Here is an interesting link, that shows the reformation in legos. Well, not the whole reformation- just Luther before the diet of worms.
Here is an interesting link, that shows the reformation in legos. Well, not the whole reformation- just Luther before the diet of worms.
I remember being at one youth conference when I was in my teens where the speaker was encouraging us to speak in tongues and telling us how important it was. He spoke of how it would radically change our prayer life, our sin life, and our personal walk with God. At the time I was dealing with some pretty heady stuff and I had been taught a lot about this gift and there was nothing I wanted more than to receive this.
For the last few months I had been having a lot of spiritual teaching regarding this. In fact my pastor devoted hours working with us and teaching those who hadn’t received the gift yet some techniques to start speaking in tongues. He told us that first we had to clear our minds of any thoughts, that because our minds wouldn’t understand what we are doing, and would want to war against and question what our mouth was doing, and so it was important not to overthink it, or think it at all. Then he told us some methods that would help get us going, and used the analogy that it was like starting a car on a cold day. Asking to speak in tongues was like turning the key, and all you needed was a little kick to help the engine turn over and get it to start roaring. These were some of his suggestions.
1 If you know a foreign language, start speaking that and ask God to transform it into a different one on the go. 2. Repeat the words “shoulda-bought-a-honda-couldove-bought-a-honda. or “shabbada-shabbada shaka-whaoh” over and over again. This will train your mouth and your tongue to lose control and get used to making strange sounds. 3. Pick a phrase from the scriptures and say it over and over again, as fast as you can, until the words become unintelligible in your mouth. When you can’t say it anymore faster take a leap of faith and say the first things that come to your mind-oftentimes this will be your new tongues 4. Start making intercession with groaning that can’t be uttered. Start to groan and moan while curled up in a ball on the ground, from deep within your chest, and visualize your sounds transforming into words. 5. Read Bible verses but take out the vowels from what you’re reading, and try to pronounce them all the while asking God to give you the gift- this oftentimes acts like a kickstart 6. Hold your hands over your ears so that you can’t hear yourself speaking, and start saying words and making sounds as the spirit leads, and then have a friend come over and listen. The reason you are plugging your ears is because as you are getting disappointed with the English words that are coming out of your mouth and then losing faith, which will kill it. If you do start speaking in tongues, your friends will be able to hear it and confirm it for you.
I spent months practicing these things, trying to get my mouth to turn over, but to no avail. I especially tried the groaning one, where I would crawl into my prayer closet and start to heave as I pushed my hands against my chest, growling and moaning and making sounds that I didn’t know I could make. I was warbling by tongues and lips in between guttural gasps in an effort to make something happen. Anything. But to no avail. Consequently I had become hopelessly disappointed. I had gone to the altar on a weekly basis for prayer, my cheeks wet with tears as I sobbed and wept and asked God why everyone around me could do it, but I couldn’t. Didn’t he love me enough to help me speak in tongues? I had been told that it was one of the main proofs of salvation, and my heart was becoming a ball of confusion and distress. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have enough faith. I didn’t repent enough. I didn’t tithe enough. All these things rocked my little ship of faith. And then this conference happened.
It had been two days of manic worship music, ultimate frisbee, and sleep deprivation. A man with a bald head and a beard appeared on stage and said that he was going to slay us all in the spirit, and when we awoke we would have the gift of tongues. The room was hot and sweaty and the stench of stale body air was everywhere. Under blue and pink lights he approached us and had all thirty of us line up around stage and starting left from right, he would put his hands on people and almost throw them to the ground. Thankfully there were adults behind us who would catch us as we fall, to ensure that the impact of throwing a body gone limp would not crack our skulls on the floor. “SHANDALA-HUNDARA” he screamed as he picked us off one by one. Boom! Boom! Boom! Bodies were hitting the floor as if being cut down in a swath. I could hear some of the girls who had gone first starting to rise and stir as sounds of giggles filled the room.
Finally he came to me. I couldn’t breathe with anticipation. Finally it was going to happen. I knew it was. Oh. My. God. This was going to be amazing. All I could think about was the coveted tongues. I wanted it so bad, and the knowledge that I would go under and come up a new man was exquisite. He gripped my head with his hands. I braced my soul. He blew a rush of air and spittle in my face and then yelled “Spirit be released in Jesus’ name!”
But I did not fall as almost every other had. No- instead I felt none of the impartation that I had hoped for, that I had built myself up for. I wanted my knees to go weak. I wanted my legs to buckle. I wanted my mind to be assaulted by a hundred million senses and to come up for air with new words and a heavenly language and the powerful rapture of being so close to God that we shared a secret language that only we knew. Instead my legs remained strong. I did not bend or bow. Instead, despite being nearly hurled towards the carpet, my instincts kicked in and I twisted my body in such a way that I was able to catch myself on the front row chairs as I reeled back.
