time, we merely make believe that we are developing actual relationships on these blogs. Some internet personae we enjoy conversing with, and some we don’t. It’s really not much more than that. Once in a great while, I suppose, we may develop a bond that could be brought into the light of day.

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  8. It appears that I am “lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut.” Totally BENEATH contempt. So worthless, in fact, that I’m not worth the brain cells it would take to think on my worthlessness.

    I like it! 🙂

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  9. To whom it may concern:

    In a more serious vein, to get back on track theologically as Julie Anne would prefer, I may have no choice but to plant a church where I reside, here in the small town of Virginia, Wyoming.

    Given a church had a Calvinistic bent, what modifications to normal Reformed polity or procedures or peripheral dogmas do you feel would give it half a chance of NOT being abusive? Keep in mind that there are plenty of Reformed churches with congregational, presbyterian, and episcopal forms of government. So, just about every flavor of polity is covered.

    Complementarianism is really not a peripheral issue for Evangelical forms of Calvinism. Scripture cannot be dodged, and sheer egalitarianism cannot be upheld biblically without fudging contexts quite a lot. That said, there are forms of complementarianism that come precariously close to egalitarianism (and conversely, forms which are nothing more than rank patriarchalism in disguise).

    What forms could church discipline take? Most churches which try to do anything at all are excoriated roundly for doing so. In this day and age, people are supposed to he left alone. The problem with that is that the Bible is not a modern document, and it never got the memo.

    I know everybody likes to think that adapting Scripture to to contemporary society is a harmless little compromise. Again, the problem is that Scripture purports to be divine revelation. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If divine revelation changes to conform with modern thought and sensibilities, it is no longer divine revelation. (Instead, it would be, as Barth maintained, merely the testimony of man concerning his experience with God. God is all great and wise and wonderful and everything, but mankind’s record of Him and His actions and His message might be slightly askew.)

    What should church communication look like? Should there be any restrictions set in place? (The YRR church I spoke of had a rule that no one could speak ill of the leadership…or pass on to others, or ruminate on, any complaints against them. I’m guessing they just wanted to nip harmful gossip in the bud, but it raised a huge red flag for my wife and me.)

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  10. Dave–

    In any dialogue there is going to be disagreement, and the side being disagreed with is going to see that as negative. So negativity cannot be avoided.

    The problem with derisiveness is that, even though everybody will object to its use, nobody agrees on its parameters. What one side considers derisive, the other side considers merely negative…and vice versa.

    Do an experiment with yourself. Let’s say you’re conservative politically. Listen to Al Franken and gauge how angry he makes you. Then listen to Rush Limbaugh and see how much he has you nodding in agreement. Both have about the same level of derisiveness toward the other side. But liberals will listen to Rush and want to tear their hair out, whereas Franken will get them nodding furiously.

    When you’re listening to someone you agree with, it can be tough to hear the derisiveness.

    Does derisiveness constitute abuse? I would guess it would depend on the circumstances and the sharpness of the rhetoric. We all agree that verbal disparagement CAN rise to the level of abuse. It’s hard to call much of anything that transpires on the internet abuse. We have no relationships with one another. Our skins are way too thin when we put stock in whatever a complete stranger may say about us.

    But many of us are vulnerable in one way or another. Look at what happened to Ergun Caner’s kid! Simply tragic. I don’t think anyone knew what kind of a mental state this young man was in, so in a way, I can’t blame anyone too terribly much for that (though he WAS just a kid). But the relentless pursuit of his father–whatever his flaws–was ungodly! James White’s contribution to the suicide may have been indirect, but he may have been more culpable overall than that pastor from Montana.

    At any rate, I haven’t been abused here. But my opposition’s derision of me and my cause has gone unseen and unheard.

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  11. Hans, I met my husband in an online discussion group and my best friend and several close friends in an online chat room. My best friend and her husband are raising their grandchild. Since there is no one else in their family who is well enough to do so, my husband and I have agreed to raise the grandchild if something happens to them. My husband and I were sent a backup medical power of attorney from an online friend in the event he cannot speak for himself and his wife is dead or incapacitated. So meaningful Internet relationships have been the norm for me for the last 17 years.

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  12. Marsha–

    That’s so cool. It certainly can happen. (I didn’t mean to imply that it couldn’t!) One of my best friends met her husband online, but I think it was in a forum set aside for people with a shared interest to meet…they’re both into antiquing.

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  13. “Complementarians read their personal preferences and American culture into the biblical text.”

    Not to mention their misogyny. But what would anybody expect? Narcissistic/sociopathic “Christians” have to treat others (what better targets than women?) as less-thans in order to feel good about themselves. They indulge a totally corrupt reading of Scripture. Even the English translations can’t be trusted.

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  14. Lydia (and others) may be interested in knowing that one of the comments under the article to which Daisy links states “Complementarian commentaries on these verses show no awareness of the most common uses of authentein in light of recent findings of over 300 uses of the word in Greek literature.” Apparently these new-found instances of authentein confirm that it is a theological corruption of the very word of God to translate authentein as “exercise authority” rather than as “usurp authority.”

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  15. Hans, who engages in the deceptive use of aliases, asks “Given a church had a Calvinistic bent, what modifications to normal Reformed polity or procedures or peripheral dogmas do you feel would give it half a chance of NOT being abusive?”

    Well, that would take a book. The first chapters might well need to be dedicated to the question of whether what Hans/Eric/?? calls church has any actual Scriptural basis (the isn’t any). Beyond that, I say subject every proposed pastor, teacher, evangelist, deacon, elder, and leader of whatsoever nature to a psycho-sexual examination to assure that they are neither psychopathic/sociopathic, narcissistic, nor given to sexual predation. Subject them to a lie detector test to obtain at least some assurance that they are not engaged in the use of pornography, excesive alcohol, illicit drugs or other morally reprehensible activity.

    Then abandon the recognition of offices. There is no Greek word for “office” in the New Testament. “Service” or “ministry” if some English word must be inserted where there is not Greek equivalent, but never “office.”

    Require that any such “church” dissolve it’s man-made corporate or other entity existence. Provide that contributions will NOT be tax deductible. Prohibit the ownership of property, especially real estate.

