Yoga Pants and Modesty Pt. 1

 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

1 Corinthians 6:11-13

New International Version

(WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ESSAY CONTAINS MATURE SUBJECT MATTER INVOLVING HUMAN SEXUALITY.)

"The dreaded yoga pant."

“The dreaded yoga pant.”

Yes, we are going to talk about sex.

If you are done shooing the children from the room and shutting the blinds, feel free to pull up a stump next to the campfire and toast some marshmallows. The reason I am writing this essay is because, after months of consideration, I have decided not to write a book about human sexuality from a Christian perspective, and instead post anything that would have been in the text here on BCF. Maybe I will get around to it later on when I am older and wiser, but the information is needed now and not at some indeterminate date in the future. That said, I am going to directly address several issues that have come my way over the last several days including the latest dust-up in the modesty sphere which involves the dreaded yoga pant.

If you are like me and tend to avoid RSS feeds as much as humanly possible, this might come as a surprise, and if you are not then you are fully aware that there are brothers and sisters taking up valuable megabytes on blogs across the globe as they debate whether or not yoga pants are immodest. Seriously. Most of us expect the standard Women In Pants argument, but now yoga and jogging pants are on the list.

Part of this is due to the fact that younger brothers and sisters have not yet developed proper discernment to recognize actual immodesty, and the other comes from the legalistic legerdemain that takes advantage of our younger siblings in the faith to lock them into these petty squabbles while the actual problems in the world and church remain unchecked. Did not Timothy write in 2 Timothy 2:23 (NIV) -

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”

- and what of Titus in Titus 3:9 (NIV) -

“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.”

While I realize some of you are probably already balking at what I have said, instead let us take a page from Isaiah 1:18 (ESV) and “reason together” around our imaginary campfire. Reasoning not based on what I think or what you think or what the world or all these quarrelsome people think, but on what God thinks which – hopefully – will sow some seeds for a more mature discernment regarding these matters.

Right off the bat I am going to tell you that there are clothes that are immodest. Period. While we humans of both sexes can wear whatever we wish, just like the opening scripture of this essay, not all of these clothes are ones that we should be walking around in. As Evan likes to say, “Just because you can do something does not mean that you should,” and he is correct. Just because you can walk around half-dressed does not mean that you should, and that applies to BOTH sexes since God holds BOTH accountable for sexual immorality.

However, do yoga and jogging pants fall into that category?

No.

Why?

Because immodesty and modesty like porn and art are things you just know when you see them, but we live in a world that teaches us to put things into categories of extremes which is how you end up with brothers and sisters hurling scripture at each others heads atop claims of licentiousness and causing brothers to ‘stumble’. This is also due to living in a world where The Enemy is the one to teach us about human sexuality instead of God which leads to even more bad fruits, butt-hurt brethren, and people running like their hair is on fire for all of the sexual immorality that to them represents freedom from a sexually repressed religion no thanks to asinine arguments such as this.

Yoga and jogging pants are not immodest unless they are styled in such a way as to be immodest.

I actually took the time to Google women in yoga pants, and you naysayers are right. Not all yoga and jogging pants are created equal. Some are so skin-tight that the woman might as well not even be wearing anything at all, and some are so thin you can see everything and I mean everything. This means that, frankly, if you are a woman wearing yoga or jogging pants you might want to make sure they are not cut in such a way as to make your butt look like it has been spray painted whatever color you bought them in, and that they are opaque enough to keep folks from seeing your spray painted butt in all of its glory.

Problem solved.

When I was a kid shorts were a hot-button issue since it was the 80s and everyone had just spent the last several years staring at Daisy Duke’s Daisy Dukes. What it came down to was not wearing shorts that failed to pass the mirror test. If you are wondering what that is, it is when you bend over while looking over your shoulder at a mirror behind you, and if your butt pops out from the shorts they are too darned short. If you are like me and exceptionally lazy on some matters, just wear capris, and quietly ignore your husband while he complains they make your butt and legs look like an inverted pear. Either way the shorts themselves were not immodest unless they were cut and styled to be immodest.

Umpteen decades later I now see teenage girls walking around with shorts so short the pocket pouches poke out from the cuffs. Admittedly, the parents bought the clothes and said they were okay, but if the girl bends over she is going to end up with a self-inflicted wedgie, and before you start e-mailing me I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard that very complaint in the ladies’ room while some girl dug her pants out of her butt.

There you go.

The same wisdom applies to bathing suits and other attire typically deemed ‘taboo’. The items in and of themselves are not immodest unless they are cut and styled to be immodest. Paul even wrote on this matter centuries ago when counseling men and women who used to be prostitutes in Corinth in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NIV):

“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

That scripture, despite its common misuse, was not a ban against Christians wearing nice clothes or jewelry or a decent haircut. If you do the research Paul was writing to hetairai - prostitutes who dedicated themselves to the goddess Aphrodite and engaged in ritual sex as part of their monastic life. One of the ways they would adorn themselves was by braiding bits of gold and pearls into their hair which, by law, was also required to be yellow. This eventually became a fad that wealthy women copied by either bleaching their hair or wearing wigs, and the latter really is an admonition against wearing ridiculously expensive clothing.

