You had the hold on,
The hold on me,
The hold on you.
Why are you named the way you
Perfect in imperfections.
But holding onto the
Faithful in the outcomes
But You made them anyway?
I was looking for a better reason
To balance this out.
To follow you on the porch lit
To hallow you in the
Misery, cause isn’t that a Holy
I was always in the always,
Moving on and moving with the
Isn’t it missed? Isn’t it a little
I had some ages to live for,
But is this the one that I am
I am closer now to the hold.
Waiting for the pickup,
For the Christmas wrap up.
For the biggest gift is unseen.
Is unclear in the here.
Is sure in the hear.
I am missing it.
Missing you in it.
Missing the parts that
Won’t be ages ago, or
Ages to come.
I need ya now.
I need the hold on.
I don’t have to preface what I am about to say because I can say whatever I want on my own blog. God bless America for this freedom that will be taken away one day by demonic-possessed men and women working for the Anti-Christ all to fulfill God’s great purposes before He comes and slays the heads of every single wicked King on this planet that does not bow before Him..A Jewish man that is the only one worthy to execute justice. So before you think your justice initiatives are really impacting the food ministry at your church does it line up with Christ? Does preaching His Gospel actually go beyond just feeding people and doing good stuff in a church building?
God does not dwell in temples made by hands..
My intro is a little bit of a rant but my aim..please, hear me, my aim is not to judge or condemn..I am examining myself and sharing with you what I am staring at when I look at Jared Diehl in the mirror.
It is believed that in the Christian life(at least most have some of this going on) that just going to church or activities at church and listening to someone preach on the radio equates to transformation. I do not want to go into all the details of this point because that is a thousand posts to come on the subject of sanctification.
Just hearing truth and the concepts of say salvation, justification(saved by faith, not by works), christian ethics, tithing, giving, forgiveness, showing compassion to a dying world, exc..
Just hearing does not mean change and does not actually mean you understand and are getting it. I think the biggest obstacle to going past just hearing is the already beyond warped conscious that we already possess. Did not David exclaim in his penitence..”In my mother’s womb..I was conceived in sin..”
John Calvin still lives in modern minds today. Calvinism. Neo-Calvinsim. Pelagianism. Mark Driscoll and John Piper–ism(Godly men..not making fun of them) carry the flame of TULIP. Some might add a few more letters. I don’t get all of it but I do agree that Total Depravity is pretty close to bearing its name. It means TOTAL. It means we cannot save ourselves. It means we are not good. It means no one is good.
Romans 3:10-19 says:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
“Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways
; And the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”(NKJV)
Our world craves darkness. Another passage to be quoted would be John 3:19-21(The whole passage of course needs to be read too) but look at this:
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
My world craves darkness. It can be easy to point the finger and think that ‘we are in the world and not of it’ so look at those sodomites, those homosexuals, those sexually immoral..geesh don’t they know that their end is the Lake of Fire to burn in the presence of the Lamb? Yes, all true but I am shining the magnifying glass on me. One Direction can sing all they want, “Let’s live while we are young.” J-LO can loudly proclaim, “We can do anything we want, so live it up!”
The world is the world I live in and I am the darkness Jesus talks about. I am the resistance to Him. The answer to the pop lyrics is that you can imagine that you are doing what you want. You can imagine that at college your parents don’t know what you are up to unless you put in on facebook which would only break their hearts even more. You can and I can imagine that ‘doing what we want!’ is what makes America so special and so unique and so set apart from all those other communist dictators out there. No, that is the problem. We will answer for our deeds and for our actions and most of all, for our choices. Mercy is to be had and God is beyond good and will forgive anyone for anything, but it is still a choice. And most will choose darkness.
I am everything Paul lists just in Romans 3, not to mention all the other places. I am all of those descriptions and more and most likely worse then those descriptions.
I have not a very exciting life so its much easier for me to just talk about other people. I guess I am a leader so its okay to break everyone open because I am trying to be a good leader and I am trying to help them. Really? Talking crap about people really helps them.
I think giving a quarter for someone to take the bus is doing a good deed for the day while I am mostly thinking about how I can waste more money at Starbucks, or on movies, or on eating crappy food. But because I please everyone and appear to be doing things right by praying at my church and praying loudly on the microphone I guess I am fighting the darkness..right?
Sorry to sound negative on myself. I am done beating myself up. I hope I can find life in God to the point of not just talking about my sin with Him. I hope that is not all we talk about in heaven. Its a work in progress.
What I am mostly saying in this attempt to make the point that I highly underestimate my fallen desires. I think I am much better off then I really am. But the good news, however, is that myself and everyone reading this, we do not have to stay this way. Its rather more important for us to understand the bad news before we can rejoice in the Gospel, which means “good news.”
It is both an error to think we are better then what we really are and call our good deeds godliness when it can not be that. “A form(appearance) of godliness, but denying its power.” I fear that we are getting itching ears. And I am, again, looking at me first.