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  16. Never, ever, assign responsibility on the basis of academic qualification. An exception may be made for those those academics who, like Saul/Paul, have been crushed by our Lord. Janitors and fishermen are more qualified to serve than an unbroken academic.

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  17. Gary, when I was researching the word authentein years back and ran across Chrysostom writing that a “man should not authentein his wife” I was amazed. I knew the word had been redefined over the centuries (ironically as women gained rights) because even Calvin translated it as “domineer” which is at least closer to it’s sinister meaning.

    But that whole passage is a one sided convo that without historical context actually means women must bear children to be saved. And we know that cannot be true and what they do with that part is really an exercise in stretching the imagination. If they started with the fertility cult in the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, it would be no surprise that Paul felt the need to even mention Eve was not created first or make a word play on being saved by “the childbearing” of Messiah..

    So when they trot out such pious remarks as: ‘scripture cannot be dodged” or you just don’t like what the bible teaches, etc, one has to realize what they are dealing with. As a mutualist, I do not believe God has “special” people or people who are more “important”. I believe He often uses what looks to be simple and lowly to show us serious wisdom. I do not believe penis’ are automatically more “spiritual” than vaginas. Which is really what this is all about. God conferring some sort of status on the penis. That is phallocentristic Christiantiy. That is what comp is all about. (See JA, I got over my squeamishness writing the word, too)

    I am trying to figure out how/when Jesus Christ implemented a pink and blue Christianity. There are no prohibitions to women leading or teaching men in the OT even though they were living in a sin induced patriarchal society that was not intended by God. So when did the new law for the NC come about?

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  18. Require that all gatherings of believers be face-to-face and interactive. Absolutely abandon the pagan practice of a man regularly climbing onto a stage, hiding behind a lecturn, and subjecting a passive crowd to speech-making.

    Encourage giving, but not to an organization, and never ever under compulsion. (As a practical matter I could consent to pay an OT tithe, which was payable in kind, and only on the produce of the ground. I would gladly deliver 1/10 of my grass clippings, spiders, beetles, weeds, and such like. I would have to suffer whatever penalty would be associated with my reluctance to entrust any of my beloved cats to the ecclesiastical authorities who, in my experience, for whatever reason, seem to have a decided preference for dogs.)

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  19. Seeing as scripture gives us no offical structural model we can discern a few things:

    Jesus saw the Gentile model as sinful. That would be what we know in the West as “leadership”. The Roman military model and chain of being as in “most important to least important” in status. Jesus said NO to this. We keep trying to make it fit using all sort of tactics like “servant leadership” and “plurality of elders”, etc. My contention is that if we are serious, we will gravitate to those “mature in the faith”. It might be old Mrs Wilson or the janitor..

    We do know that in John’s Revelation, he was told that :

    6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

    15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

    So, we know that Nicolatian means “conqueror of the people” and that is a horrible thing. (This is one reason NOT to be envious of the celebrity Christians making bank off Jesus) Are people following a mere human leader instead of Jesus Christ? How would they know…. if …….their paradigm is the typical thinking today, “adults need leaders”?

    If so, that is a big problem. It is one thing to learn from someone and move on…mature. (That is basically how “pastoring” works in its intended defintion) But it is quite another to yoke yourself to a “leader” week after week for years. Jesus came to set people free from that “earthly mediator” thinking so they could grow, get rid of the burdens placed on them by such people, etc. And our institutions are often modeled on the hierarchical structure that was not what Jesus Christ intended for the Body. I mean, where is it clear we must meet once a week and “hear a sermon from one man behind a pulpit whether plexiglass or not”?

    There are other passages I won’t go into there which give us a glimpse into this confusing messy thing called Christianity we are do together if we can. It is not like anything else out there so we have to make it fit some model. And, We cannot ignore all the “one anothers” that apply to everyone in the Body and fit right into those pesky “polity” questions. Cannot be ignored even by lofty “elders” (In name only)

    I guess what concerns me in the big picture of all of this is how people are so willing to turn over not only their spiritual growth to another person like a pastor/elder but also their personal choices and decisions to goverment leaders. Where are all the “adults” anymore? Why check your brains at the door of the church and turn over your independence and choices to government bureaucrats?

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  20. “Require that all gatherings of believers be face-to-face and interactive. Absolutely abandon the pagan practice of a man regularly climbing onto a stage, hiding behind a lecturn, and subjecting a passive crowd to speech-making.”

    Yes, no oratory unless it is a scholarly presentation of sorts. I can make allowances for that so the speaker can get through the main points. But always have a q &a.

    Those preaching/teaching need to be subjected to unvetted questions. It needs to be interactive instead of indoctrination or entertainment. So much of it today is entertaining oratory or even the emotionalism of guys of Piper and Mahaney. Where people buy into it becuase of “how” it is delievered instead of seeking truth. We should always be seeking truth and truth is often disguised as common sense.

    It has gotten to the point here that when I was still subjecting myself to listening to sermons I could pin poin who they were temulating/copying whether it was Driscoll, Mahaney, Piper, etc. . There is so much of that giong on it is nauseous. And now many YRR are insisting (as taught by Ed Setzer) that they should ONLY preach. No pastoring. No funerals, weddings, hospital stuff. Stay away from people and only prepare sermons. This really sets them apart and you often hear from that mvoement: The message is the most important event of the week. Now, you tell me how a young guy can believe this about himself without becoming an entitled young jerk? So they become highly paid orators. Just like they had in the Pagan Roman temples converted to “churches” when Christianity became legal.

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  21. Gary, I think it is a stretch to have “paid” staff in the Body of Christ. The money we hear about in the NT was going to those “sent out” ones mainly for travel expenses. Payment often took place as hospitality. There was also the money taken up for the Jerusalem church which was being persecuted. Paul talks about paying the ox but it is an honor thing as in they put in this time for nothing so honor them. I think the larger message is that Paul made tents so he would not be a burden to others. Acts 20 is a chilling passage and one we must look to so as not to be sucked in by wolves dressed as “elders”.

    I do not believe the Tithe system is for the New Covenant. And anyway, it would be more like 23% But who would go for that?
    The 10%, I think, was the temple upkeep money. Anyway poor people were exempt in the OT. IN fact some of the tithe was FOR them. Funny how it is all backwards today even though they want to promote a “tithe” system. At least get it right.