Amazing what a little historical context can do for the meaning of a passage or verse.

2,000 years later that advice still applies – do not wear clothing that has been purposely cut and styled in an immodest manner for those who are immodest, and also do not wear clothing that costs an incredible amount of money. Yoga pants are not immodest unless they are the sort that have been cut and styled to be immodest. Jogging pants are not immodest unless they have been cut and styled to be immodest. Notice a pattern here?

Unfortunately, this sort of discernment does not come easy to many of us because most brothers and sisters – in an effort to be authentically obedient and faithful to God – have entertained a certain measure of fear which has allowed The Enemy to gain a foothold. Since they have only seen the extremes of these things then all things that are part of that category must be ‘bad’. It is the same argument that started back in the day with people who would not eat meat sacrificed to the idols they used to worship because they thought the meat was ‘evil’. Therefore, all meat was bad, and so they would not eat it at all. In fact, let us look at what Paul says about this issue in 1 Corinthians 8 (NIV) -

“Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”

The real meaning of that scripture is engaging in acts that one knows are typically regarded as wrong, and leading others to engage in those acts that are also wrong. To break it down there is no sin in eating the food in question, however, for those who are weak and do not know this they will instead assume that it is okay to eat the food as a sacrifice to the idol instead of eating it as food, and thus sin. What Paul is saying is that Christians ought not to do that since we are told to “reject every kind of evil”, and not engage in acts that are wrong which will lead others to do the wrong thing that we know no one is supposed to do.

What this means is that I could go walking around in hoochie-momma clothing, even though I know full-well what that clothing communicates, and a weaker brother or sister would think it is okay for a Christian to go walking around dressed like a hoochie-momma. We never outgrow that ‘monkey-see-monkey-do’ habit we all had as kids, which is why fundamentally all Christians are modeling appropriate behavior and conduct even when out shopping for toilet paper at 2 AM.

HOWEVER -

We have people who are so afraid of communicating the wrong thing and causing a person to stumble they opt not to wear shorts or pants or anything at all that could cause anyone to do anything perceived to be wrong, and the problem with this is that the conscience of the weak is not strengthened, and the wisdom that brings about freedom in Christ is not developed, and the discernment to know whether something is or is not right or wrong does not form. Thus a law is forged in place of this invaluable spiritual growth, and I for one do not wish to be a Christian who causes others to stumble by giving them a law that simply leaves them open to further invasion by The Enemy through false freedom and security based on legalism instead of mercy and grace.

The meaning of this scripture is simple – eating one kind of food or wearing one kind of clothing while abstaining from another will not bring you closer to God. However, engaging in forms of evil such as wearing clothes that are purposely styled and cut to be immodest can by agreeing with the fashion codes of the world instead of the fashion codes of God. Can Christians wear yoga pants? Yes. Can Christians wear yoga pants that leave nothing to the imagination? No. Can Christians wear shorts? Yes. Can Christians wear shorts that leave their butts hanging out? No.

Notice a pattern here?

Not only that, when faced with a brother or sister who is weak in conscience and has yet to develop the wisdom and discernment to see between the extremes instead of swinging to one themselves, we should build them up so as to enable their growth in Christ. What does it profit us, the more mature brothers and sisters, if we simply walk around soaking in our own internal smugness over our knowing the finer details of right and wrong while our younger siblings flounder about in useless quarrels or lock themselves into bondage by avoiding this or that? True, it might do some good in so far as keeping them away from some things that are bad, but at the same time it could leave them open to things that are far worse.

We can see the fruits of this in our brothers and sisters who have locked themselves into extreme dress codes where certain articles of clothing are entirely forbidden based on a wrongheaded interpretation of scripture. An interpretation that was born out of a fear of causing one another to stumble, and so instead of wisdom and discernment legalism was sought out, and now we have entire factions dedicated to this wrongheaded thinking under the guise that it is somehow indicative of purity and righteousness when reality it is slavery.

Pass me a marshmallow.

- RK

 

207: The Occult

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12

New International Version

"Who Is Lady Gaga?"

“Who Is Lady Gaga?”

I am feeling disturbed tonight.

For those of you on the periphery, in the real world I do not watch television, and have not done so in almost ten years with the exception of a handful of programs on Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. I also do not do mainstream music, having lost interest in it long before Christ figured into my life due to the messages it contains. If you turn on the radio it is the same message over and over again – spend money, have sex, party hard, and do it all over again on Friday. Sure, maybe there is a “love” song or two thrown in there, but the quality is such that even a low-budget 1980s flick could do better. Seriously. Decades later after being exposed to mainstream television and music, I am disturbed by the blatant messages they now contain, and no I’m not making the stereotypical argument about gratuitous sex atop dime-store musical talent.

I can rant about Hoobastank some other time, and ignore my husband shouting ‘Nickleback’ in the background.

Before we Christians start patting ourselves on the back for being ‘pure’, now might be a good time to mention that these messages are also in the church. One thing God has been showing me as of late is that Paul really was on to something when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:3-11 (NIV) -

“Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?

After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.

Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.”

