Steal, Kill, and Destroy vs. Truth

Follow up to post and comments in Amir’s previous post here … .

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Steal, kill, and destroy are harsh words. Satan’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy … you, me, everyone, everywhere, as often as he can, without remorse or relief. It feeds him like a ravenous wolf whose belly is never full.

What we want to be able to do is put a hedge around ourselves and our family to avoid this, to protect our innocence and purity. There are many who try, and oh how they try! But reality is we live in a fallen world. We cannot avoid sin. We cannot protect ourselves and our families from sin. Absolutely, we must be prudent and set boundaries and make the hard choices. But we cannot make others’ choices for them. There will come a time in our lives when someone else’s bad choices affect us in a serious way.

When that happens, we need to be prepared. We need to know the Truth. And even more than that, we need to know how to choose to believe the Truth. The Truth is that Jesus is here, living inside His Believers, and He is ready to give us life so that we may have that life to the full.

Yep, it stinks something terrible when people make choices that beg to erode away our security, that cause us to question that which we never even thought to before. We need to immediately take the time to discern what is the truth, and then we need to consciously and decisively discipline ourselves to choose to believe that Truth.

This is NOT easy; not at all. And I believe it takes a community to strengthen that in each other. We need to strengthen the truth in each other, to support one another, to validate that Truth in one another.  

I drill this into my girls so much they roll their eyes at me sometimes (I just LOVE being a Momma – eye-rolls are priceless!). When they tell me something, especially something someone else said about them, I ask them, “Is it true? What is the Truth?” When they tell me, I come back with, “You get to choose what you believe. You can believe the lie or the truth. But regardless of what you choose to believe, the Truth will never change.”

This is so much easier said than done. The kicker comes when my girls turn the tables on me and repeat these words to me. I’m not an expert here at always choosing to believe the Truth deep in the hidden places of my heart and soul, but I have certainly had much opportunity to choose. My New Husband is great about pointing out the Truth in ways that are gentle to me.

I wish I could say this is a one-time-thing, but it’s not. Satan is relentless, so must we also be. God is Sovereign, Holy, and Just. God’s Justice will prevail. This is Truth. Choose to believe.

My Quarterly Rant, Part 1

I had intended to keep my mouth shut about this, but I am sufficiently outraged–based on events of last night–that I cannot hold back.

In the Fall of 2008, a couple of friends of mine–AK and his wife, and the secretary of the church, BW–invited me to a relatively new church. It was a little over 2 years old. Theologically, they are conservative and otherwise sound. The members are a mixed bag: many recovering Baptists and evangelicals, some very solid, others not so much.

The leadership team is composed of a set of elders, most of whom–on any given Sunday–can preach. We had a lead pastor–RL–who had been the founding pastor, and who did most of the preaching. That said, the church didn’t revolve around him. RL was otherwise affable, and had good rapport with most of the guys.

RL wasn’t my favorite of the bunch–I thought his sermons lacked depth–but no one at the church had any reason to suspect that anything was awry. Example: He often stressed the importance of husbands to be the pastor of their households (good), but didn’t really flesh out the details as he should have (not so good). Again, not a dealbreaker, but more meat and less baby formula was in order IMHO.

Well, after MrsLarijani lost her mind and became my wife, she had issues with RL from the get-go. Most of them were the same concerns I had, except she also was very uncomfortable about RL. We couldn’t really go to the elders, though, because we had nothing to go on.

(Let’s face it: they get complaints from people all the time. Unless you have something really hard, you’re running the risk of being tagged as a chronic complainer.)

Ergo, I insisted that we should let this play out, and–if things get sufficiently bad–we can start looking elsewhere. In January, we were each sufficiently annoyed that we were on the verge of starting a search for a new church.

Then, we had a whirlwind turn of events.

(a) RL, unbeknownst to us, had a history if heart problems–two bad valves–that had led to his heart becoming enlarged. This led to the elders curtailing his preaching duties, and expedited the already-planned ascendency of AL to the position of pastor.

(b) A few weeks later, it became known–details not important as to how–that RL was involved in an affair with BW. This affair had been going on for “several months”, although RL had been connected to BW for many years. (She is 28, and RL had been her youth minister during her high school days.)

(c) Removal of RL and BW from their respective posts was a no-brainer.

(d) Upon confrontation with the Gospel, both RL and BW refused to repent.

I could provide a more exhaustive discussion about the matter–trust me, folks, this is merely the surface–but that is not important here. You want to know why I am outraged?