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  22. I am familiar with “straight talk to pastors” but from my pov he has gone down the celebrity Christian route and is about selling books and diong conferences.

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  23. As far as people posting under multiple names – I have done so. However, I do so for safety reasons. I have been cyber stalked before, and it’s un nerving. The first time was about ten years ago.

    I was a moderator at different forums, and I owned a few web sites at that point, and some of these sites/forums had two or three of my e-mail addresses public.

    Even though I cut off all contact with the stalker, (even after like six, seven years), this nutso was sending me taunting e-mails. When he get no response from e mail address # one, he would try another one of my public addresses. I used to post under my real name, too. My actual, legal name. So he tried contacting me at my old place of employment as well.

    More recently, a different guy was following me around different blogs, social media, etc. I at one time commented on a blog where he was one of the moderators. Though my e-mail was not public, as a moderator, he could see it (because the blog required a valid e-mail to post, but is was visible only to the moderators). He started e-mailing me – unsolicited, I never asked him to e mail me, nor did I e mail him. He then started following me around one of my social media accounts (that is public).

    The fact that I post under other names on different sites makes it a tad harder for these obsessive weirdos to follow me around. When I use other names, I do not mean to be deceptive – it’s not malicious.

    Also!! I do not “sock puppet” myself, and my opinions are always consisten regardless of whatever handle I’m using. That is, when I post as “missdaisyflower” I do not agree with gender complementarianism or calvinism, for instance.

    If I were to post as “Jane Smith,” or whatever other name, I would still disagree with gender complementarianism and calvinism. I don’t adopt other views under other names.

    I also do not log in as “missdaisyflower” and say, “I believe in X because blah blah blah,” and then log in later as “Jane Doe” and say to myself, “Missdaisyflower, you are so great, I think you are right about that.” -I don’t sock puppet.

    I only post under other names for reasons like not wanting to be easier to track by lunatics, and so on – I don’t post under other names to mess with people or to create problems for moderators.

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  24. I have posted under another name when I want to be anonymous. Before my lawsuit, I only used pseudonyms. On my first blog where I was telling my story at BGBC, I went by a pseudonym until “Pastor” Chuck O’Neal’s lawsuit against me. Then I decided that since it went public, that I was just going to put my big girl panties on and deal with it publicly. I have nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of.

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  25. Julie Anne

    I just saw an image on facebook of gargantuan girl undies pretty scary looking. Kind of makes me want to crawl under rock at the thought seeing or hearing about it.

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  26. Thinking to save all of you, and recognizing that there is no other name than John Calvin through which we must be saved, I have come here in many guises, hoping beyond hope that some might be won. Endeavoring to warn against the dangerous folly of unholy alliances, I came as RD. Desiring to enlighten as to the monergisc nature of man’s relationship to the Godhead, that doctrine the embracing of which is essential to our salvation, I came as somebody whose alias I no longer recall, although I am astounded that none would receive even the wisdom of a veteran of the Vietnam war. I came as Brian Thornton and Kevin and Martin Selbrede and oh so many others. Finally, I came as Hans, thinking that surely you would respond to my superior intellect, which I so effectively projected through him. In return, I have only been subjected, providentially, to soul crushing derision. (To the glory of God, of course.)

    Yet I did not rely on only my attempts to enlighten as to the manifest truth of the only and preeminent J.C. (John Calvin). I thought to expose the manifest folly of opposing the one true and necessary salvic theolatry, er, I mean theology, of the faithful and saving Son of Geneva. I did so by speaking as chapmanEd, Headless Unicorn Guy, Cindy K, lydiasellerofpurple (who may or may not be one and the same as lydia), An Attorney, and oh so many others. I even came as A. Amos Love who only knows how to quote Scripture. As ones without eyes to see or ears to hear, you would not see the folly I so effectively illustrated through such misguided ones.

    Having come, having been rejected, having been unjustly condemned for the good and holy Divine Deception involved in my use of many aliases, I now leave you, shaking the dust off my sandals. Others may now adopt my various names. May these others, who are possessed of less wisdom than myself, continue the good fight to better effect. For purposes of continuing to illustrate folly and absurdity, I reserve to myself only the name of Julie Anne.

    John Piper, a/k/a . . .

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  27. BeenThereDoneThat,

    Thank you dearest sock puppet for acknowledging my self-evident brilliance. You humble me. As was said of Moses at Numbers 12:3, you make me very meek, more meek than all people on the face of the earth.

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  28. BTW, thanks Hans for your reply. There certainly can be abuse in the Internet environment, as your example of the Caners and Miss daisy flower’s own experience illustrate. Mr Kershaw came close, at least, to Internet abuse in his treatment of commenters. But it’s usually easier to flee Internet negativity or derision (not the same as abuse) by simply choosing to stop visiting a particular website. I can’t stand listening to either Al or Rush, so I don’t tune in.

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  29. Gary er uh Pastor Peeper: I lovvvve how you shook the dust off your sandals, and then immediately commented further! Well, back to lurking. Nearly impossible to comment on this thread with my current devices and shoddy Internet connection.

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  30. Ah, thank you “Dave A A” for affording Us the opportunity to congratulate Ourselves. We denizens of the Kingdom of Narcissia are quite justly proud of our ability to punish by withholding our glorious presence, while at the same time never actually going away.

    Of course, I/You/We will recognize that in the present instance this process of shunning-and-stalking is not at all the dynamic that is in play. It is simply that, through the device of Our many aliases, I/You/We am/are speaking to the most intelligent Person present. I am speaking to MYSELF. Soli Deo gloria.

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  31. Mark–

    Somebody rediscovered their long forgotten stash of cheap rot gut and imbibed a bit too much, I’m afraid. Hopefully, they’ll be feeling better in a couple of days. Wouldn’t count on it though….

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  32. Hans,

    Yeah things can get a little cloudy sometimes. Our last dialogue we had you were in the middle of an exchange with others at the same time and you never did respond to my September 15, 4:38 pm comment. (in particular my Free Will comment)

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  33. Mark–

    If you are so intent on keeping out of your adult children’s business to ensure their right to “free will” loving relationships, then why are you in my business? You don’t want me to nudge them, but you can nudge me?