Yet, this happens all the time in the modern church. The minute we Christians quit following Jesus and instead start following some -ism that didn’t exist until some theologian invented it, we’ve stopped following Jesus, and no that wasn’t a fist-bump for fundamentalism either. Go to any of those churches and each one will claim that their ‘fundamental’ interpretation of scripture is more accurate than their competitors’ interpretation, which comes down to whichever theologian they feel has the best doctrine. This line of thinking is how we ended up with Calvinist heresy and every other schism that has given rise to the 35,000 denominations we have today.

It is obvious we have a mess of people who have been “blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14, NIV). 2,000 years of hindsight reveals The Enemy has been alive and well in our midst which is likely why God has also been hammering a series of scriptures regarding the presence of false teachers (Acts 20:29:31, NIV). Antichrists who have gone out into the world for the express purpose of teaching heresy and dividing The Body to hamstring it as much as possible (2 Peter 2:1-3, NIV)). Neither secular nor religious society is free from the influences of The Enemy and his occult brethren, and since I am beyond tired I am going to keep it short and sweet.

I used to be a witch.

My background in the occult has been something that God has redeemed a thousand times over because it would shock people if they knew just how much occult symbolism they are exposed to on a daily basis, and without their even knowing it. The messages people are being bombarded with are based on the teachings of Aleister Crowley who is the father of modern Satanism. Anton Lavey, the so-called ‘founder’ of the Church of Satan, simply gave it a sleek public image. Crowley, in the meantime, was considered to be ‘the wickedest man alive’ by the media, and engaged in acts to heinous even dedicated practitioners turned on him. Depraved doesn’t even begin to cover Crowley.

While on a drug-induced trip not dissimilar to others where he engaged in ritual and sex magic during the altered state, Crowley allegedly came in contact with a demonic entity that called itself ‘Aiwass’. Most people assume the entity was The Enemy himself, and they are right. Lucifer used Crowley, who described himself as ‘The Beast’, to write Liber Al Legis – The Book of the Law. From that book, we get the codified teachings and messages that permeate every aspect of human life as they relate to The Enemy. Basically, Satan found someone to write an (un)holy text based on the teachings and foundational principles of his kingdom. Just as Christianity operates in triads and triumvirates, the Book of the Law has three basic tenets that form its backbone -

3) Every man and woman is a star.

2) Love shall be love under will.

1) Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

I inverted them on purpose since that is the correct order due to the fact that Crowley had a habit of using reversals which is a common practice in the occult. In essence you can do or be whatever you want because you are your own ‘god’ and are thus entitled to self-aggrandizing love. His message is in our broadcast and televised media, our advertisements, our politics, and even in our pulpits. The latter, I believe, is why God has been hammering home scriptures about antichrists and false teachers that have gone out into the world.

Occult symbols are everywhere and once you learn how to recognize them you start to realize just how far down the rabbit hole goes. The fruits become painfully obvious along with a series of inconvenient truths. It becomes clear that the human race cannot and will not survive under the dominion of The Enemy. Yet, we are being told otherwise, and look at our world. How many politicians and public figures are worshiped as if they are demigods? Look at the screeds coming out of the pulpits that are wholly contradictory to Christianity at its very core.

The last 2,000 years has been an attempt through willing and unwilling (deceived) men and women to crush God and Christ. Which is why I am not surprised that so many are prophesying that God is readying Himself for direct involvement due to the situation. The revelation of these heresies and corruptions are, to my eyes, the work of God who is revealing these people for what they are. Bob Jones is not too big to be bought down by God any more than Doug Wilson or Mark Driscoll. The revelation of false teachers, heresies, blasphemies, and ever other kind of -ies is just the beginning.

I would say more, but I feel I have spoken enough for one night.

- RJK

George Will Isn’t Alone in Rape Apologism, Progressives

Ryan J. Knight:

Welcome to the additional fruits of the curse that befell humanity following the incident in the garden. This is a major reality check people, and one we should be proactively discussing and addressing as citizens of the Kingdom of the Living God. – RK

Originally posted on Leftcheek deuce:

(TW for Rape Apologism, Slut Shaming, mention of rape threats, mockery of such, etc.)

Like most, I haven’t cared about George Will for over twenty years. He belongs to the Old Guard conservatism, the Martini Republicans like George H W Bush and Sandra Day O’Connor. When the fireball cons like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and George W Bush became the face of the American conservative movement, most of us forgot about Will and his bow-ties and boring baseball analogies. So color me shocked that he wrote such an inflammatory piece defending Rape Culture. I’m not surprised, though, that he would defend Rape Culture and mock survivors or say that most claims of rape are faked in order to “elevate the status” of college women – just that he would go all out in 2014. Because whether or not we’re aware of it, Rape Culture is alive…

View original 1,130 more words

202: The Nature of the War

“Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

2 Timothy 2:14-26

New International Version

"Hill of the Cross"

“Hill of the Cross”

God is still speaking.

When I vacated the social media world several weeks ago, it was for a reason. I was under a lot of stress due to interpersonal issues that ranged from in-laws to internet trolls, and I was also experiencing a move of the Spirit. Specifically, a move that has culminated in a series of revelations and prophecies that are intertwined with the lesson on spiritual warfare I am posting today. Per scripture, I would ask that you test whatever I write against the Word since 1) I could be wrong, 2) I only have one part of the larger picture, and 3) if I am wrong I would rather know now than later down the road after inadvertently leading people astray.