It is much easier for me to believe in a book like ‘Your Best Life Now’ then it would be for me to meditate on Romans 3 and John 3. It would be much easier for me to just feed people at our church’s food ministry and call it making an impact on people or even dare to call it the same thing as love. Love is not food. Love is not stuff. The Gospel is not just for the “blessings” and for a “better life.” Have you read the Declaration of Independence? Have you really believed that we are founded on Godly principles or have some kind of covenant with God because ‘God Bless America’ is the signet phrase on our green money? To my understanding the only covenant nation with God is Israel. I mean Israel in the past and Israel today. So, God so keeps His word that when Israel disobeys God He corrects them by sending the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, and any other surrounding enemy..all for the purpose of correcting them. In Ezekiel alone some 70 times God says, ‘So that they may know that I am the Lord.’ So, covenant with God looks like that. I am pretty sure Russia or North Korea or China have not invaded the shores of America. But is is surely possible if we want to make that kind of commitment back to God.
It hurts to be honest. And the bad news is that we are in danger. We are in grave danger as a country if we think our prosperity means God is for the things we do as a nation. I don’t want to bash America. And God does love us and loves the 300 plus million people who live here..but its still bad news before the good news that we need to hear. Our American Dream is dying. Thanks Adam Smith for breaking it down for us, but it doesn’t take an expert sociologist to say that it is dying. I can’t speak for everyone because I have had a pretty easy life. Yes, my dad was not the best father and my mom stayed with him for much to long and now I have bipolar depression partly because of the abusive home life we had. But no one would have ever guessed that because we went to a charismatic church that loved intercession.
Again, that didn’t change the pain, or the genetic disposition I have, or the negative lies that have warped my mind that now..as a man I have to face so I don’t screw my kids up.
And I love my parents. I still love my dad and my mom and without them I would be way far off doing God knows what. I honor them. I am simply saying that our past is not just buried because ‘all things have become new.’ I hope you understand. We have pain.
Life is hard and I don’t really know what else I have experienced that would put me in a place to hate God because God is not the problem and not the source of the world’s suffering and injustice. He has given us a choice and the choice is ours to now..in spite of our darkness to live lives of humility and choose what is right over what is evil and wrong.
The challenge for us us to make the Ruckus. To make the noise about what is good and who it comes from. Good is from above. ‘Every good and perfect gift.’ ‘God cannot deny Himself’ and that means that He will not compromise any part of Himself. He will always make the perfect choice. If I end up in Hell then He did everything possible for me to not go there. He will be right.
If we can understand our fallen tendencies I think we can better understand the mercy and the goodness that God offers us. I am much to tired of talking about changing and talking about loving and talking about having God in my life when really my life would look a lot different if I was to truly say, ‘God, I need you and I am desperate for you.’
I feel no condemnation. I feel it would help us to evaluate with the word of God and not by the church culture or the culture in general. We are the light. We are the salt. We are not to hide from the world. We are to shine in it.
Having a night to sleep on what I just posted yesterday I have some more thoughts regarding the themes involved in the discussion. But, to not get to off subject, I want to say more about the three I mentioned in the last post because those are very necessary to this book.
First, I will give my overview. Nicole Hardy spans across at least 4 decades of her life from birth to early forties, but primarily she focuses on the bumpy, difficult years of 20 to 30. As well as her thirties. Nicole displays, what one reviewer called ‘Cognitive Dissonance.’ The reviewer wrote: “Cognitive Dissonance is described as: “The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.”
She struggles through her twenties with the idea of finding her sole value and purpose in two things: marriage and having children. Rather, she wants to stay true to her dreams and desires. She wants to be a writer and spend her time being creative. I relate heavily to wanting to write and be creative. The first 200 pages are full of Nicole sticking to her convictions and having trouble in all her relationships. She struggles with liking the non-Mormon or LDS(Latter-Day Saints) guys because they want sex after a few dates. And she struggles with the seemingly impaired LDS guys who seem to think that women are a means to an end. That we should be in love, but really I need you to bear me some children.
Nicole has a real crisis of faith at 35, nearing almost 36. She decides to stop caving into the pressure and the boundaries of marriage before sex. She succeeds at writing, at diving in the Caymen’s, and being herself. This is where that cognitive dissonance thing comes into play. How hard is it to stay pure outside of marriage? It is hard and I am not trying to champion what parts of this book I wouldn’t do myself. I said in the first part, that as hard as it is God’s boundaries are there for a reason. And we need to press through the lies of culture and value God’s word above people’s comfort. Doesn’t it say-in the end of the age-men would be lover’s of pleasure, rather than God? She comes to grip with these many tensions. And I greatly appreciate someone opening up about how hard purity can be, but also how confusing the “religious dating scene” can be. I put up quotes cause I don’t know what else you would call it. Dating, just by itself, is not easy. Its not the movies everyone. In the movie the guy is at the party with his bros and he figures out who the best looking girl is in the place and goes for it. Next scene: girl and guy wake up the next morning. And people would say: well, I guess the guy got the girl. No. The dating scene is more like this.”Hey, you don’t look your ChristianMingle picture at all?” Awkward…
She does give in and she does lose the label of “virgin” and then it just ends with her getting published in the New York Times.