    Influencing others for good in no way disrupts their free rights. Where did you ever get such a notion?

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  34. Hans,

    When you make a statement that isolates my opinion even though you are equally nudging your views on me and than assert that I’m the one doing the nudging and then fail to recognize it, makes my question your relevance.

    In my previous dialogues with you, I actually thought you were more sincere than this.

    I have accepted correction when I have put myself in gotcha situations, very humbling experience,

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  35. (part 1)
    There has been at least one person on Spiritual Sounding Board who said after they had been abused (perhaps sexually assaulted, I think they said), they had Calvinist preachers or persons tell them things like God foreordained their abuse for their own good or for whatever purpose.

    This person said this was a very troubling view (I don’t blame them, I find this perverse as well), and that this view almost caused them to give up belief in God altogether.

    Someone at WW blog recommended a book to me about 2 or 3 weeks ago, which I got in the mail a few days ago and finished reading, and I thought it might benefit some of the readers here.

    The book is mainly about shame, and how some Christians, families or churches will shame you and urge you to repress your feelings and needs, and how they will pressure you to pretend as though you don’t have any pains or problems, even though you do.

    There is at least one chapter pertaining to the topic of spiritual abuse in particular, and the book, in parts, briefly discusses domestic abuse, as well as the issue of boundaries.

    I thought the person who posted many months ago (I do not remember the exact thread, sorry) that Calvinists told her that God foreordained her abuse might find this book useful.

    The book: Tired of Trying to Measure Up by Jeff VanVonderen (Christian counselor)

    I’ll type up part of it here, page 185:

    (by Jeff VanVonderen)

    I’ve talked to many Christians who have been told that the terrible things that happened to them were God’s way of teaching them some spiritual lesson or truth.

    He’s made them sick, or allowed them to be raped, or put them in an abusive family to draw them closer to himself.

    This is a lie, and it is extremely damaging to a person. It is merely a way to put a spiritual twist to a perverted message. (“You are defective – and God allowed people to sin against you for some higher purpose that you cannot comprehend.”)

    God can and does rescue us from terrible situations.

    Satan’s job is to lie, steal, accuse, bind up, or weigh people down any way he can.

    Don’t make the mistake of blaming God for what people have done against you, or for the lies that Satan promotes.

    (end of part 1, I’d like to add more thoughts about the book in a part 2 below).

    Liked by 1 person

  36. (part 2, Regarding the book: “Tired of Trying to Measure Up” by a Christian counselor)

    The author also goes on to explain that while God can instantly cure someone of pain (emotional pain) and shame (which he claims he’s seen a time or two), that more often than not, the healing is done via counseling, or talking with concerned friends, and it is a PROCESS. It can take weeks, months, or years before someone is healed.

    I am so glad this guy mentioned that healing is a process for most people.

    Too often, the Christian TV programs I’ve seen (or blogs) almost always present a story of someone who had some kind of problem (physical health, mental health, relationship, financial) and two seconds after that person prayed, he (or she) was instantly cured or delivered, and supernaturally, with zero effort on this part (i.e, the healing was 100% supernatural, all God). I find that very depressing.

    I personally have prayed many years for two or three things that have still not come to pass. I prayed for months for a sick family member of mine, who ended up dying anyway.

    But this book author acknowledges that healing can take months or years, or may be over a life time. Not everyone gets a supernatural, instant deliverance from whatever their struggle is.
    For me to see a Christian admit that is so very rare, but it is very true and honest and needs to be mentioned far more often than it is.

    This book also gets into analyzing shame-based churches and families. The author talks about how most of these shame-based environs have a “Can’t Talk” rule.

    Describing the “Can’t Talk” rule (how it is thought of by those who enforce it), the author writes:

    “There really aren’t any problems here. If you think there is a problem, you are the problem.”

    …. It’s as if naming a problem out loud caused the problem to exist, which of course, is not true.

    Individuals in this kind of system [and it can be a family, a church, or job] learn not to bring up a problem or question for fear of making waves.

    That sounds like my family.

    My family, especially my father’s side, seem to think it’s shameful or disgraceful to talk about any pain or problems you’re having.

    If you try to approach any of my family (especially my dad’s side) for emotional help, they basically tell you to stuff it down, ignore it, go throw yourself into some busy work (like volunteer work).

    That is not my style of how I handle problems, so I cannot relate to my family on that and find it extremely frustrating.

    As the book says, if you are not allowed to talk about your problems, you’ll never be able to solve your problems. You have to be permitted to talk about what’s wrong and hurting, to ever be able to recover from it.

    I bet for a lot of blog readers here, all that may remind you of your spiritually abusive church. You were probably scolded by preachers or other church leaders or persons for merely mentioning problems you had yourself, or that you saw in your church.

    The book again is
    Tired of Trying to Measure Up by Jeff VanVonderen (Christian counselor),

    And you can preview a few chapters from it on Google Books here:
    _Book Preview: Tired of Trying to Measure Up_

    The book also gets into how trying harder to be a better Christian, or to get over your feelings of shame and pain, is just keeping you on a works-based treadmill that will leave you exhausted and frustrated, it won’t work.

    He offers solutions towards the back of the book on how to recover.

    Even if the book didn’t have proposed solutions, just having this guy acknowledge and describe the myriad ways Christians mess up Christians in pain was worth its weight in gold.

    I found myself nodding in agreement to like, 98% of the book going to myself:

    “Yes, oh yes, my family has done this to me many times…. oh yeah, this part of the book?

    Yeah, I’ve had Christians lecture me to do that too, and some shame me about coming to them, admitting I have problems,

    …and the Christians who shamed me over this stuff made me feel worse, not better…

    ..and this page, yep, been there too. Went to other Christians just wanting empathy over my grief or emotional pain and was instead given a list of stuff to do (read the Bible daily, go volunteer at a soup kitchen, pray more) instead.”

    In my opinion, this is a huge, huge problem among most Christians today.

    They do NOT want to get real and deal with people and their problems as they truly are. Partly because it is messy and time consuming to help people with their problems.
    A lot of those sorts of churches and Christians want to “play” church, not “be” the church.

    People are seriously hurting for many different reasons, but if they go to most churches for help of any sort, they are shamed or pressured into keeping queit about it.