That would be bad.

Disclaimers aside, for the last several weeks God has been teaching me about the more insidious aspects of His war with The Enemy. Namely, how The Enemy works to manipulate and deceive humanity into aiding him in furthering his agendas, and accomplishing is various goals in so far as it concerns his quest to usurp God and destroy the human race. I did not understand why God kept hammering that particular passage of scripture to me, (the one I emboldened at the beginning of this post), until two events that He used to reveal to me what He called ‘the nature of the war’.

Today, we are going to discuss the first.

When I first became a Christian back in 2004-05, God spent most of His time growing and developing my spiritual gifts, as well as my understanding of the more supernatural aspects of our world (read: demonic warfare). I typically refer to this part of the metaphysic as the ‘dog-and-pony show’, because that is what it is – a dog-and-pony show, and no I am not making light. I will be the first to tell you that the demonic is not only real, but has the potential to be incredibly dangerous if not outright deadly depending on what you are dealing with. I have seen demons, I have been attacked by demons, and yet while they are a very real aspect of The Establishment (read: Kingdom of The Enemy) they are nowhere near as organized and calculating as their leader.

As I have progressed in my walk, God began teaching me about the true meaning of the Law of Love (Agape), and the importance of testing what we see and hear against that Law in order to discern whether or not the things we take into our psychological and spiritual environment are of Him or not. Using my training as a rhetorician, He has also introduced the importance of context when interpreting scripture, coupled with the necessity of understanding the sociocultural and political environment the Bible was written in as a means for grasping the meaning and intent of the author. A necessity when dealing with the various half-truths and heresies currently peppering the Christian faith.

(In a later post I will be discussing how my training as a rhetorician is influenced by my faith and vice-versa in so far as it relates to the role language plays in our interpretation of reality, and the ways in which we define ourselves both individually and collectively as a species.)

Looking back it is now clear those lessons and experiences were leading to where I am today, and with that knowledge in hand I can only wonder where this will lead tomorrow. For the moment it involves listening, learning, and sharing what I have been told since God is also hammering the need for Christians to both mature and develop a more practical and pragmatic approach to their relationship with Him. In essence, the time is coming for The Body to grow into the remnant spoken of in Revelations since the rubber is starting to hit the road on a global scale. While we do not know the time or hour, per scripture, we do know that preparation is long overdue.

Which leads us to the subject of this post.

This time around God appears to be teaching His people about the nature of His war with The Enemy, or rather the way The Enemy wages war against God and humanity. It has, for the last few months, involved that line of scripture from Timothy regarding The Enemy taking people’s minds captive, and my understanding of it came about during a series of highly improbable events. As  I write this, somewhere in Anchorage, AK the folks from Westboro Baptist Church are staging protests against everything from the Alaska Native Heritage Center to the Anchorage Baptist Temple.

No, the irony on that last target is not lost on me, but I digress…

It was while I was thinking about the way Westboro targets people that I realized that it would be very easy for someone like myself, namely someone well-versed in rhetorical tactics, to not only appeal to the likes of Westboro, but possibly even manipulate them into doing my bidding. All it would take, honestly, is a well-written letter using the language that appeals to their particular spiritual and psychological strongholds, and a target of my choosing. It would be easy to direct and use them to attack people in enmity with myself, and I could do it without dirtying my hands in the process. Given their volatile and hostile nature which readily discredits Westboro as a whole, it would be easy to enact plausible deniability by citing my own seemingly righteous character to cast doubt on any assertions that I was behind the entire scheme.

It was disturbing as it was logical, and as I followed this train of thought to its natural conclusion I realized that if the agenda was to discredit God while attacking and demonizing others it could all be accomplished with relative ease. It was in that moment that God spoke into my spirit that I had glimpsed part of the nature of the war, and immediately it was as if the blinders had come off. Looking at the world in the weeks following that revelation, I realize that particular MO is in operation everywhere, and humans are playing into it in both secular and religious society.

How many times have we been told that some act of disinformation was for ‘the greater good’ or ‘the good of the faith’ when it does neither?

Later, after being shown this I re-read the four gospels and realized that the best Biblical example of this dynamic lies in the interactions between Jesus and the Pharisees. Within that dichotomy were two factions at work. The first were the ones Jesus routinely called out for being vipers who were purposely manipulating the deeply held faith of their own people in order to maintain their positions of power. The second were those who were unknowingly perpetuating these agendas because they believed them to be correct. The Pharisees who conspired to kill Jesus for threatening the status quo would be of the former while Paul would be part of the latter.

Paul did not know he was part of a greater lie being perpetrated by those in power until his encounter with God on the road to Damascus, and the truth was revealed to him. Notice how in his writing following that event he routinely speaks of and warns future generations about corruption, disinformation, and other unethical practices designed to co-opt the teachings of Christ to advance certain sociopolitical and economic agendas – the very same things we are seeing in the church today!

As Solomon once observed, ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV), and therefore it stands to reason that we are dealing with people who have been deceived into false righteousness by those who know full well that what they are teaching is heretical as it is blasphemous. Why? To advance their agendas instead of those of God in the name of power, prominence, and control. Like their true god, which is the Father of Lies, when confronted with their obvious sin those who perpetuate these fallacies immediately shift the attention to their patsies the same way The Enemy shifts attention from himself to his demonic legions while glorifying their own righteousness. If that doesn’t work then the messenger is killed lest they successfully cost those benefiting from this demonic paradigm their base of power.

