That time I tried to be transparent in a small group . . .

About 15 years ago I joined a certain group because everyone else was doing it and it seemed like the thing to do in order to be a better Christian, which of course I wanted very much.

The group followed a format that I found out later was typical, but it was all new to me at that time: We listened together to the respected speaker for the first hour, and then split up into small groups for the second hour.

This is where we would be transparent. Continue reading “That time I tried to be transparent in a small group . . .”

Blessings are not sweet little things (guest post by Deborah Brunt)

Deborah Brunt is an abuse survivor who blogs at Key Truths.

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In the Deep South, you know you’re in trouble when someone says, “Bless your heart!” It means, by translation, “Wow! What a hopeless mess you’re in!” or, “Wow! What a hopeless fool you are!” or, “Wow, am I glad I’m not you!” 

The person who speaks the “blessing” may feel genuine sympathy for you. Often, though, they want  a “nice” way to say something belittling.

Those times when people might bless our hearts, God wants to bless our lives. For real.

But we will likely miss the blessing if we have a wrong idea of

What’s the best way for us to bring glory to God?

This is a burden on my heart (that I pulled from yesterday’s post because it deserved its own) because I believe this understanding is crucial to becoming the people of God He has called us to be. I pray it will help someone the way similar teachings helped me in the 1990s.

Spoiler alert: I believe the Bible teaches that the best way for His people to glorify God is to live in the New Covenant.

This isn’t just distant theory. For example, the harmful theology of what has been called “Biblical patriarchy” is based on living in the Old Covenant.

The power of living in the New Covenant (in which all our sanctification is found in Jesus Christ) has tremendous practical application for us right now.

I believe far too few Christians understand the crucial difference between the Covenants and what that difference means, even though it’s explained right there in the New Testament. Continue reading “What’s the best way for us to bring glory to God?”

Why the Jeffrey Epstein case matters to Christians

It may feel like voyeurism, reading about it, if you don’t know any of these people.

But as I’ve been saying for some time now, I can be pretty doggone certain that you do know or at least interact with a survivor of sex trafficking, even if you don’t think you do. Because they are all around you.

My primary work is with those who have been sex trafficked in the Christian world. And believe me, there are parallels.

One person or small group of people is/are the traffickers. They may be relatively obscure, as Epstein was.

Others, the wealthy and elites (in my experience, it’s primarily been the wealthy and elites in the Christian world) are the buyers who take advantage of the trafficker’s “services.” (Flying in to the trafficking location is not a problem for the Christian elite.)

There’s a lot to learn about how this all works by reading about the Jeffrey Epstein case. Continue reading “Why the Jeffrey Epstein case matters to Christians”

“The Return of the Daughters” meets Rachael Denhollander

In 2008, the movement calling itself “Biblical patriarchy” was in its heyday.

In 2008, the beautiful Botkin sisters, paragons of the visionary daughterhood espoused by “Biblical patriarchy,” were 20 and 22 years old. Three years earlier, at 17 and 19, they had published their book So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God which went on to influence many impressionable teen girls that their highest calling was to fulfill their father’s every whim. Continue reading ““The Return of the Daughters” meets Rachael Denhollander”

Here’s what’s wrong with God looking through the “filter” of Jesus to see His children

It’s supposed to be encouraging when we hear that God the Father sees His children through the filter of His Son Jesus Christ. I’ve seen Christians almost come to tears when they talk about how God the Father is wearing “blood-colored glasses” to look at us, seeing the righteousness of His Son instead of our sinfulness.

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So, we are told, He sees His blood-bought children as holy instead of the unrighteous, filthy, utterly degraded, deceitfully wicked, totally sinful vile creatures we actually are. Continue reading “Here’s what’s wrong with God looking through the “filter” of Jesus to see His children”

“Look to the cross more”: a response to the “gospel-centered” movement

Last week I received a letter from my friend Ana. The first part of her first question read:

In the Reformed/Gospel-centered movement, the focus seems to be on how sinful and wicked and powerless we all are and how comforted and relieved we should be when we look to the cross. It seems like the answer to most problems is to look to the cross more. I don’t even know exactly what that means. For me, it encouraged a miserable cycle of wallowing in how awful I am and basing the Christian life on the feelings I get when I think of Jesus dying for me.

Here is my reply: Continue reading ““Look to the cross more”: a response to the “gospel-centered” movement”

“Your empathy is a sin” – a response to Desiring God

Umm . . . yes, he really did call it a sin, an “enticing sin,” in fact. That is, this Desiring God author truly did say that empathy is bad and even a trick of the devil. And the majority of the commenters on the Facebook post of the article and the hundreds who shared it believed the same way, many of them feeling convicted of the sin of empathy.

It’s a Screwtape-styled article, so you’re supposed to read it inside out and opposite, sometimes but not all the time, which can make it challenging to figure out, but it’s here, so I welcome you to see for yourself. Continue reading ““Your empathy is a sin” – a response to Desiring God”