    Hurting people are pressured by churches to put on a fake smile and pretty facade and act like they are fine, when on the inside they feel dead, or are hurting.

    Then they are expected (by church people or certain types of Christians) to volunteer, and to help others get their needs met.

    That last one really burns me up.

    Since my mother passed away, I’ve been running on empty. I’ve needed someone who is in an Okay place in life to help me in my pain, but every time I’ve gone to other Christians (in real life), they scold me and shame me to ignore my own needs and pain and they advise me to run around helping other people.

    The problem with that is that I have had nothing to give the last few years.

    If we were cars, I would say I have no fuel in my tank, but I’m being asked by Christians to drive around giving other cars fuel. I don’t have any to give! I’ve been running on empty myself.

    This book kind of gets into that, too.

    It’s very, very refreshing to see a Christian author bring these subjects up, because in most Christians / churches, this stuff is unspoken, and you will be chewed out or shamed for bringing it up, that you have problems, or that most Christians suck dirt clods at really, truly helping hurting people in a meaningful way.

    One thing that is kind of sad. Unless my eyes deceive me, the inside cover of my copy of this book says the book was first published around 1989.

    We’re in 2015 now. Every Christian in America should read this guy’s book.

    It’s sad how things are still humming along the same way now that they were when this guy wrote this book in 1989. Churches and Christian families in 89 were shaming people for having pain, and they are STILL doing so now in 2015.

    Like

  37. You’re welcome, Julie Anne.

    That book covers so many subjects that trouble so many Christians today.

    You could probably get weeks’ worth of blog posts out of it, that many would find helpful.

    There is a guy over at the other blog, a Christian guy, who disdains the idea of Christians using psychology or psychiatry, even the Christian versions of that stuff.

    Now, I’m not a supporter of Christian counseling like Nouthetic Counseling, which basically just victim-blames hurting people and tells them to go read their Bible some more.

    However, some Christian counselors, like the guy who wrote this book, and a few others I’ve seen, knows his stuff.

    But like that guy at the other blog who shames, scolds, or warns abuse victims or other hurting Christians from seeing or using (qualified, not quacks, like Nouthetic counselors) Christian therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc, there are many other Christians who do the same thing as that guy.
    They shame or lecture hurting Christians into staying away from therapy or psychiatry, things that could actually help them get past the pain once for all, or help them cope way better and live happier lives.

    I have found books like this one by VanVonderen (or books by Christians such as Cloud and Townsend) a billion times more liberating and helpful than the Christian scolds out there who just tell you for the billionth time on these blogs or Christian shows to “go read your Bible, trust in God, and go to church regularly!”

    I’m convinced this is a very, very big problem in Christianity, that so many hurting Christians are not getting very real, useful help, due to other Christians who are paranoid against any and all (or most) Christian or Non-Christian counseling.

    I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was a kid, and I’ve had anxiety since I was a kid, and that started back in the 1980s.

    Even as far back as back then, I was hearing, reading, or seeing Christians I knew personally, or authors in books I read, or preachers on TV, shaming people like me, saying the depression or anxiety was my own fault, that if I wanted it to go away, to just read the Bible more, pray daily, do not use psychologists, do not take medication for anxiety but trust in God, etc.

    I’m still seeing this same unhelpful, terrible advice being given today to hurting Christians, whether they are Christians who have depression, anxiety, women who are in (or who left) abusive marriages, people who have been spiritually abused by churches, or what have you, that I’ve been seeing from Christians since the 1980s.

    Christians who are hurting need to hear it’s okay to see a good, qualified counselor and/or take medications, or to talk over their problems with an empathetic friend.

    You can pray and read the Bible and stuff, but healing is really going to come primarily through having your pain validated by other (empathetic) people which may just be an understanding friend who won’t judge you when you get vulnerable, or it may mean seeing a qualified psychologist or therapist.

    Authors Cloud and Townsend actually expend a lot of time explaining why that is so in one of their books – I’ve read 2 or 3 of their books.

    They say you really need to be around other people and talk to them about your problems (people who you can trust!) to really work your way through or over problems in your life, that dealing with the pain alone, or only on God (as most anti- counseling Christians advise – by just praying or reading your Bible), is not going to help.

    It’s bad enough people are hurting, and are being hurt, by abusive churches, spouses, bosses, or from whomever or whatever (maybe they have depression like I did), but IMO, it’s ten times worse when they go to another Christian or a church for help with these issues and are then basically scolded, lectured, or shamed, for even admitting they have a problem or pain to start with.

    I also find this hypocritical:

    The same legalistic churches that bray and scream about church membership-

    The pastors and churches who shame you into thinking you MUST attend a local church building every Sunday, and they hound you to sign membership agreements, and they complain about “Lone Ranger” Christians who try to live the Christian life alone-

    Are sometimes the very same churches who, if you go to them with a pain or problem, they tell you to deal with it on YOUR OWN.

    Just go back home and pray more and read your Bible, but don’t count on the people at church to help you. Don’t expect the preacher to meet with you, pray with you, don’t expect the church to pay for groceries or mow your lawn while you are sick or unemployed.

    No sir, if you have a problem, these “you must attend a local church regularly and be a member of one” Pharisees are sometimes the same churches that are like, “But if you have a problem in life, you are on your own, pal, don’t look to us to actually do anything to assist you.”

    Those types of churches really want it both ways. They want you to plant your behind in a pew every week and give them money and want you to be a team player, but all that team player stuff flies out the window if you need that church to help you with some problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Daisy@DECEMBER 20, 2015 @ 7:58 AM

    “There has been at least one person on Spiritual Sounding Board who said after they had been abused (perhaps sexually assaulted, I think they said), they had Calvinist preachers or persons tell them things like God foreordained their abuse for their own good or for whatever purpose.
    This person said this was a very troubling view (I don’t blame them, I find this perverse as well), and that this view almost caused them to give up belief in God altogether.”

    O, Daisy! God bless you for taking the time to write and share all this important information. When I read what you wrote in your opening statement about “one person” I immediately thought of someone who use to comment here. I sent her an e-mail with the message: I BELIEVE DAISY IS TALKING ABOUT YOU. I shared what you wrote here, and asked her if I could let you know, that she read what you wrote. She said Wow & Yes and that she will write more to me later. She has become a dear friend over the last year & a half via e-mail. You have made my day, what a memory you have!