Jesus is the most famous example of this, but there are countless other examples of martyrdom by the powers that be in both the religious and secular world. Their crime? Revealing the truth of God and exposing the schemes of The Enemy to those who are being manipulated and controlled by the latter. Specifically, those who are knowingly manipulating and controlling others in order to advance themselves and their various agendas. It has been happening since the beginning of time, and -

It is the nature of the war.

- RJK

 

…Into The Horizon

Normally, this is where I would open with a quote from scripture, but this post is going to be short and sweet – I deleted my Facebook account. If you’re wondering WHY on EARTH a blogger would do such a thing, then look no further than this entry. Specifically, look at my very valid reasons which include 1) needing a break from social media, 2) burnout from dealing with angry trolls, and 3) dealing with some major moves in the Spirit courtesy of an interactive and personal God. Actually, make that last one number one and rearrange as you see fit, but that basically summarizes why I have not been online, why my Facebook account (including the one for this page) is now defunct, and why I have way less stress than I did earlier in the spring.

Stay tuned…

 

RJK

 

201: the Devil

“…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

2 Corinthians 11:4

English Standard Version

"Demon"

“Demon”

Tonight, we are going to talk about The Devil.

For some reason, when it comes to discussing the various malevolent machinations of Mephistopheles we Christians tend to go quiet. We can all agree, regardless of denomination, that this entity poses a very real and serious threat to the human race, and that the scriptures promise a final defeat of this being following an epic physical and metaphysical showdown at a time yet to be determined. No one has a problem with this, but teaching people how to discern when Satan is roving in their midst or how to recognize his tactics? That tends to make people nervous if not downright angry, never mind the fact that – as Baudelaire once observed – the greatest trick the Devil has ever pulled is convincing you or I that he does not exist.

A trick second only to his very first and most successful which is convincing humanity that it is he, not God, who is our true benefactor. After all, one need look no further than the Garden for evidence of this. Although, as our swiftly tilting planet begins its inevitable shift towards Armageddon, the need for proper Discernment is at an all-time high. Right now dyed-in-the-wool charlatans and hucksters can walk through The Body with impunity because they know their loyal followers will ardently defend them against their critics, and do so with the belief that their actions are ‘righteous’. People, regardless of whether they are secular or religious, are putting more faith in man than in God. One need only look at the current state of the world to realize that we are locked in an unsustainable model of living – both physically and spiritually – that will leave us morally bankrupt and on the road to extinction should it continue unchecked.

It is enough to make the bravest of men and women lose sleep at night. Especially, upon realizing just what this planet is up against, but the Bible tells us repeatedly to fear not. In fact, losing fear is the best thing you can possibly do because it will lessen whatever leverage The Enemy has in order to inveigle, obscure, and obfuscate the truth in such a way as to entrap your mind so that you will do his will (2 Timothy 2:26, NIV). Fear is how The Enemy runs his kingdom, fear is what makes this entire planet operate, and fear is a powerful means for manipulating humans to say and do things that are absolutely reprehensible because at every turn Satan offers us a means to make that fear go away.

Satan, is the original marketer.

If you understand how marketing works, you’ll immediately understand where I am coming from, but if you do not let me break it down for you. How marketing works is that in order to sell you an item the PR firms create a problem that can be solved by the company they represent. For example, watch the latest commercial for Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo. Seems harmless, right? Watch it again. The announcer points out that the skin of young children, especially infants, is extremely sensitive to the harsh cleansers and surfactants found in most commercial body washes. Therefore, if a parent were to use one of these cleaners they run the risk of unintentionally injuring or damaging the skin of their child. This is a problem which is couched in appealing to the ethos of the consumer, in this case parents of young children, by making the subtle suggestion that a good parent concerned about such possibilities would use a product guaranteed not to harm their child. No parent wants to injure or damage the skin of their child, therefore a  good parent will buy the Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo to keep that from happening. Basically -

Problem: Regular body washes are too harsh for the skin of young children, and can injure or damage it. Good parents who love and care for their children will work to avoid this.

Fear: If I use a regular body wash on the skin of my child, I might damage or injure it, and then people will think I do not love or care about the well-being of my child. Plus, look at the commercial, if I do that people might think I’m irresponsible since it is on the television that adult cleansers cannot be used on young children.

Solution: Buy Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo and none of these scary things will happen to you, and you will feel good about yourself because a loving parent concerned about the well-being of their child will of course purchase a product “guaranteed” to ensure that.

Amazing how a seemingly innocent commercial about overpriced baby shampoo can engage in so many levels of emotional and psychological manipulation to cultivate a consumer base. Yet, it is your first real example of how The Enemy operates in the world. If you want a more concrete example, look at what happened in the Garden of Eden, and then start paying closer attention to what you see and hear on the news, on the radio, and in the world. Satan uses this tactic consistently because it works so well, and most humans are not aware it is occurring. I realize some of you might think I am going to the extreme on this, especially since my best example is a baby shampoo commercial, but the premise is the same no matter the intended audience – create a fear or problem and then offer a solution in order to make that fear or problem go away.