The speaker, content with seeing me displaced, went back to the center and compelled the praise band up to keep on playing while my friends and strangers laid with their backs on the floor. Their hands were raised slightly at their side and facing heaven, weeping and laughing . I could hear the sound of garbled voices while I sat there. Heads in my knees. Begging God’s forgiveness for being such a disappointment to him.
To be continued…
“I continually want to lay before you that really in that moment where you blow it, you have this really beautiful opportunity to marvel at the gospel. When your heart goes to a place it shouldn’t, when your mind goes to a place it shouldn’t, when your external actions go to a place you know is forbidden, you have this opportunity to just marvel at the gospel. Just marvel at it. Marvel that you didn’t surprise God, like God didn’t see that one coming. You have this chance to just slow down and rest in, “He calls me holy. He calls me blameless. He calls me spotless. Even in this he delights in me.” Matt Chandler
I’m on a bit of a kick reading gay literature and queer theory as of late [ mostly for a project I'm working on for this blog] but through my readings I wound up on genderfork. Genderfork is a website which serves as a safe haven of support for people who don’t self-identify in the typical male/female, gay/ straight paradigms. Its motto is “beauty in ambiguity” and the community posts short profiles of themselves and say what label if any they identify with and what sort of third-party pronouns they like to be addressed by.
One person said “I identify as… “Genderqueer, Androgynous, Boi, Gender-Fluid” another said ” Masculine-Feminine Switch, Dyke-leaning pansexual girlfag.” One said “Ambiguous Gender Ninja.” and another described themselves as “Transgender, Two-Spirit, Polysexual, BiDyke.” One said “”Gender-bending gender-Awesome” and others gave the shorthanded “Gay,” “Soft Butch”, “Queer” “Cis-gender,”, etc. One person said ” I identify as a vaguely butch vaguely femme male-bodied anarcho-queerion.” Lastly a “they” named Crispin said that “I identify as a Schrödinger’s cat of gender, I never know what I am until I try to observe it. One day I’ll observe and be a straight man, five minutes later I may find myself to be an asexual androgene, or a genderqueer woman, or none of the above.”
Its been an interesting time of introspection to develop a fully-orbed response to this. Because here’s the thing- there are Christians who will read something like that and be at a complete loss. In their state of revulsion and sanctimonious piety they’ll hurl epitaphs at these ambiguous ones and dump their bodies into hell themselves if given half a chance. Others in their ignorance will fight and argue using strawmen and throwing philosophical sophistry bombs while raging about the damage they are doing to society, while still others will present rude, unsophisticated, damningly stupid biblical arguments which serve as little more than to kindle the fire of resentment and recoil. All of which is unfortunate and is a blight to our faith, because we have so much more to offer than that. We have beautiful, wonderful, exhilarating and redemptive things to say- so let’s not lose our opportunity.
We live in a pluralistic, post-modern society, where created and contradictory self-identification is not seen as bad or confused, but completely legitimate. In a way queerfork can be thought of what happens when Jacque Derridas intermingles with the critical theories of Eve Sedwick. It’s gender deconstruction and reconstruction absent the societal norms which we have traditionally understood and navigated. For all practical purposes we have discarded the laws of non-contradiction so that we can be whatever we want to be, whenever we want to be, and it doesn’t matter if they overlap or bump up besides each other or are at odds with each other in any way. Its a tribute to our post-modernism; a pomo-sexual revolution, and the whole time we are being told that far from being confused, those with this mentality are free, clear- headed thinkers. They have attained a higher level of consciousness than we have and have become unshackled and unburdened from heteronormative ways of thinking.
Has a failure to polarize sexuality into distinct camps done damage to society? Not in the way that is commonly understood. Fluid, borderless and “create your own label” sexual identities is the natural progression for a society that “loves the world and the things of the world.” So its not damaging society as much as it is reflecting society and changing societal norms. Its not causing a rift in our societal evolution so much as it is our societal evolution with the challenge not to stop it but to navigate through it and recognize it for what it is.
So what is our response? Our responses are manifold. We don’t laugh at or mock people who are dressed like this or look this way. We don’t make jokes out of it or use the occasion to demonstrate our own sin. We are the first persons to engage them and love them through friendship and relationship. We stand up for them and offer them protection from all verbal, emotional, and physical violence. We never for a minute regard their socio-sexual expressions as sin without being bruised by the weight of our own. We step in and repel any ignorant misconception, misstatements or fallacies regarding anyone expressing themselves on whatever end of the sexual matrix they feel they are on. And lastly once all of that is done, we never lose sight of the core of our convictions as Christian believers, and we verbalize with compassion the good news that Jesus is sovereign over all gender and sexuality. This is the reality that he has in his wisdom and glory created it for a specific purpose and function, which we proclaim the truth in conjunction with the gospel, and never apart from it.