    I too was told point blank by my X pastor that I needed to give God thanks for being sexually abused as a child. Hear me, he didn’t say for me to give thanks, for how God might bring some beauty from ashes to another victim of abuse, he said I needed to give thanks for being raped as a child. We had a fight, to say the least.

    Next Sunday he preaches on giving God thanks for everything. (Even after I told him if that is the case, give thanks for everything, then I guess I should be telling the that women I mentored to give thanks for their abortions or affairs.

    He closed his sermon with this: Some of you will refuse to give God thanks for your abuse, and that could be the reason you are not healed yet, those who refuse to give thanks are spitting on the authority of the scriptures, and he actually spit. What a jerk, can’t believe I hung on his every word for years. I am done with church, guilt free today. Thank God. Merry Christmas Daisy. Thanks for remembering my friend and all the other souls who have been told this crap.

    Liked by 4 people

  39. @ gm370
    DECEMBER 20, 2015 @ 4:11 PM

    You’re welcome. I’m glad that you and your friend found that helpful.

    I couldn’t remember exactly who first brought this subject up, of Christians telling them to consider their childhood abuse as having been planned by God. I just remembered a person or two brought it up here about a year or more ago.

    Credit goes to “Victorious” (poster at the other blog) for making me aware of that book, “Tired of Trying to Measure Up”. 🙂

    Your preacher sounds like an insensitive jackass who has totally distorted what the Bible says. I am glad you had the courage to confront him and later leave when he demonstrated he wasn’t going to apologize or change.

    I think he has an incorrect and twisted, demented interpretation of biblical passages. He’s hurting people, not helping them.

    Merry Christmas to you as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Oh, Daisy, I can relate so much to everything you wrote! I will be reading this book, looking forward to it.

    You really put your finger on a core issue – that the church guilts you into being a member and giving your all in its service but when you have needs- yes, you are the selfish one, and you are on your own. Not all churches, but as you say, many do this. And it strikes me that so much of the time all a person really needs is someone to listen. Someone who cares and listens! All it really takes is time and a caring ear and yet that is too much to ask.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. I had a former pastor, who was actually a very good Bible teacher, who believed in this idea that we are supposed to give thanks not just in but “for” everything. I cannot accept that. It is masochistic and just… weird.

    Like

  42. Daisy, if this goes through: Don’t know for sure, but you might be referring to me, since I used to rant and rave a lot about that terrible, soul-crushing lie, before I left here with my heart feeling utterly spit upon. I don’t read here anymore, and probably won’t check back, but want to thank you personally for bothering to leave that comment, and for what you shared by Jeff VanVonderen. It actually means a whole lot to me that you did! So, thank you, whether you were referring to me or not. I know very little about Jeff, but will be sure to look him up, along with his book.

    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  43. I am deeply humbled at the Body of Christ ministering to one another here, as Daisy says, “being the church.”

    This is exactly what JESUS calls us to do and my spirit is deeply moved as compassion, empathy, and love are shown to the hurting and downtrodden, here on this blog. This is a ministry that I have NEVER witnessed in the 501c. 3 church, NEVER.

    Oasis, please know that you are missed here. I, for one, am at a loss not seeing the valuable wisdom you have offered here in ministering to others who are hurting. You have ministered to me in a very personal way due to the fact that one of my best friends was violently beaten and raped because we chose to make some unwise decisions involving alcohol, leading to a pregnancy, then an abortion. So sorry, so very, very sorry for all of the pain.

    I love you Oasis, from the pit of my broken heart, fully knowing that Jesus loves you/us more. Missing you.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. I am weeping, you gals are are precious. Katy, beautiful words to Oasis. Oasis, you are missed and loved. Thanks again Daisy, I haven’t bought anything Christian, especially books in 10 years or so, but I will buy this one. Love, Gail

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Oasis, it’s so good to hear from you. I’m very sorry that you were hurt here. Your story opened my eyes to the spiritual abuse I had been dealt because of the “soul-crushing lie.” It was like finding the missing piece of a large jigsaw puzzle. Thank you for speaking out. You have been missed here.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Oasis, I’m glad if the stuff from the book I copied above helped you in any way.

    I hope you reconsider and drop by here from time to time. 🙂

    Sometimes if I have problems with a person (or group of persons) on a blog or forum, I just take a vacation. I stay away from that site for a few days or weeks and come back. That usually helps.

    One other book I have that I’ve read several times in the last few years (you can probably get a used copy on Amazon .com) is by Christian psychiatrists Henry Cloud and John Townsend, and it is called
    12 “Christian” Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy: Relief From False Assumptions

    (Shy1 you may like this book too)

    You can read some sample chapters for free on Google books:
    _12 “Christian” Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy: Relief From False Assumptions_

    These types of books dispel the Christian myths that it’s wrong or selfish to have needs or hurt feelings, or that you’re supposed to get over pain instantly, or go it alone, and to use only prayer or Bible reading to get by.

    Outside of these few books and maybe a few Christian blogs I’ve seen here and there, I’m not seeing many Christians acknowledge this stuff. Most of them teach the opposite, or they shame people for having problems or needs.

    One of the single most annoying Christian cliches (that I think is totally untrue) that I’ve heard constantly over my life is:
    “You go to church to serve, not be served.”

    I think that is a falsehood. I think it’s a both/and not either/or situation. That expression is another shame-based tactic that conveys you should stuff your own pain and needs down.

    I think if you’re in a healthy place in your life and you can help and serve other people, sure, go ahead. But there are times in your life when you will be too much in pain, or too empty, and you are the one who needs to be ministered to. But a lot of Christians don’t want to admit to that.

    Liked by 3 people

  47. Katy, Gail showed me what you said, so I had to run back here and embarrass myself once more! WOW! I had absolutely no idea that anyone would ever think or say anything like what you did…stunned over here.

    Been kicking myself ever since I posted that comment earlier, thinking I didn’t properly thank Daisy, or thank her enough, because I held back at the time, not wanting to overdo it and scare her. But that was a stupid idea. Daisy, thank you for hearing me! To think that at least one person on the planet actually heard me? Remembered my cries? Really?! Then you stop by with that beautiful comment, which was so very timely… I still have to hold back because my thankfulness knows no bounds.