Given how simple this tactic is, one would think it is more readily discerned, but that is where oppression comes into play. When faced with humans – regardless of whether they are secular or religious – who have correctly discerned this practice, Satan immediately begins targeting them with the goal of discrediting their message. At best he simply finds a means with which to besmirch their character, which isn’t hard given the imperfect and fallen nature of your average human, but for those where that method fails the next step is to eliminate them. One need look no further than the last ten thousand years of human history for evidence of this, with the assassination of Christ as the most relevant to this particular topic. Evidence can be found during the temptation of Christ in  the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11, NIV) -

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be temptedby the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Three things become clear from this exchange. One, Satan knows scripture as well as any man, if not more so, and will readily twist and manipulate it to fit into his own agendas regarding his rebellion against God. Two, it is important to know the context and meaning of the scriptures when combating the agents of The Enemy in this world, and those who spread his twisted gospel. Three, Satan always tries to appear as the benefactor of man, and even tried to present himself as such to the Son of Man.

Jesus had a problem which involved reconciling the world back to his Father, who sent him as part of His plan to redeem His fallen creation. Fortunately, Jesus lacked the fear that would have led him to acquiesce to Satan’s offer to ‘assist’ him in remaking the world into a ‘perfect’ one that would – if you pay close attention to that final offer – enable Satan to continue having both influence over and a place within it. Each time the Devil creates a problem of fear, he provides a solution as part of this agenda to appear as a benefactor and discredit God. Although, if you look through history all of his so-called “solutions” actually make the world and the human condition worse off than it was before.

Plus, all kingdoms of the world operate on a model that uses fear-based governance in order to maintain power and control. Fear is everywhere. Turn on the news, the radio, or even regular television programming and you will hear it. Although they range from mild to extreme, the sentiment is the same – be afraid, be very afraid, and if you’re sick of being afraid here are some ‘solutions’. Never mind the fact that, when held against scripture, none of these so-called ‘solutions’ match the will of God or the teachings of Christ. None.

So, what do we do?

One, pray. Two, take a page from God, and start where we are in whatever way we are called to begin living out the radical message of the Kingdom while shedding our remaining worldly heritage. A move that also includes re-evaluating our concepts of God, and what it means to be a Christian. It is high time that we start working  to properly discern whether or not the church we are following is the church that Christ founded, or the one that was founded when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of Rome. We also need to examine what we see and hear, per scripture, in order to test whether or not it is congruent with the practices and philosophies that govern the Kingdom of God.

This does not mean stop buying Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.

It means that when you hear messages that provide ‘solutions’ to something you have been taught to be afraid of, evaluate that solution, and test whether or not it aligns with scripture and the will of our Father. Pray, seek, study, and then pray, seek, and study some more. Not only that, stop being afraid. The Bible tells us to fear not for a reason, because fear is a gateway for Satan. That doesn’t mean just suck it up and pretend that you are not scared of the rattlesnake curled up in the seat of your Ford Pinto. No. What it means is that do not allow FEAR to guide your actions and decision-making, and instead give that power to the God who tells us to fear nothing.

Not even death.

- RJK

Note: There is a post coming about the fear of God, stay tuned…

 

Die Hand Die Verwundet, Die Hand Die Verblutet

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’”

John 15:18-25

New International Version

"Walking Alone" by Unknown

“Walking Alone” by Unknown

re·form·er

noun

1. a person devoted to bringing about reform, as in politics or society.

It isn’t easy being a voice of reason within a religion pockmarked with nearly two-thousand years of bad PR. To be frank, it is a quick way to 1) stir up controversy, and 2) unite warring factions who will readily put their disagreements aside in order to assail said voice. Throw in an unwillingness to trade sound doctrine for hollow dogma in the name of accolades and platitudes, and you have the reason why I recently took an extended break from certain social media venues.

Burnout.

That said, I think it only fair to offer an explanation as to why I’ve decided to disappear from the internet, and if possible present whatever good while discarding the bad. 2013 was not a good year for me. Within the first three months I lost two friends to cancer, and one to a freak accident. The latter lay undiscovered for nearly two months in their home, despite an intense search, and was found by a relative who on a lark decided to check the crawl space.

That was in December.

Within that same month I started coming under attack by both online assailants and members of my own family which culminated in a series of odd criticisms that grew to include accusations that I am a racist, a blasphemer, and possibly in league with the Devil himself. While it would be easy to just shut down and let the voices win, I have better sense than that. Internet trolls, for all their faults, serve a purpose, and the same is true for legalistic relatives. The Bible teaches us that in this world true righteousness and wisdom comes from the willingness to do that which is hard and learn from it. To that end, I am taking a page from my friend Paul who demonstrated in a very public fashion what one should do when their character and honor is besmirched in a very public forum.

I am going to address each and every one of these criticisms, and lay my cards on the table.

Accusation #1 – You are a Liberal.