Last night, MrsLarijani and I were happily-snuggled and wanting to retire for the evening. She observed (I’m paraphrasing), “RL and his wife (PL) had moments like this in their years of marriage. And yet, their marriage is shot. He has left her. I’m having some feelings of insecurity.”

Am I angry at MrsLarijani? Not by a long shot. Personally, I don’t blame her one bit for feeling that way. I would also bet money that MrsLarijani is not the only wife among the body who feels as she does.

While I can point to significant differences between myself and RL, I cannot make her more secure. No matter how well I do as a husband, RL has made my job all the harder, because of what he has done in his capacity as a pastor.

Oh no…I’m pissed at RL. I’d like to punch the shit out of him for sowing these seeds.

Priceless

Vox Day articulates the challenge for the American man, or–as he calls it–“the new white man’s burden”. Personally, I think he is understating it, because the enormity of the challenge is not comparable to what prior generations faced. This time, the attacks are coming from within our borders–and outside our borders–and involve an array of factors that are arguably more contentious than those that led to our Civil War.

…No society that has been reorganized and restructured to provide such a perverse system of incentives deserves to survive, indeed, no such civilized society ever has survived. And therein lies the awesome challenge present to the men of the West, to the young men of America, today.

The education system is stacked against them. The media are stacked against them. The law is stacked against them. The family courts are stacked against them. The church will cheerfully lecture them on their failures while uniformly giving women a pass on everything from abortion and gluttony to a failure to honor and submit to their husbands. Society has provided every possible excuse for a young, white Christian man to give up, opt out and become the videogame-addicted, marriage-avoidant, slut-shagging degenerate that the entertainment industry portrays him to be.

But is this not precisely the sort of challenge that real men have always craved? To stubbornly persist in the face of overwhelming evil is the root of all heroism. Instead of being seen as an unavoidable morass, the culture must be viewed as an evil to be resisted and eventually overcome. Not every man will survive the battle, just as not every Marine who stormed the bloody beaches of Tarawa lived to tell the terrible tale. For every man who marries a God-fearing woman and becomes the head of a strong family in which the basic tenets of American Christian civilization are preserved, there will be one who is financially raped in divorce court, is ruined by the parasitic governmental hegemony or falls victim to an intoxicated illegal alien driving without a driver’s license. But it is no shame to fall in the battle. The only shame is to be found in the failure to fight it.

There is no reason for despair. The collapse of American empire is precisely what will bring about the end of the current system in which the unproductive prosper on the efforts of the productive, and it is certain because it is mathematically unsustainable. The old White Man’s Burden was to bring Christian civilization to the savage. The new White Man’s Burden is to plant seeds of Christian civilization that are capable of surviving the coming descent into savagery.

Finally

Do you ever feel like you can’t imagine how you could handle one more thing in your life, but then you’re afraid to even think those thoughts for fear something else will pile on? Gosh, life can be hard sometimes.

Our family had a planned birth and an unexpected death on the same day this past month. Beginning and the end. Alpha and Omega. And God was there, is here, is already there. Still. Which is really good to know when your day is spinning and appointments need to be kept and made and the unexpected becomes normal and your period starts. “God! Not now! Can’t we just postpone this meunstral thing for awhile? Like, perhaps, a year or two?! It’s just not fitting into my crazy thing called life.” Yeah.

So I find myself in the recliner with an ice pack on my lower back and two motrin finding their way into my system through my stomach and praying my kids have a calm day and the phone doesn’t ring and dreaming of the kitchen scene in Beauty and the Beast, wondering if it’s possible my kitchen will come alive and prepare such food for me! Sigh. I’m dreaming. And once again … I’m pondering the Psalms I’ve been reading through.

O God, when you led your people out from Egypt,
when you marched through the dry wasteland,
the earth trembled, and the heavens poured down rain
before you, the God of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
You sent abundant rain, O God,
to refresh the weary land.
There your people finally settled,
and with a bountiful harvest, O God,
you provided for your needy people.

Psalm 68:7-10

God “marched through the dry wasteland” leading His “people out of Egypt” … God refreshed His “weary land,” … God “provided for His needy people.” And I ponder … for God to lead His people through the dry wasteland, to refresh the weary and provide for the needy, there was a season, or a time, or even a lifetime, when His people lived in a dry wasteland, when His people became weary, when His people became needy.

I want to skip this part, but I’m drawn to it … the dry wasteland … the weary … the needy. I want to skip these parts of my life, the ones that have past, the ones that are present, and the ones to come. But it’s all through the Psalms; these places are all through the Bible. They define and shape us, me. They become our Story. Our life. And they are really, really important to God.