    And now Katy says this? What? I actually ministered to someone? Thanks for letting me know, Katy! So very glad…but for your friend, so steaming angry! The pain never ends for me, but hopefully she will fare much better in life. Thanks for your very kind words. From one broken heart to another, love you right back!

    Julie Anne, very welcome for that.

    Liked by 3 people

  48. Yes, Daisy, seeing or hearing the kind of language Jeff is speaking in your comment, is always, always, always helpful and uplifting. Can’t possibly put into words how much I love it.

    “Christian” beliefs that can drive you crazy. Oh, don’t get me started!.. 🙂

    Reconsider and drop by, you say…ah, don’t tempt me, haha…

    Liked by 1 person

  49. I believe all who love you Oasis, would help me roll out the red carpet for you to chime in here now & then. No pressure, hehe, your voice is wise, sassy, hilarious and you have been a gift to me from above. I know, you are blushing right now. Sorry, not sorry. ( ;

    Liked by 2 people

  50. Daisy: “Your preacher sounds like an insensitive jackass who has totally distorted what the Bible says. I am glad you had the courage to confront him and later leave when he demonstrated he wasn’t going to apologize or change.
    I think he has an incorrect and twisted, demented interpretation of biblical passages. He’s hurting people, not helping them.”

    I love what you said ^ Daisy, you kinda nailed it here.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. Gary W. FWIW, Your voice & words to me, way back in the day, impacted me in a profound way. Along with A. Amos Love.
    Love that you are glad that Oasis checked in. She is the real deal. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. @ Oasis,

    Been kicking myself ever since I posted that comment earlier, thinking I didn’t properly thank Daisy, or thank her enough, because I held back at the time, not wanting to overdo it and scare her. But that was a stupid idea. Daisy, thank you for hearing me! To think that at least one person on the planet actually heard me? Remembered my cries? Really?! Then you stop by with that beautiful comment, which was so very timely… I still have to hold back because my thankfulness knows no bounds.

    Yes, I remembered. 🙂

    When I was reading that book this past week, and I saw the author mention that, I remembered someone from here had struggled with that view, and I thought maybe that author’s words could help that person, or anyone else who may have faced that.

    I’m sorry I didn’t remember it was you specifically, but I knew if was someone on this blog.

    You are very welcome. Here is a cyber hug for you (((( hug )))) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  53. Oh, hi, Gary!

    Gail, you are way too kind with the compliments, woman. 🙂

    Daisy, no problem whatsoever. You remembered what matters most, and your hunch about those words from Jeff being helpful was spot on. 🙂 (((( hug back ))))

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Julie Anne, I don’t want to offend anyone with this. Don’t read if you are offended by swear words, or *** Trigger warning, strong language. Sorry for going off thread.

    Dear Daisy, I have appreciated your posts over the years, and want to dedicate this to you. Daisy, I am sick with sorry how you treated by Christians when your mama died, the people that should have rallied around you failed you miserably. Shame on them, the so called Christians. I will remember you in my thoughts on Christmas Eve & Christmas day. I know the holidays increase the ache of missing our loved ones.

    The Tears of Our Love, Bleeding, by Tim Lawerence

    DECEMBER 22, 2015
    Your world has stopped.

    Something has happened. The something that should never happen. They’re gone. They’ve been taken from you.

    No matter how secure you felt in yourself before, you feel alone. Devastated. Helpless.

    The pain. The aching, numbing, pain. Everywhere, so much of it. It’s all around you. People are trying to help, but their interventions are like intrusive mechanisms of control. They need you to be better so that they can stop feeling unpleasant.

    But you know this is not to be. This is not how grief works. Your loved one is gone, and you know that the suppression of your love via the masking of your pains would be catastrophic.

    You see, you already know that you’re not going to find closure. You’re not going to move through the five stages of grief, as if grief were a problem with a linear prescription. You’re not going to let go.

    And, no, you’re not going to live happily ever after. Because that is a delusion perpetuated by those who do not want to be uncomfortable with you in your pain. There is no happily ever after, there is only the ever after. What happens in that ever after is complex, messy, tender, and yes, happy. Our lives are a series of movements. The love and the grace and the pain and the thousands upon thousands of wails, it’s all there. All of it. It could not be any other way.

    Instead, you’re going to live. You’re going to weep and scream and transform and smile in the tenderness of nostalgia. You’re going to give of yourself, and you’re going to live until you die. In that life you’re going to find a plethora of joys, contradictions, longings, and beauties. It won’t all make sense. Some people will rally to your side, while others will abandon you. But as you choose to proceed, you’ll need to remain cognizant of the fact that this is your grief, your pilgrimage, and no one gets to dictate how that will unfold.

    I want to embrace every one of those I’ve lost, and every one I know who’s lost someone. I want to stand with them in solidarity, and do what I am called to do. You probably do as well. But it’s brutally difficult, isn’t it? This is why we cannot do this alone. We need to be broken alongside each other.

    I miss my friends terribly. I want them back. I want to hug their memories and wrap my arms around them. I know I can’t, but I still want to. You probably do too, don’t you? You want to give them shelter. You want to hold them in your arms. You want to see their eyes meet yours. And say the words. The words that only you could say to them.

    I do, so very often. I want to offer my everything to them. I want my world to meet their world such that they can hear my voice again.

    I want to say, to borrow from my friend Esme’s forthcoming book, The Border of Paradise:

    “Sorry, sorry, I am so sorry, in the way that someone newly smitten can only say, I love you, I love you, I love you.”

    I want to say these words not because they will fix anything, but because they will give voice to all that I am. They will abjure the terrible cultural narrative that tells me to move on by desecrating its claims with a thousand exhortations of love. You know what I mean, don’t you?

    I live a disciplined, beautiful life now, in so many ways. Yet my successes are but shadows of the love I still carry for those who are no longer with me. I didn’t realize just how true this was until the successes met me. I said hello, offered my gratitude, and promised to carry the successes into the future for good.