No, I am not. In fact I am a former Conservative (surprise!). I spent more than twelve years mired in the philosophy (12 – 25) both before, during, and after coming to Christ and after I came to Christ I believed, (like many brothers and sisters), that conservative teachings were synonymous with biblical ones. For three years, that was my inner mantra until I had an encounter with God that resulted in a radical change that is still underway. In the meantime my political party is not of this world, and to be blunt neither Liberalism nor Conservatism nor any other political philosophy is congruent with the Kingdom of God which brings us to the next claim -

Accusation #2 – You aren’t a real Christian because you don’t promote, support, or teach that people should adopt the sociopolitical, cultural, and religious values of Conservatism.

Yes, I am a real Christian, and no I will never write posts designed to pander to a particular ideology because none of the political ideologies currently on the market are congruent with the Kingdom of God. Sure, there might be bits and pieces that are ‘good’ or ‘okay’, but like scripture says the wheat grows along with the tares, and honestly if you are participating in any of those systems you are part of the world. BCF is written based on Kingdom culture, Kingdom principles, and Kingdom living which is wholly unlike what you see on the television or in the streets. If I am going to write about a political philosophy, it is going to be the political philosophy of God, and as I said in the previous statement – my political party is not of this world.

Accusation #3 – You promote non-Biblical teachings from the New Age as scriptural.

I have no idea where this one came from, but I do not promote nor support the New Age, and am an ardent critic of the movement since the origins are couched in the occult. This is especially true where it concerns the Prosperity Gospel and other heretical teachings that are standard in the apostate church. Speaking of apostasy -

Accusation #4 – You are angry with or hate the church.

No, I am not angry with nor do I hate the church. The only “church” I take umbrage with is the apostate church which is currently gaining strength far quicker than in centuries past. The demonic presence within it is becoming painfully obvious and it is that church which God has put on my heart to speak out against, that is the church that I feel God has called me to bring attention to lest brothers and sisters fall under its thrall, and that is the church that is currently destroying our faith from within. It is that church which I and other believers, (I’m not the only one), are wholly opposed to because God has revealed its demonic nature to us, and its detrimental effect on both secular and religious society. As Solomon once observed, rain falls on both the righteous and unrighteous, and truer words have never been spoken.

When I see that church, I do become angry because I am filled with a profound grief. Why? Because I can see that in our hands is the key to healing a war-torn planet and its people, and instead it is crumbling around us while we fight amongst ourselves over doctrines and dogmas that have more in common with the world than the word. I grieve because I love my God. I love the church His son came to establish here on Earth as part of His plan to redeem His creation and the people within it. I love the Kingdom that we are called to be a part of where mercy, salvation, and grace are foundational principles of a radical lifestyle that is wholly different than what we find in this world. I grieve because I love, and because of that love I am torn when I see brothers and sisters falling lock-step in line with The Enemy who has corrupted our religion. I am crushed when brothers and sisters turn against one another no thanks to the very religiosity and legalism that Christ was against.

I do not like the apostate church, and I will – God willing – never come into agreement with its heresies and practices for they are against my Father, and neither am I going to counsel my brothers and sisters to do so. That said I don’t hate God, I don’t hate the church, and I don’t hate Christians – period.

Accusation #5 – You’re not a real Christian because you’re a Vegan, and you tell people it is okay to be one.

Last I checked salvation doesn’t rely on diet, and per the vision given to Peter there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ food within the pantheon of edibles that God has provided for humans to eat. It is okay to be a Vegan or Vegetarian, and when we consult the word to settle this matter we find that Daniel, Shadrach, Mesach, and Abendego adopted Vegetarian diets in the Old Testament. The reason given is that the rich food enjoyed by Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t good for them, and so Daniel found a way for them to opt out of eating it.

The fact that God didn’t make an issue of it means that as far as man is concerned the decision to eat or not eat a plant-based diet shouldn’t be an issue for us. It does not threaten our salvation or relationship with Jesus, and the idea that eating veggies and grains has the ability to do this is ludicrous as it is idolatry. Food does not have more power than God, and if we look at what Christ said it is what comes out of our mouth, not what goes in it that makes us unclean. When it comes to dietary recommendations my only real suggestion is a return to a whole foods diet, and if that diet includes meat then so be it. I am a Christian, not the food police.

Accusation #6 – You are a lukewarm or weak Christian because you see a therapist and take medication for your Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) instead of relying on Christ.

Back in December one of my relatives harshly criticized and questioned the validity of my faith as a Christian because I see a therapist and take medication for my GAD. This came about during a conversation about our perspectives as believers, and it devolved into an exchange that revealed a number of negative opinions. I was questioned repeatedly as to whether or not the Bible says that Jesus is our Balm of Gilead, which it does, and I acknowledged this while pointing out that my faith is the only reason why I am able to continue my fight to overcome my GAD. When I asked if they were saying that I should stop my treatment because, to them, it means I am not strong in my faith they claimed I was being an accuser on part with Satan, and basically tried to strong-arm me into agreeing with their assertion.

Needless to say I refused because it was and is a lie. It is not an accusation to ask a person a direct question to find out what exactly they are trying to say, especially if it appears they are making a judgment against your character, and claiming that someone is demonic for asking if said person is making a negative judgment against their faith. As I said before my faith in God is the ONLY reason why I am able to continue my fight to overcome my GAD, and it is ONLY through the strength and encouragement I draw from God that I am able to wrap my battered mind around the hope that someday I will be healed of this illness.