This will inevitably be a long post. Because I want to give due respect to breaking down the main points of this book I also have a lot of thoughts to add to what this book provokes in people when they think of Sex and Religion/Faith. I have read nearly 43(nearly) books in the year 2013 and this marks book 44 and the first to be finished in 2014. I desire to respond to this quote: “Good art tells the truth, and bad art doesn’t.” I have seen a multitude of films this past year( as you read about some on this blog) but I have also read a lot that hasn’t been spoken of yet on this blog. I want to start that conversation and be a student of faith, God, people, culture, and anyone who ‘tells the truth.’
This book was released August 20, 2013 and I heard of it from some very girly magazine that smelt not like my American Eagle cologne. I think anytime someone wants to express conflict(internally) with faith and sexuality; that makes for a point of interest. Its very clear to me, and as I get older, that I have grown up in an overly sexualized(maybe not a word) culture. I have, at 28, been exposed to hordes of perversion that have evaded my eyes, my friends eyes, my parents eyes( more so now, then what they grew up with), and most pertinent; the generation beneath me. Teenagers that I have ministered to summer after summer in Kansas City. There is a clear need for understanding what God has to say about sex. Now, this book is not so much about sexuality in a generation but sexuality to a person who has the pressures and ambivalence of “doctrine” and “church.” Needing to merge the understanding of what God says is a ruckus worth paying close attention to.
Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she came, at the age of thirty-five, to a crossroads regarding her faith and her identity. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nicole had held absolute conviction in her Mormon faith during her childhood and throughout her twenties. But as she aged out of the Church’s “singles ward” and entered her thirties, she struggled to merge the life she envisioned for herself with the one the Church prescribed, wherein all women are called to be mothers and the role of homemaker is the emphatic ideal.
This might have to be two blog posts. I don’t want to make anyone read a five page post. But to get it started here is what this memoir is about 3 main discussions:
1. The role of the Women in church. Not just the Mormon church, but what does the church say about Women. I do not feel qualified at all to try to discuss Feminism, or women in ministry, or even just the women altogether. But what I do know is that God cares deeply about(yes men too) but about the women. The enemy rages against the power that a women has been given to have children. Mothering is the greatest ministry on the planet. The Ruckus of mothering. Means, mothering is more important than any other “calling” out there. Yes, other areas are important to but there is no greater thing then mothering. Nicole’s struggle with this in the book is very real. It is not that she doesn’t want to be a mother, its that everyone in her church culture had made that the pinnacle of success. She found it hard to side with the part of her that actually didn’t want that. She felt shame, less than, even condemnation for not wanting kids and, even marriage.
2. The conflict of Sex and culture. Also, not qualified to talk of this. But writer’s should be confident in what they are saying. This will have to be carefully talked about and will most likely take all of tomorrow, or the next day, to talk of this a little, but the dynamics of crossing over from raging hormonal teenager( in America) to having to be taken seriously as an adult at 18, to the final stage of maturity–marriage and children. Well, it doesn’t seem as simple as it used to be. First, because we have this growing sense of prolonged adolescence. Every third movie made is about “adults” not wanting to change, or grow up. Hollywood understands that the culture has shifted. 30 is the new 18. And 18 would then be the new 12? There is no real formula for maturity, other then to simplify it and say: its a freakin’ choice! Women are always complaining of men being boys and that is because a lot of men are boys(read Gary Cross’s Men To Boys book). Don’t want to get sidetracked but all to say, it is hard and confusing at times to get older, with the way the body grows and changes, and live “single”. Single doesn’t mean negative, single seems to just bring seemingly more “ambivalence” to the innate desires in you. Nicole Hardy presents, with honesty and clarity, that it is hard to go through your twenties and thirties without having a pure sexual relationship in your life. This just is the beginning of the discussion because faith and religion adds difficult dynamics as well. I don’t disagree with that. As much as she parts ways with it in the end I firmly do believe Sex to only be for marriage, and that to be the best way to experience it. I just appreciate someone stating that it can be very difficult to stay true to those boundaries. Its not just a Mormon belief, its Christian, its the bible, its God, its Jesus, and all of American culture doesn’t want to adhere to that.
3. Lastly, this book is human. This book presents the struggle people can have with staying faithful and true to God in the midst of culture and what everyone else does. It can be hard to have convictions and stick to them. What does God, what does the bible, and what does Christ himself have to say about marriage, sex, love and the individual purposes of why he created such distinct differences in male and female. We need to grow in love. We need to take from these difficulties the fact love is the cure for the many confusions that immorality( pornography and its violent assault on the human image) has brought to us, here and now in 2014. Men need women. Women need men. And both need love. And all need God.
Part 2 coming soon..(the actual breakdown of the book and more discussion on these 3 issues)