    No matter how fortunate I am, I want to be with the others who’ve suffered this calamity as well. The other dying people who’ve lost the dead. Because we’re all dying. Our running from it exacerbates its trauma in indescribable ways. I cannot stand for that. I’d rather be viewed as a negative downer who chose to acknowledge the reality of the loss that has enveloped so many than as a starry-eyed optimist who used the empty promises of wishful thinking as a means to make others conform to a story in which everything must work out in the end.

    I want to stand with every one of those who has buried their beloveds, recognizing the horrific pains they’ve been conditioned to hide for the entirety of their grieving lives. I want to look every one of them in the eye, and say nothing. I want to rip the fucking paradigm of “victimhood” out of the soul of every rape survivor, every combat veteran, every parent who’s lost a child, and lay it bare.

    I want to “help” by embracing the fact that I’ll never be able to “do anything” except acknowledge the reality of the loss you’ve endured.

    After all, what is life but acknowledgement? How can we not acknowledge that which we have experienced? How can we be such cowards as to avoid the reality of tragedy?

    We can’t. Not really, anyway. We all bleed in our own way. The choice is in how we will bleed. Will we bleed in love, or avoidance? The former is much riskier, but far more honest. The latter is easier, but far more damaging.

    As you long for those you love, you’ll probably notice that many really want you to be better. You’ll feel both implicit and explicit pressures to make yourself better, as quickly as possible. But remember this, please: you don’t have to get better right now. You can be in great pain and full of so much love at the same time. Those who claim that you must “love yourself” in order to love others have no idea what they’re talking about. This claim is a mindless platitude that completely ignores the complexities of the human experience.

    No. Instead just recognize that in the fullness of time, you will give all that you can. Not more than you can, but what you can.

    I don’t want to repair you. I want to bear witness to you, and encourage you to bear witness to others. The gift of silence in presence is so beautiful it hurts. To offer your brokenness into the brokenness of one who is anguished in loss is an act of remarkable bravery.

    You are not a failure if your sorrow has remained with you years after the loss of one you so mightily adored. Do not let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

    There are some I will never see again. I would give all that I am to see him again, and tell him I’m sorry. I would sacrifice everything to hold her, in my arms, and tell her I love her, just one more time.

    I still get afraid, all the time. I still weep for those I have lost. I still want to hide away in the corner, holding onto the ludicrous hope that throwing in the towel would be less painful than having to face myself.

    Yet I can’t. I must stand. I must allow myself to be broken, pained, wounded, and act anyway. For now, I’m going to rise, and move, knowing that it is ok to not be ok. I’m going to wail, ache, and cry more tears than I can offer, knowing that they will never suffice, without shame. I ask you to do the same.

    These tears are our love, bleeding.

    Give them freely.
    SHARE

    Liked by 1 person

  55. gm370, thank you so much ((( hugs )))

    I actually read your post the other day but wasn’t logged into the account here so couldn’t comment at the time. It was getting late, and I was getting a little sleepy. But I did read the whole thing.

    Thank you for sharing that.

    Thank you also for your own comments. I didn’t realize that you had been following my posts here so closely for the last year or two. This is one of the few online places I go to where I work through my stuff. Goodness knows I’ve tried going to family in real life I know, but that’s not been successful.

    Thank you so much for caring, and empathizing with me about the loss of my mother, and how my family has sort of let me down after the loss.

    Holidays can be a little difficult to get through since Mom has gone, but they’re not as bad now as they were. I’ve sort of gotten into making up new traditions for myself on the holidays.

    Sometimes the TV commercials can be hard to take even now – the ones showing the happy married couple with their mom and dad and the kids around the Christmas tree. Those can make me feel sad sometimes.

    At other times, they make me roll my eyes.

    It’s like advertisers don’t know or care that some of us watching their commercials are single, or may be divorced, widowed, childless.

    The fact that YOU care about my feelings and expressed empathy towards me about all this helps a lot. I really mean that. Thank you, gm370. 🙂

    I might be making some cookies over the next few days – via store bought, pre-made cookie dough, LOL. I used to make cookies from scratch, but the pre-made dough stuff tastes just as good, IMO. I’m trying to watch my weight, but I figure, it’s the holidays, why not treat myself to some cookies? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  56. If this helps anyone:
    Does God Bring About the Abuse of Children for His Own Glory?

    Here are a few snippets from the page to give you an idea:

    I recently came upon this question in my twitter feed. In case it isn’t obvious, my answer to this shocking question is unapologetically, “HELL NO!” And I mean that quite literally.

    Hell, the place were creatures go who “BRING ABOUT” such atrocities, screams what should be the obvious answer: NO! Our perfectly HOLY God does not bring about the sins for which people suffer for in Hell!

    However, as obvious as the answer to this question may seem, John Piper, and other notable Calvinistic scholars, teach a highly controversial perspective
    [blog page then lists some quotes by Calvinists]

    …. Now, to be clear, a Calvinist would not “blame” God for the mistakes of men outright. They would rely on a very complex philosophical explanation of “second and third causes” which has become known as “Compatibilism.”

    Let me forewarn you, this explanation can become as convoluted as the lapsarian controversy and has as many various approaches as it does syllables. Objective observers can see how this leads to much confusion and the endless accusation of misrepresentation against anyone who dares to speak out against the systematic’s questionable conclusions

    …. Compatibilists, while intending to protect their understanding of Divine sovereignty (i.e. complete control), undermine God’s supremely self-glorifying characteristics of holiness and love.

    Like

  57. Meticulous Sovereignty Meets Morality (on the Jesus Creed blog, By Jason Micheli)

    Snippets from the page:

    …I think the Book of Hebrews prohibits our thinking of God in terms of meticulous providence (God being the agent and cause of all things, including tragedies and deaths and birth defects and sexual abuse of children), and I join Roger Olson in arguing that such a view of God fatally crashes against the rocks of God as love …

    It’s hard for me to exaggerate how morally loathsome I find this strain in Calvin’s theology and the manner in which it gets amplified by those who claim his tradition. …

    …If suffering, tragedy, death, and evil were constitutive of God’s ordained plan then they would be constitute God’s very nature, his essence. I can concede that such a god might exist, but I cannot lie and hold that such a god would be in any way worthy of worship, for he may prove loving on occasion or even ultimately but he would not be Love itself.

    …To believe that God is the primary causal agent behind, say, my incurable cancer is to confuse the Christian belief in Providence with Determinism.

    Like

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