What is the truth? The truth is that the Bible addresses human sexuality from a holistic perspective of God’s intention and design. In contrast to both pagan sex rituals and our modern obsession with sex, the Bible places sex within the total context of human nature, happiness, and holiness. Taken out of this context, sexual anarchy reigns as sex is set loose to be an end in itself.
Jesus created human beings as male and female, both in His own image [Mark 10]. Thus, gender is not a mere biological accident or social construction. The contrast and complementarity between the man and the woman reveal that gender is part of the goodness of Jesus’ creation. Modern efforts to redefine or redesign gender are directly contrary to the Bible’s affirmation of maleness and femaleness as proper distinctions. God’s glory is seen in the maleness of the man and the femaleness of the woman. This pattern of distinction is affirmed and enforced by liturgical orders and restrictions on dress, hair length, etc. Any effort to confuse or deny gender differences is expressly forbidden and opposed by Scripture, especially as seen in Old Testament legal codes.
As image bearers of God- made in the image of male and female, we don’t see a plurality of options or purposes . We don’t see a “he made them male-ish” and “female-ish” but rather two distinct and yet complementary groups with complimentary qualities and characteristics, so that the woman in union with the man would be “one flesh.” There are rare times when these marks are mixed or obscured, but such exceptions are few and they reinforce the norm. As a result, men and women’s gender identities are grounded in and, to an extent, limited by the permanent details of their sexed bodies. Jesus himself has very specific ideas about what is male and female and how that ought to be expressed sexually and through gender roles. [Man is infused with maleness" and Female is designated as woman-ness, which must by necessity be different from man and maleness]. Everything that is contrary to that, no matter how much it may be genuinely felt, biologically anchored, or sociologically accepted, is to be rejected and recognized as the ruthless embodiment of sin-scrapped rebellion that it is.
But praise God that Christ died for every sin- heterosexual, homosexual, and everything invented by the human mind that could possibly lie in between. There is grace and forgiveness for everyone who repents and puts their faith and hope in Christ. Our heart of stone is removed, and we are given a heart of flesh to fuel our new nature, which abides in Christ. No longer are we slaves to sin and to our former nature, but we are free to love and worship him and experience true joy apart from the shallow fleetingness that is “happiness”. Through him we get to become his friends, sons and daughters, no longer under the threat of his wrath, but free and forgiven in his love. That’s the template we work from.
[And note. There are rarely any silver bullets when sin is concerned. Having ones sexual orientation inclined towards the same sex as a believer is a weighty, weighty burden. In light of this, I would suggest that the biblical command for anyone who is struggling with same sex attraction or sexual dysphoria has two prerogatives. The first is to take this to Christ in prayer, asking that God would redeem their sexuality so that Christ might help them become “reoriented,”so that they would be counted in the “and such were some of you” category in 1 Corinthians 6. If the Lord in his sovereign mercy does not make this a reality, and that feeling of attraction to the same sex, or that feeling of attraction to the opposite sex from perspective of being a different sex, or that feeling grotesque displacement from your physical body does not go away, then living a life of celibacy is the final call, all the while praying for the first. It is a painful cross to bear. It is lonely and frustrating and at times bleak. It is a bloody war; a vicious and heartbreaking battle. But in the whole process God will be slowly refining you in the slow burn of sanctification, and his pleasures and promises are better.]
To the ” Masculine-Feminine switch, Dyke-leaning pansexual girlfag” such notions will probably be regarded as horrific and scary as hell and an attack on their being and nature. [Note, I would regard blurring of the line and failing to polarize sexuality ultimately as the true ferocious, deviant, and mephistophelian attack on women, but that specifically is a different argument] In a very real way it is. All we can do though is approach each person as calmly and loving as we can. Not as a project, but so that we can genuinely like who they are as people. Not as self-righteous, but from a posture and position of constantly being bombarded with our own sins and inadequacies and the price that had to be paid for them on the cross. That’s what we need to communicate and what we need as Christians to start being the driving force for our forays into the world. Let us be unmoving and unyielding in our convictions while being extravagant and immoderate in our joy and affection for each others souls.
“Look, you’re infinitely guilty, but Christ has made a way. Our hope as Christians isn’t in our embetterment but rather in Christ’s perfection. So you need to hear me say this to you right now. God is not in love with some future version of you. It’s not you ‘tomorrow’ that He loves and delights in. It’s not you when you ‘get your act together’. Listen, & if you believe that, you are a idolater. If you believe that Christ’s love for you is a ‘future love’ for you, then you dismiss the cross of Christ.
Have you ever thought of the cross this way: The cross of Christ is this glaring acknowledgment that we’re all screw ups. This glaring acknowledgment that you’re going to fall short and that I’m going to fall short, and I’m not going to measure up, and I’m never going to get to perfection like I need to get to perfection, & even if I could get to perfection, I’d have all that imperfection behind me.
Doesn’t the cross go, ‘Yeah, I know’?
Doesn’t the cross say, ‘Yeah, I’ve made provision. I’ve handled that’?