Even if I am not, I will continue to trust God to get me through the ups and downs of life with GAD, and I will continue to trust that as my redeemer God can make something good come of a life pockmarked with suffering from mental illness. If seeing a doctor and taking medication for something like diabetes isn’t viewed as a weakness of faith, then neither should seeing a counselor and taking anti-anxiety medication for GAD.

It also doesn’t mean I’m demonic either.

Accusation #7 – You are a closet racist who wants White people to feel guilty for being born White.

This one came from a former acquaintance and is the most ludicrous claim to date. For one I am half-White, my husband is White, my adoptive family is White, my biological father was White, my niece and nephew whom I adore are White, and to be blunt if you are a Black person born anywhere other than Africa itself you are basically a dark-skinned White person. Plus, it is a little hard to be racist when I write a blog where I have repeatedly stated the truth of God which is that racism is a SIN and of SATAN. Therefore, for me to be a racist would mean I would have to 1) be a hypocrite for teaching the former, and 2) be a pseudo-Satanist which is what racists are because when you examine the origins of their beliefs you find yourself knee-deep in the occult.

I’m not a racist, I don’t want anyone to feel guilty for the way they were born, and if you’re going to call someone such make sure they don’t have a fifteen-year track record of ardently opposing any and all incarnations thereof. Including members of their immediate family who also have track records of opposing racism, and that includes both the Black and White sides of said family with rare exception.

Plus, I’m not a Satanist.

Accusation #8 – You’re not a real Christian blog, and other than the logo there is no real difference between BCF and a secular blog because your blog isn’t Jesus-y enough.

Seriously?

In reference to this blog, I am never going to write in a heavy-handed, melodramatic, hyper-religious fashion that is the ministerial equivalent of mugging for the audience. I grew up with that sort of pastor, the one who waves the Bible in the air with one hand, while pointing with the other, and using a tone of voice akin to Julia Child if Julia Child were a graying man in a tailored suit armed with a pulpit. My blog is Christ-centric, every single entry is couched in scripture, I back up my teachings with scripture, and every single one of them points to God as the answer. I am not going to start writing in the manner that even I disagree with when it comes to religious blogs. Instead, I am going to write the way I believe god wants me to write which means I am going to write like a real person living in the real world living out a real faith with the real God. Why? Because God has made it clear that He is desiring a return to such from His people given what is coming down the pike. We are living in a time where we need practical faith and the wisdom that comes along with it, and we also need the practical and wise God who is behind it all.

There was also a claim that BCF spends too much time on social justice and not enough time on God. Aside from the fact that every entry concerning the subject is couched heavily in scripture, I take this comment as a sign of the times. The reason why social justice is getting such a bad rap these days is because Satan is working tirelessly through his agents in the apostate church and secular society to repackage this core tenet of our faith as either liberal, socialist, or some other negative connotation.

When I asked God the motivation behind this what He spoke into my spirit is that The Enemy is trying to literally break the backbone of our spiritual way of life, and the way we live it out in the world. God is the foundation along with Christ, yes, but God also cites the importance of caring for the least amongst us over five-hundred times! As the apostate church grows in strength I have watched as more and more brothers and sisters have started turning against one another over this very issue. I have watched horrific flame wars erupt on the forums of some of the top Christian websites where this aspect of our walk is now being used as a litmus test for the validity of another’s faith.

According to the fallen world and the apostate church, if you champion any of the causes that fall under this umbrella – even if they are causes near and dear to God per His own holy word – you’re [insert negative label here]. Therefore, if I write about an issue regarding social justice, it is because God has put it on my heart to do so. Not because of some asinine agenda per the definitions of the world or the apostate. Trust me, I wish I could just write some fluffy bunny piece instead of a hardcore entry, but if God says to write a hardcore entry then I am going to write a hardcore entry, and if social justice is the topic at hand then so be it.

The will of God comes before the will of Ryan Knight.

Plus, social justice is a core part of our walk because God desires for us to not just be a conglomerate of diverse individuals, but a family, and that means we must care for one another per scripture. I will not cede ground to The Enemy in this matter, and neither should any of you. We are engaged in an at-all-cost war with Satan who is attacking on all fronts. Do not give him an inch, for he will take ten-thousand miles, and you right along with him for a quick ride to Hell.

In this matter I am going to continue to obey God, not man.

Plus, as Jamie of Jamie the Very Worst Missionary put it when she received similar criticisms for writing posts about her faith that involved her kids, husband, social justice, and her cat Knives -

“Good luck with your two-dimensional life.”

To sum things up -

God changed my heart and mind, not man, and it is God who has spent nearly thirty years working to bring me to His truth. I know the voice of my Father and I know Him intimately. My Father is my strength who enables me to continue in all areas of my life, because it is from Him that the waters of life flow, and because I seek Him those are the waters I thirst for. Having tasted these waters I see no reason to ever trade them for waters polluted with death and decay. It is His will I serve, not mine, and it is for Him that I write this blog, and it is God who guides each and every post on here. I am a real person living in the real world in a real and intimate relationship with the real God.

- RJK

Note: The title for the post is German and reads, “The hand that wounds, the hand that bleeds.”