I am thankful, deeply, abundantly, eternally grateful, that God led His people … that God led His people through … that when God moves, the earth trembles and the heavens pour down rain! I am deeply grateful that God does not leave a land and people weary forever, but that He plans for a time when He sends abundant rain to refresh a weary land, a weary people. I am thankful that the word finally is in these verses because it is so reflective of my life … and because it gives hope that finally will come, and with it will also come a bountiful harvest, provided by God, for His needy people, for me.

A Disaster Waiting to Happen

(HT: Vox Day)

A man writes in to Dave Ramsey:

I’m fairly responsible with finances, but my girlfriend is in a terrible financial situation with a lot of credit card debt, an expensive car payment and a big, fancy apartment. Plus, she just quit her job because she didn’t like it anymore. Now, she’s thinking about filing bankruptcy and thinks us moving in together will help solve her problems. If she can’t handle her finances on her own, what’s going to happen if we get together? Can you help?

My advice: RUN…DO NOT WALK!!!

For the record: I do not completely agree with Vox regarding marrying someone who is in debt. To me, the issues are (a) what kinds of debt she has, (b) how much debt she has, (c) her track record of financial responsibility regarding said debt, and (d) what her expectations are in the relationship regarding financial matters, especially the disposition of said debt.

My wife had some student loan debt that she brought into the relationship. Not a HUGE amount, just enough to be mildly annoying. She’ll be working at least part-time until we can pay it down. If she had twice as much debt, that would have been a show-stopper.

OTOH, this particular case that Ramsey addresses is far more insidious.

(a) She has very large credit card debt. Think adjustable rates. Credit card debt is VERY insidious.

(b) She has an expensive car payment. That further shows that she does not wish to live within her means.

(c) She has a big, fancy apartment. She clearly wants the high life, but without earning what it takes to afford it.

(d) She quit her job because she doesn’t like it any more. That is clearly demonstrable of irresponsibility on both the revenue and spending end.

(e) She wants to file bankruptcy. While this is a legitimate option for those who have no reasonable chance to get out of debt, she is clearly seeking this as a means of dumping her problems without learning her lesson.

(f) She wants to move in with the guy. She clearly wants to offload her responsibilities onto him.

A guy in such a relationship needs to end it. Yesterday. Period. Paragraph. End of story.

OTOH, this type of scenario does make a good, pro-woman case for old-school Biblical Patriarchy. In the Scriptures, if a woman incurs debts prior to marriage–to which the husband did not consent–then those debts are not in play, and she is forgiven of those debts.

Given that–in the established law–women could not file for divorce (only the man could), that took the “no fault divorce” off the table, and made for a situation where the women had a chance at equity.

Today, women who incur large debts–in particular student loans–are finding their marriage prospects dimmer as they advance toward their 30s. Student loans are possibly the worst kind of debt, as–in a worst-case scenario–they are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy.

If such debts were dischargeable upon marriage–and if divorce was harder to obtain–then (a) we would see more sanity in lending, (b) women would be getting married sooner, and (c) marriages would be happier, as–without the easy allure of debt–financial strains would be lighter.

The Eve Of

Tomorrow … it would have been 25 years … I would have been celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary had the divorce not happened.

It is interesting how people respond to divorce, and it is interesting how I respond to people because I am divorced. There is the theory that I married the wrong guy. Yeah, there were “signs,” but the reality is he was, and in many ways is, still a great guy. He was a great man who made really bad choices, of which the domino effect ended our marriage.

I’ve noticed that those who make the big-time-screw-up-choices want the rest of us to get over it faster than we do. Someone said to me, “Life is hard. Things happen. Just get over it and move on.” Yes, life is hard. Yes, things happen. But “just get over it and move on” is a myth.

I am very happily remarried. Still, both my new husband and I lament our failed marriages and wish there were a way we could have stopped their (our spouses’) choices. We have friends who married at the same times we did the first time. We have children from these marriages. And so, we lament what could have been. And we continue to deal with the pain and the consequences of choices made for us.

And by the grace of God, we continue to take one step forward, one step at a time.

“Just Treat It Like a Business”

Well, that’s what Noel Biderman might as well be saying.

My questions in all of this:

(1) to what extent–if any–is it possible to separate your character from the type of work in which you are involved?

(2) Let’s assume that you work in an industry that–at least in part–is at variance with your personal views/values. At what point must one be compelled to quit or change jobs, in order to not be hypocritical?